Procurement Leaders Hits the Chicago Stage: Background, Growth and Finance Fundamentals (Dispatch 1)

Procurement Leaders is an organization that's been hitting its stride of late. I had the chance to catch up with two of its founders over dinner on Monday night and the progress these guys have made in the past year from a new site with a great personalized architecture to building out the broader conference team (including a new format coming up in San Francisco) is outstanding. They've truly been -- and continue to be -- an invaluable addition to the thought leadership, media and conference space in the procurement sector on both sides of the Atlantic, including a fast-growing presence in North America. I can honestly say that without Procurement Leaders, there would be a large void in the broader global procurement media, learning and events marketplace.

This morning, I'm attending the Procurement Leaders event in Chicago. Joel Stern -- the Joel Stern -- of Stern Stewart kicked off the day with a spirited foundational introduction to a bunch of financial measurements from an investment and CFO perspective -- as well as how to motivate employees through optimal bonus structures (hint: options/restricted stock aren't it). These descriptions included concepts of RONA (return on net assets) and its impact on the capital funding of projects and general team (internal/supplier) collaboration. He also introduced EVA (economic value added) and FCF (free cash flow) to the group.

Unfortunately, Professor Stern didn't share many direct tie-ins to procurement strategy, but financial fundamentals are something we should all spend more time learning and thinking about. Within the procurement space, Robert (Bob) Rudzki is the advisor/consultant/author who has probably done the best job exploring finance-driven metrics (e.g., EBITDA, OIBDA, EVA, etc.) in terms of supply management. I would strongly encourage you to check out his work if you're interested. Perhaps we'll tackle them on Spend Matters in more detail, especially in the context of commodity management (and risk mitigation), capital investment (including make/buy decisions) and related areas. If there are particular areas you'd like to see us explore here, please drop a line.

Stay tuned as I file additional dispatches from Procurement Leaders this morning and later in the week.

- Jason Busch

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