Ah, Procurement Leaders! This started in 2003 as three young chaps with limited funds – and frankly limited knowledge of procurement – but great energy and vision. I chaired one of the organization's first events, in Amsterdam, over 10 years ago, with around 30 delegates and the founders’ girlfriends helping out on the registration desk. (One was moonlighting from her PhD in one case, I seem to remember!)
Now, it has a very successful business, from a reputation, growth and financial perspective – a procurement networking, events, media and research firm that has proven to be an effective competitor to all sorts of other organizations, from conference firms to the Strategy Council and from CIPS to Spend Matters itself.
The founders' genius was in recognizing that they did not have to be experts themselves – at least in the early days. Rather, they would provide a platform and an environment where senior procurement practitioners could learn, share knowledge, interact and enjoy very good conferences, dinners or workshops. Mark Perera, one of the founders, has largely moved onto other interesting things, but the business seems to go from strength to strength – the “world procurement congress” being their flagship event these days.
While the firm's capability to develop original content, including magazine-type articles and research, has improved, the networking and events side of the business is probably still the strongest element. Its events are first-class. Sponsors moan about the cost but do sign up, because they know there will be a good range of genuinely senior practitioners attending. In recent years, the firm has moved into the US and Asia with some success, and the business model seems to scale and replicate successfully – one of the major success stories of the last decade in our world of procurement.