IACCM Europe Forum – a Chat with Founder and President, Tim Cummins

We featured here the forthcoming IACCM (the International Association for Contract & Commercial Management) Europe Forum , which is being held at the Hurlingham Club near London (Putney) on June 15th – 17th  (click though for more details and booking).   With the event rapidly approaching, we caught up with Tim Cummins, the founder and President of IACCM the other day. Well, when we say “caught up”, he was in Australia, but through the wonder of modern telecommunications we had a chat!

IACCM has around 4,000 members in Australia according to Cummins, and he is there to meet some and for discussions with elements of the public sector that are looking at “performance based contracting” - something that many outside that particular country are also getting into more deeply. Globally, IACCM now has around 35,000 members representing 13,000 organisations; impressive, but how many are going to turn up at the event, we asked, and will they mainly be buy-side or sell-side people, given IACCM appeals to both?

"We expect around 200 people, our biggest event to date, and we think the mix will be close to the mix in our membership. Pure buy and pure sell side are pretty close in percentage terms, and interestingly around 25% of our members identify themselves as both. That includes executives who work in a strong sub-contracting environment, who might be negotiating contracts with clients but also with key sub-contractors; or in-house legal people who advise on both buy and sell contracts".

IACCM seems to have really struck a chord with practitioners and organisations in recent years, as we can see from the growth rate. Why is that?

"We focus on how to build successful trading relationships, and as organisations have become more complex and disaggregated, the need for integration between organisations has increased. Our mission is to support successful working and integration between the various parties in this complex environment".

Coming back to the event - what would he pick out from the agenda?

“The public sector has got very interested in what we do and can offer in recent years, seeing parallels with the private sectors, and it is good to have Sally Collier from Crown Commercial Service with us for a session, as well as senior people from National Audit Office and MOD on the agenda. It's great to have those people and organisations as part of the wider commercial community”.

Much of that relates back to the growing focus on contract management in the public sector that we've covered at length here. It is clear that issues around performance based contracting, with outputs the key aspect of what is delivered, are high on the public sector agenda from Australia to the UK. But coming back to the event, and the agenda, what about the private sector or sales side of the equation ?

“We're delighted to have Neil Rackham, founder of Huthwaite and the SPIN approach to selling, as a keynote speaker. He is one of the legends of the sales world, so that is going to be fascinating for everyone, including procurement people. When he talks about "what is good selling", you can see a commonality of view with the buy side too".

Cummins has always been an evangelist for breaking down the barriers between sales and procurement, and encouraging a collaborative approach between organisations. How will the event help in that regard?

“The theme of the event is "the Year of Commercial Excellence." Both procurement and sales are struggling to establish their relevance to the business of the future in the digital economy, with the disaggregation of the traditional enterprise. Equally, new businesses are being successful because of new commercial models – like Uber - rather than innovative technology or products, so the opportunity for people and organisations that can work in this new world of the extended enterprise will thrive".

There is a lot wrapped up in that statement, and we will come back and unpick what Cummins means in more detail, perhaps after the event. As well as the agenda items mentioned above, we would suggest Cummins himself will be another highlight. He is a very thought-provoking speaker, and what he has to say will be somewhat different from what we tend to here from pure “procurement” people at conferences – and will be all the better for that. We will report back anyway on how it goes in a couple of weeks time.


*See our pub debate on June 23rd for more on that topic!

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