A New British Invasion: Procurement Leaders Chicago Forum

I’m looking forward to Procurement Leaders' inaugural US Forum tomorrow, taking place in my backyard in Chicago. Approximately 175 attendees are expected. Attendance is coming in higher than expected and should test the limits of the facility, which is no doubt good news for Procurement Leaders' first event in the states. If you can make it, I hope to see you there, but if you want a full report on the action and won't be attending, click back to Spend Matters throughout the rest of the week for my dispatches from the Forum. I'm personally quite excited for the show. Still, I'm not alone in my enthusiasm. But just what is the buzz around Procurement Leaders that is contributing to the momentum building behind their first event here?

In contrast to most events in the procurement space -- except the better vendor ones and ISM, which requires you selectively pick exactly what you want to do based on your own interests -- my European sources tell me that Procurement Leaders nearly always delivers on its promise of excellent content and networking in an environment where education and sharing trumps commercialism. I’m looking forward to finally experiencing first hand one of their Forums. Fortunately for them, as Procurement Leaders continues its US expansion plans, they won’t need to knock the ball out of the park to own a major chunk of the US procurement conference scene.

Procurement Leaders faces US incumbents such as ProcureCon that bring a highly variable reputation regarding quality of content, vendor neutrality (i.e., paying to get-on-stage with customers) and overall attendee seniority and consistency. Moreover, there’s not a US network of senior practitioners that focuses on broad procurement issues while providing strong networking opportunities (SIG (Sourcing Interests Group), while a quality organization with events that I always enjoy, is still too focused on narrow areas including outsourcing, rather than the broader direct and indirect materials procurement picture).

In other words, owning the non-vendor procurement conference and networking scene is Procurement Leaders to lose. That is, unless Purchasing gets more serious about the events business as a follow-on to the content in their excellent event from last fall or unless Sourcing Interests Group goes broader). If Procurement Leaders can hit a single by replicating what they’ve done in Europe, their US forums and conferences will quickly become must-attend events. I look forward to continuing to watch their US expansion and to see how incumbent conference and networking organizations react, hopefully upping their game as a result of competitive pressure.

Incidentally, I’ve learned over the years to bet on people as much as on the ideas or solutions they build. If you’ve met and gotten to know Mark Perera, Richard Pope and Alex Martinez, the three founders of the parent company of Procurement Leaders, you'll know what I mean. Despite their relative new exposure to the the subject matter, if you contrast their energy and drive with others in the US events and publishing business, then you’d probably come to a similar conclusion as I have that their efforts will be the ones to watch in the coming years. I look forward to a number of potential areas of collaboration between Spend Matters and their organization in the coming quarters.

Jason Busch

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