Reflections on day 2 of the Contingent Workforce Strategies Summit, Europe 2015.
As day two progressed it was clear that the intensity from day one was still there but the pace had dropped a little. I did wonder how many delegates might be missing early sessions after attending late night sessions that closed the first night. Elevate was entertained by IQ Navigator on their canal boat cruise visiting a couple of very good restaurants including the Hotel Amstel for our main course. Amsterdam is a great City with some fantastic architecture which is well viewed from the water. Luckily we were back at the hotel (bar) at a reasonable hour, I’m not sure the same was true of those that attended Beeline’s after party!
The themes in day two were similar to the first day but with a large dose of collaboration. Renowned speaker Rene Carayol kicked off the keynote on Wednesday morning stating that leadership in our modern world of business is driven by collaboration, without it you aren’t even talking to the right people let alone developing relationships that give your strategies more chance of success.
This ran all the way through to the final session I attended with Bryan Pena supported by Jason Ezratty of Brightfield Strategies and Vince Lattimore from Microsoft on how to evolve CW programmes or How to solve the 3 year problem as they called it. Vince had some war tales from Microsoft’s various CW programmes spanning over 100 countries with a very high level of complexity but the short of it was talk to people, get in front of them and communicate. If your stakeholders ignore that email you sent notifying them of a change to something then they don’t know about it and your change management will falter. Engage with them from day 1 to year 3 and beyond. Bryan had said on day one that Procurement was a sales job, so go and sell your programme and it’s value to your clients and suppliers and reap the benefits. You will increase relevance and the chances of keeping your job in the process!
The other major takeaway from this session, in fact from the whole conference, was about costs and saving money. A drive to measure success in terms of continued savings will eventually lead to failure and this was challenged with questions from the floor. Procurement is there to measure and save money right? With over 70% of attendees at CWS Summit 2015 coming from procurement this may be a hard pill to swallow but Jason, Vince and Bryan were consistent in that value isn’t just savings. If you squeeze suppliers to the point they make no money they go bust or their quality of service to you decreases and how is that useful? Measure quality, get suppliers to do a little more for the same fee and if they are doing a good job tell them so.
So as a CWS virgin what would I say about the event? Engaged delegates, interesting sessions (for a relative novice), good venue and a buzz that as sponsors gave us a platform to drive conversations. My personal take on some of the content is that I am not so sure Procurement is ready to be told to measure value on different metrics than cost and they may not also be ready to wear a sales hat. Would we go back, ask that question in 6 months time……..
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