SIG Dispatch – Bros & Broettes, Benchmarks, Beach Runs and More

I arrived at SIG’s Global Executive Summit in Huntington Beach, California, yesterday and was expecting a relatively quiet afternoon and evening. Of course, the plans were tossed out the window when I saw so many old faces from my FreeMarkets and Ariba years — past co-workers, clients, frenemies and more (the sourcing “bros” and “broettes” as I call them). After a few afternoon sessions — a surprising number covered services procurement and risk management, the two topics I’m speaking on while here — the evening was a whirlwind of catch-up conversations and hellos with my old crew and some new faces as well.

I’ve always respected SIG for holding a morning run and even yoga for participants. Both are great conference/group exercises (in more ways than one) and an opportunity to talk to people. Other groups and conferences should adopt it — and it forces some routine in getting to sleep at a reasonable hour to wake up early. After the run this morning, the breakfast session was led by SIG and Oliver Wyman, highlighting some of the interim results from their 2015 Procurement Benchmarking Report.

I know what you’re thinking — like we need another benchmarking study (I’ll leave that one to my colleague Pierre Mitchell to make some sarcastic comment about). But some of the high-level findings of this one were quite curious — and confirmed some other themes we’re hearing more and more of in the market. For one, risk is a hot procurement priority. Very hot. Ninety-seven percent of respondents in the benchmarking report said they were involved in supplier/vendor risk management programs (compared to 50% being involved in growth initiatives). Yet one of the challenges of this involvement is that only one in six companies have “systematic” involvement in managing risk. That suggests a lot of ad hoc or selective efforts.

As we know, risk does not discriminate based on size, spend, location or other factors/variables. In other findings, “talent” and “strategic collaboration” stand out as priorities. I think I heard that one before, but heck, it’s further validation of what we knew already.

Stay tuned for live dispatches from the event today and tomorrow. Also, as I’ve said before, SIG summits would not be close to being the same without the obsessive focus of the owner/host Dawn Tiura, who I think works 25 hours a day during the event, micro-managing an expanding SIG team and the entire resort staff to her exacting levels. Nothing is left to chance. I have no idea how she does it.

Finally, I’d like to give a quick shout out to Professor Kate Vitasek who is speaking tomorrow. Her new book on the future of strategic sourcing, which I started reading last night, is witty, nuanced and provoking. And above all, it offers a fresh take, banishing strategic sourcing convention into the rubbish bin for good. Kate has truly catapulted past her initial research and focus on outsourcing. I had no idea this book, which is hot off the press, was coming out when I wrote this last week (see the last lines).

Hmmm … it makes you wonder!


Please follow Jason Busch on Twitter @jasondbusch

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