BravoSolution’s Customer Event — Touching Down

I touched down in New Orleans yesterday morning to attend the BravoSolution customer conference. I confess I missed the “procurement history walking tour of the French quarter” in order to do one final set of intervals on the treadmill before a race this weekend. Alas, the running/racing lifestyle is somewhat in opposition to the culture of New Orleans – unless of course you want to sip a Hurricane to continue last night’s buzz while running at a 10.0 pace with your plastic “to go” cup sitting where the water or Gatorade bottle should go on the treadmill cup holder. Not that I will confess to such behavior. Ever – even in my youth.

I’m here to take Bravo’s event seriously, not to drain the town of its spirits (which it seems like everyone seems to do while partaking in the local culture). There’s a funny irony to Bravo holding their event down in New Orleans. The average life expectancy for those living in the city is among the lowest in the country, owing to the lifestyle the Big Easy encourages. And by the same token, average CPO tenure is among the lowest of most C-level or executive positions inside companies. Bravo can help change the second problem, although no amount of procurement applause will change the first.

One way that Bravo (and others) can go about addressing the corporate life expectancy issue of CPOs (averaging 3-5 years depending on what study you look at) and the fact that only a minority rise beyond that position to run P&Ls (or companies) is to change procurement’s role in influencing complicated categories. In areas like logistics, packaging, marketing, MRO, and goods for resale (GFR) in retail, where truly deconstructing supply chain costs – not just the cost basis of individual SKUs and suppliers – can yield to spectacularly cool results, Bravo’s customers have some of the most insightful stories of those we’ve spoken to (including those that have impacted the top line as well by tying buy/sell components together in sourcing strategies).

I’m hoping to unearth more stories at the event. I might not crank out as much as I usually do at shows live because I’m going to try to get permission from customers to share their advanced sourcing and category engagement (far beyond category management, in my view) stories when possible. I’ll also try and give an update on what Bravo shares around its own strategy and products (and to cover the highlights from Mickey North Rizza’s presentations, which I’m very much looking forward to).

So stay tuned!

(And no, that was not me passed out behind the gym treadmill taking a nap – with Hurricane-laced sweat oozing from my pores).

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