Securing the Future of Procurement – join me and Zycus for dinner and debate

Procurement has been a great success story over the last ten years or so. When I was President of CIPS in 2003, we had I think around 30,000 members. It is now over 100,000. The fact that all that growth has come from Africa, the Middle and Far East just shows how the whole world has embraced the idea of professionalising the way organisations buy goods and services.

Or look at the boom in solution providers, and the money now paid for firms like Fieldglass or Emptoris, and the funding that has been available for Coupa, Tradeshift or Taulia. We‘re even seeing bright young graduates who are deliberately choosing procurement as a career. (OK, not that many, so we still have some way to go there)!

But arrogance and complacency are terrible things, and have killed many a firm, a career or even a profession. Procurement cannot allow itself to fall into that trap. And the factors that have made procurement successful in the last ten years won’t necessarily apply in the next ten. In fact, we can be pretty sure that they won’t. We’ve seen “globalisation” develop, for instance, which certainly benefited procurement by putting more focus on complex sourcing issues and supply chain risk. We won't see that step change again.

So in my view we need a different view of how the profession, procurement functions and individuals need to evolve and behave if we want to succeed over the next ten. The old approaches won’t be enough.

That in a nutshell is the thinking behind what I’m going to talk about at the Zycus CPO Connect dinner on November 25th.  “Securing the future of procurement – making sure the next ten years are as successful as the last” is the title.

What’s the answer? Well, obviously, passing legislation that means only licensed procurement professionals are allowed to buy stuff will solve all our problems. OK, that was a joke. It’s a bit more complex than that, and I suspect some of my views might upset certain people. For instance ... No, I’ll save it till the 25th.

Anyway, the dinner is being held at the very pleasant surroundings of the Gordon Ramsey Maze restaurant in Grosvenor Square, London, from 6pm on November the 25th. As well as me talking (no more than 15 minutes, I promise) there will be a chance to debate the issues with senior peers, and if you’re a senior practitioner, there are a few places left and you can register here. I hope to see some of our regular readers and friends there.

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