The Institute for Supply Management's annual Conference only just ended, but it's never too early to start planning for next year. After reflecting on this year's discussions and expert-led sessions, Source One's team share their predictions for ISM2019.

1. The Talent Conversation Continues
This year's conference once again featured Source One's ExecIn Forum. Day 1 of this exclusive subconference culminated in a panel discussion on the issue of talent in Procurement. Sharing their concerns and solutions, supply management leaders examined the crowded and candidate-driven market for Procurement hires.  Nearly everyone agreed that there are more promising applicants out there than ever before. Volume, however, doesn't always make things easier.

Even the leaders at ExecIn acknowledged that name-brand organizations are increasingly poaching top talent. As competition intensifies and Procurement continues to grow more essential, passive recruitment methods grow less and less useful. Aggression has become the name of the game. Companies of all sizes are taking a more active role in identifying Procurement hires and ensuring they build the diverse skillset they'll need. Many are pairing with universities and veteran placement organizations to develop talent pipelines. Others are developing programs to train employees from other departments on the ins and outs of Procurement.

This conversation was far from unique at ISM. Nearly a dozen agenda items focused on Procurement's ever-growing talent concerns. It's clear that the conversation isn't stopping any time soon. Expect ISM2018 attendees to take what they've learned, enact changes within their organization, and bring new questions and concerns to Houston next year.

2. Retention, Retention, Retention 
Even organizations who've optimized their recruitment processes still run into trouble when it comes to retention. Today's young professionals expect a lot. They want challenge, compensation, and recognition. They want to align themselves with organizations that pride Procurement and have allowed it to build a strong, impactful brand. Small and mid-sized organizations often struggle to provide these. Even Fortune 500 companies sometimes put retention on the back-burner as they dedicate themselves to recruitment. As a result, they're forced to contend with a disengaged workforce and a high rate of turnover.

Throughout the conference, presenters and attendees alike asked how Procurement departments can better engage and incentivize their teams. Keynote speaker Arianna Huffington suggested taking a more empathetic and humane approach to talent management. She suggested that so-called "brilliant jerks" have no place in modern supply management. These individuals, however savvy, will only lead to poor morale and performance. Under their watch, Procurement's veterans will grow disengaged and young professionals will look for the nearest exit.

A year is a long time. You can expect many ISM2018 attendees to rethink and refine their talent management efforts before ISM2019. It's clear, however, that retention is an evolving issue. Whatever new policies are enacted, no one can expect to  fully answer the question of employee retention alone. Count on them to bring new questions and concerns to next year's conference.

3. Responsible Sourcing is No Longer an Option
Human, animal, and environmental issues are a fixture of our cultural conversation. Social media not only provides a forum to take these discussions online, but offers real-time insights to consumers. At a moment's notice, they can familiarize themselves with an organization's stance and critical issues. They can also easily dig deeper to learn who's really walking the walk.

Today's consumers aren't just engaged. They're also highly passionate. They are eager for opportunities to align themselves with ethical organizations and distance themselves from less ethical ones. A number of ISM2018's presenters discussed their efforts to promote sustainable and responsible sourcing practices. Each expert seemed to agree that sustainable and ethical sourcing have far-reaching benefits for the company, the consumer, and the world at large. They also suggested that Procurement is perfectly equipped to encourage these practices and ensure they're adopted company-wide.

It's hard to imagine that ethics won't figure into ISM2019's agenda. Nearly every day companies earn praise for their responsibility while others attract derision for suspect behavior. By the time ISM2019 comes around, presenters will have a whole list of success (and horror) stories to use as examples.

4. An Even Bigger Seat at the Table
Predictably, Procurement's evolving role within organizations was a popular topic at ISM2018. Diego De la Garza's presentation Overcoming Procurement's Internal Image Problem, for example, opened with a discussion of Procurement's reputation. While Procurement is no longer the scorned cost-cutter of decades past, few organizations have seen the department reach its full potential. 80% of CPOs, De la Garza noted, still consider cost reduction their primary objective. Procurement needs to take a more active role in encouraging their organization to ask for more.

De la Garza was not alone in calling for a new definition of Procurement. The department's evolving role - and the lingering barriers to this evolution - were among the conference's most popular topics. While numerous solutions were proposed, all attendees seemed to acknowledge that Procurement still has a long way to go.

Procurement Transformation means something different to every organization. Many still aren't sure what it means to them, or what a 'transformed' Procurement department should look like. Presumably, many professionals left ISM2018 with as many questions as answers. The most proactive among them have already set about answering these questions. Right now they're assessing their operations, developing action plans, and working to construct a more mature function. With any luck, they'll have accepted a more essential role by next year. They know, however, that their efforts can never stop. They'll come to ISM2019 prepared to discuss the next big step for their organization.

We've still got another year to go before we head to Houston. In the meantime, check in with the Strategic Sourceror every day to read what Source One's spend management team have to say about Procurement's emerging trends and topics.
Share To:

Strategic Sourceror

Post A Comment:

0 comments so far,add yours