An Interview with Gert van der Heijden – Dutch Sourcing Awards and Looking Ahead


So far in this series featuring an interview with Gert van der Heijden, we’ve focused primarily on examining the current state of Dutch procurement, Spend Matters NL, and related rear-view mirror topics (ironically, not unlike what spend analysis tools have historically told us about our procurement and supplier activities, which we covered with Gert so far as well). To catch up on where we left off with Gert, please see:

An Interview with Gert van der Heijden -- On Launching Spend Matters Netherlands 

An Interview with Gert van der Heijden – Dutch Procurement 101

An Interview with Gert van der Heijden – Sourcing, Talent, and Risk 

Finally as we close out our series updating our readers on Spend Matters NL, we will look forward with Gert, turning our focus to two key areas of interest as he works to further his work and the site: The Dutch Sourcing Awards and the future of Spend Matters Netherlands.

Jason: Could you give us some background on the Dutch Sourcing Awards?

Gert: It started in 2007. At the time, we had the CPO Award in the Netherlands. It was awarded to a person for the efforts of the team, so for the individual, not the procurement organization. With the Dutch Sourcing Awards, we wanted to do two things. First, we wanted to award teams on their overall efforts and success. And second, we wanted to have a true celebration for these groups, rather than just hand out an award. Procurement is typically so internally focused and rarely looks outside of the organization (aside from engaging suppliers), let alone celebrating its broader success contribution to the business.

The awards are going well (and I look forward to see you there next year, as I have you signed up to speak, Jason!) Last year, we had 200 people attend, including all of the largest companies in The Netherlands (e.g., Unilever, Heineken, ABN Amro, Phillips, etc.) We are hoping to make the 2014 event (taking place in April) an even greater success as we celebrate the accomplishments of those in Dutch procurement.

Jason: What do you plan to focus on with Spend Matters looking forward?

Gert: There are so many areas we could look at, but from a topical perspective, I see three key themes that I plan for us to come back to again and again: technology, sustainable sourcing, and talent. I will briefly explore each of these.

First, when it comes to technology, as I talked about earlier in the interview, there is a large opportunity in a number of areas based on limited adoption thus far: spend analysis (the basics), advanced spend analysis and big data, eProcurement (versus just focusing P2P activities on e-invoicing and supplier networks), and sourcing / category management activities that span indirect procurement activities. All of these areas are ones I see Dutch companies investing more in, which gives us an important role to play in keeping everyone up to speed on the best practice outside of The Netherlands.

Second, sustainable sourcing is very much on topic for us as well, and a procurement theme unlike technology where I believe that Dutch companies can get out in front of the rest of the world. Sustainability has many layers to it – ingredients and materials; energy usage; packaging; manufacturing/plant footprints; and sales/retailing, just to name a few. But in addition, I see Dutch companies beginning to look at the intersection of sustainability, logistics, and localized sourcing to reduce the overall carbon footprint and costs of bringing products to customers. You can be sure we’ll cover all of this going forward!

And third, procurement talent is a very big topic for us in The Netherlands. Enabling procurement organizations to both improve talent from within through rotating team members, training, and skills development and accessing it externally through recruiting new and experienced hires as well as the contingent workforce—these all remain areas that Dutch procurement organizations want to know more about.

Jason: If our readers in the US, including providers (e.g., software companies, consultants, BPOs, etc.) interested in learning more about selling into the market, want to talk to learn more about the opportunity to work with Dutch companies, what’s the best way to get ahold of you?

Gert: My contact details are:

Gert van der Heijden

Managing Partners, The Sourcing Experience and Spend Matters NL

Mobile: 31 652333373

Office: 31 356241973

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