ProcureCon Berlin – Day Two, with M&S, Nestle, BP and SAP

Day two in the big brother house ... Sorry, day two at ProcureCon in Berlin and what have we learnt, other than this is not the part of Berlin that has wild nightlife. They started cleaning the tables and making it very clear that it was getting late at 10.20 last night in the bar/restaurant that Guy Allen and I were in!

Anyway, we've heard some interesting stuff this morning. Marco Goncalves of Nestle talked about the need for procurement leaders to have a "growth mindset" as well as strong business knowledge and other characteristics.

James Pick of BP then caused what one CPO at coffee described at "dashboard envy" by describing some of the tools that his firm has implemented to support procurement activities. The dashboard in question picks up relevant information from internal and external sources and was indeed impressive. Other innovations include a tool that uses gamification principles in the context of travel booking to encourage users to spend more effectively.

I've heard Roger Davies CPO at Marks and Spencer speak before, so I wasn't particularly anticipating his session, but it was really good because of his honesty. His procurement function won two awards at the recent CIPS SM evening, yet he has been implementing a new change programme in the function to try and take it to the next level. It's easy to get complacent after success, so kudos to him for taking that step. His goal is to extend the influence of procurement into the real end-to-end procurement process, from specification through to supplier management, which will need a larger team - so there's a selling job to be done to persuade the board. Many of us have been in that situation, I suspect, so good luck to Roger!

Marcell Volmer, CPO of SAP gave his view of the future of procurement, good stuff and not a sales pitch for SAP I'm pleased to say. His concepts included a "Sourcing Factory" and he put a challenge out to the outsourcing world in terms of providing a truly global, scalable managed service for procurement operations in smaller countries. Any takers?

We've just had a round table on innovation in Indirect procurement, but that's worth a separate article at some stage. Indeed, we may come back to some of the above sessions at well, but that's it for now from a somewhat overcast Berlin. More later and /or tomorrow from the event.

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