One of the battles in getting new blood into procurement is making it interesting for those around it. In higher education, some organizations have used a data/science-based approach to appeal to key research personnel and to attract talent into the function. This is an approach that has also appealed to some pharma/biotech firms (e.g., Pfizer and Novartis have had great results from applying reverse auctions to various forms of molecules). Outside of sourcing, within financial services, job security is nearly guaranteed in procurement given the endless pool of third-party risk management work, which has the potential to dovetail with compliance initiatives as well.
When I worked at FreeMarkets in the early days before the advent of self-service sourcing tools, we used to think events with over 500 line items (grouped into half a dozen or so lots) were large. The items and the groups we lotted them into were generally part of the same category or families. At the time (15 years ago), we were using sourcing technology that was incredibly rudimentary compared with the power of tools that are available today that leverage the ability to conflict different bids from suppliers based on flexible submission capability. Moreover, bids can now cascade across different supply chain elements including raw material costs/requirements, transportation costs, value added steps, etc., and we can bring them together in a common event. It raises the question: How big is too big for an event?