ProcureCon Europe – First Impressions of Berlin Procurement Event

It's a long time since I got I up before 4am to catch a flight, but after a reasonable journey, I arrived in Berlin at 9.30, well done Easyjet,and got to the Palace Hotel, venue for ProcureCon Europe, just after at 11. Unfortunately that meant I missed Rick Hughes from P&G, but I hope to catch up with him later. The first session for me therefore was a session which involved delegates voting on questions posed from the presenter from Efficio. The results were moderately depressing with strong focus on cost savings as a high priority, and a lot of delegates and functions still struggling to be seen as real strategic players.

It's also interesting to see that only 57% of organisations use eSourcing, for instance - some way to go still in taking advantage of what technology can offer.

But to be positive, there are over 150 delegates here from a real range of countries and sectors, and a pretty senior level in general. The theme today is "new procurement strategies to drive business competitiveness" and the drive to develop the value contribution of procurement rather than purely cost-cutting is I suspect at the heart of most delegate's thinking.

We also had an interesting session from Michael Gates of Said Business School, Oxford on cultural issues in negotiation. I sat on his table for a small group discussion after lunch and we talked about three cultural types of behaviour - material for a future article here for sure. You've got everything from issues of etiquette to emotion, language to attitudes to time to consider. Don't negotiate with the Finns is one bit of advice..!

We are now into some CPO presentations including Thibaut Eissautier of Diegeo talking about procurement in Africa - we've just had chocolate biscuits, so it is a healthy afternoon...

More tomorrow hopefully!

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