What makes a good procurement summit?

Friedrich Kern
Sep 25, 2019 · 3 min read

Industry leaders feel that the procurement space is buzzing with energy, as this event dedicated to innovative ideas in the procurement space made clear for all to see.

DPW truly lived up to its name and one ought to be wearing blinders not to be deeply impressed and encouraged by the cool technologies and new processes reshaping a traditionally conservative industry. Industry events are commonly sponsored by big procurement solution providers. To best in class solutions, this presents the challenge to stand out with new ways of doing things and new technology. DPW was different. It was not solely driven by solution providers, it was also focused on individual procurement change makers. This unique setup gave deep insights into how to shape procurement into a key corporate innovative leader. The key accomplishment, was looking deeply into the three areas of disruption on people’s minds: Change, Technology and Humans.


Procurement can and must transform from its classic value proposition as the cost-cutter towards a strategic decision maker. DPW and its outstanding speakers impressively demonstrated that this change is possible and already executed at a few organizations. This takes courage and effort. If procurement wants to play a role in shaping business, it needs to move away from outdated and meaningless KPIs, develop a strategy around data and build a flexible and open culture. There is no blueprint on how to successfully transform every procurement organization, given the innumerous differences. To have an impact on projects companywide, it requires new skills, becoming more agile, investing money and time and accepting that failing is part of the journey. Even though this might feel overwhelming and scary at first glance, the outcome is even more desirable as the impact of transformed procurement on the organization and society as whole is tremendous as for example shown by Bertrand Conqueret, CPO at Henkel.


Large suites have a tight grip on many organizations, and require many resources. Yet technology, for spend analysis, predictive analytics, P2P, S2C, SRM, risk and sustainability assessment, needs to free up resources, or shift focus to collaboration.

DPW has well provided an overview of what is possible in ProcureTech and that the value add provided by each individual solution justifies a shift from suite providers towards a best-of-breed ecosystem. This will not happen immediately. Yet given the powerful technologies introduced, future decision-makers should well consider looking at the best-of-breed ecosystem. Think of this as with existing ERP systems, which became locked in by their own success and size, they are good solutions as a whole, but they have their flaws in every individual process.


The war for talents has been in the media for years, but now it has reached procurement. If a successful procurement transformation is pursued the right talent is key. Procurement talent is required to feature new skills being more empathetic, digital and visionary. However, at the same time old procurement is neither attracting nor retaining the right talents due to heavy routine and boring operational work. This is probably the toughest of all challenges. Taking AT Kearney’s future procurement statement „mediocrity is no longer acceptable” at its word, McKinsey’s Jan Wüllenweber showed a way forward. As sourcing projects become increasingly complex, agile pool members may fill voids across categories. This requires the ability to adapt quickly to new domains, and to have a working knowledge of categories across the board. In many organizations, procurement may have to polish its image to attract the talent it needs. (btw, working with crummy software is not going to make an impression)

A lot of new impressions, success stories and new insights. We benefitted greatly from the exchange with industry experts and other founders. We look forward to coming back next year!


Prospeum unleashes progress and innovation by tearing down…

Friedrich Kern

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Prospeum unleashes progress and innovation by tearing down barriers and establishing superfluid procurement. At Prospeum we believe in a greater collaborative inclusion between companies by revolutionizing the way companies interact with each other.

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