Supplier Innovation – webinar with IBM next week

One of the questions I’m most frequently asked when I’m out and about, by senior procurement folk and provider side executives alike is this. “What are the hot topics in procurement right now”?

It’s surprisingly tricky to answer, for two reasons. Firstly, there’s not really that much truly new in procurement, if we’re being honest. The overall agenda hasn’t changed that much over the years, unless you want to get into detailed technology issues, which is not usually what people are looking for. You can’t just keep saying “risk management” or perhaps “supplier relationships management” for year after year!

And secondly, the big issues will be different for various sectors, geographies and even organisations. For some, it is risk in complex supply chains, for others, it might be getting internal buy-in for procurement to work on complex service categories.

But for the last year or so, my best answer, and one that has more than a little truth behind it, has been this - “capturing, using and embedding supplier innovation to benefit our organisation”.

We’ve talked about it a fair amount here too, but next week I’m participating for the first time in a webinar devoted to the topic of supplier innovation. It’s organised by IBM, and what will hopefully make it useful is that it’s very much based around real case studies and practice from IBM in terms of how they’re trying to capture innovation from their own supply base.

As one of the largest, most respected and highest spending procurement functions in the world, they’ve got some interesting thoughts and examples to offer. And the session also features a real-life IBM supplier, talking about how it has felt for him, sitting the other side of the table, and giving his views on how buyers can get the most out of firms like his when it comes to innovation.

My colleague Thomas Kase and I will be setting out some of the concepts and context around supplier innovation, but as I say, the meat of the session really will be the practical, real-life IBM stories. It’s on at 12.30pm (lunchtime) UK time, 1.30pm western Europe, on Thursday June 26th, and you can register free of charge to participate here.

We’ll come back to the topic also here, post webinar, for more thoughts and discussion.

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