ISM 2017: Initial Impressions? Great!

Eved xy/Adobe Stock

The Spend Matters team has descended on Orlando for the ISM 2017 conference. This year’s event is shaping up to be a great one. I got in Sunday but didn’t get a chance to attend a behind-the-scenes tour of Disney World, which looked fascinating. There’s a metaphor for supply management here, I think: “How is procurement able to generate 10X returns on investment in the function? It must be magic!” Well, like Disney, it’s a lot of hard work, customer focus, innovation, creativity and technology.

In that vein, we released Monday our Spend Matters 50 Providers to Know and 50 Providers to Watch lists for 2017. There’s a lot of turnover in this year. Many past “to watch” providers have earned a spot in “to know.” Others have dropped out because they were so innovative that they got acquired (e.g., Coupa acquiring Spend360 and also Trade Extensions).

Speaking of innovation, I attended a CAPS Research session on cognitive procurement and analytics Monday morning. It was a little sobering to see how few companies are implementing advanced analytics, but the sample size was small, and sometimes firms don’t always share all of the cool stuff they’re doing. This is why the current session going on right now by Amazon Business is sold out! Practitioners are hungry for examples of digital supply disruption — and we’ll be scouring the conference for more examples. Jason Busch will be doing a session on IoT with Tom Linton from Flex, as well.

Monday’s keynote was from retired U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. I’ve seen him before, and when you listen to him, you can’t help but ask, “Why isn’t he running for president to try to bring the divided country together?” The man simply oozes credibility.

Again, a lesson for procurement. Do you ooze credibility? Do have the results? Do you have the information, insights and intelligence? Are you a trusted business partner? Can you engage different communities, empathize with help and help them directly, as well as help them to help themselves?

Finally, ISM released its 2017 U.S. economic forecast, and it’s fascinating: manufacturing growth will actually outpace non-manufacturing growth. While the monthly PMI figures always show services outpacing manufacturing, ISM expects manufacturing revenue to increase 4.4% this year, while non-manufacturing growth is forecasted to hit 4.1%. The trend seems pegged to discrete manufacturing and generally tied to improved business conditions, especially based on the recent U.S. election, but there doesn’t seem to be any massive shift in offshoring or in reshoring activity that I can immediately discern. We’ll, be diving into this more, as well as the ISM salary survey numbers.

Stay tuned for more updates!

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First Voice

  1. Andrew Karpie:

    Great post, Pierre!

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