Procurement Activities for the Long Hot Summer – Making Events Work for You

We said last week that we would take a look at some of the activities to keep procurement practitioners busy if you’re stuck in the office through the long, hot (?) summer. As there are fewer meetings, conferences or other external events to occupy your time in August, it is a good period to catch up on things that sometimes get squeezed down the priority list at other times of the year. Use the opportunity wisely, and get on the front foot ready for the autumn.

So today, let’s think about events. Conferences, workshops, seminars, dinners, round-tables ... the list is endless and seems to grow every year in terms of the options available to the procurement practitioner.

That makes it more important than ever to actually plan your schedule and think proactively about what you are trying to achieve. Now I know a few people who base their schedule on the quality of the restaurant venue for the round-table or the golf course at the conference venue. But I’d like to think most people want to get the maximum possible benefit out of a fairly limited amount of time.

So it is worth thinking about what you want to do and what you want to get out of these events. Do you want to go to a general event or a specialised? If you are a Facilities Management category manager, you may get more out of an industry-focused FM event rather than a general procurement conference. If you want to source a new P2P system, going to some of the suppliers’ own customer conferences may be more useful than a general tech event.

That last point is interesting. Software firms will almost always be happy to invite you to events if they see you as a reasonable prospect, and the content at such events is often genuinely leading-edge (the recent BravoSolution event, for example). It is of course also useful if you are genuinely thinking about buying related solutions. Now some of the tech firms are still finalising their Autumn programmes, but we will be featuring upcoming customer events from Coupa, Trade Extensions, Basware, iValua and more here shortly.

Smaller round-tables and dinners can be excellent, although much depends on the make-up of the group and how willing and able to talk intelligently they are! Then we have the more traditional conferences, which generally have improved over the years – my feeling is that procurement folk on average are just much better presenters than we used to be as a group, which is good news for delegates! Some are open to all, some like Procurement Leaders are focused more on their members.

We will be featuring more in weeks to come on all of these events, but some to consider are:



September 22nd London Free, lots of procurement software firms there, good speaker programme too, despite a “quirky” venue!
CIPS Annual Conference October 8th     London Agenda not out yet, good non-procurement speakers usually, traditional format
NHS Procurement - Rising to the Efficiency Challenge November 3rd, Manchester GO conference, strong speaker line-up from CCS, health sector and beyond
ProcureCon Europe


November 3rd – 5th Berlin Strong track record, lots of CPO level speakers, wide and deep subject matter, good for networking
Public Sector Procurement Summit November 10th London Run by Dods who “get” the public sector, looks like good speaker list, free to public sector attendees
ProcureCon IT Sourcing


November 24th-25th Amsterdam New venture for ProcureCon, focused on buyers of IT –   their Marketing Service category equivalent event has worked very well
HCSA Conference November 25th – 26th Solihull, England Top event for UK health sector procurement people






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