ISM2016: Big Rewards, Little Risk for Procurement and Supply Management

By Susan Avery

May 20, 2016 at 12:34 PM

In putting together the agenda for ISM2016, the conference leadership committee considered names for the event’s learning tracks. It came up with six, two of which are: Risk and Reward. For those supply management and procurement professionals attending the Institute for Supply Management annual conference in Indianapolis recently, there was little risk and big rewards.  

ISM2016 consists of  keynote presentations, educational sessions, including some that presents an in-depth look at specific procurement topics, the R.Gene Richter Scholarship and other award programs, affiliate and group meetings, networking and an exhibit hall. There are also pre- and post-event training sessions. Attendees received 21 continuing education hours (CEH) to use for their Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM). 

More than 2,500 procurement and supply management pros attended ISM2016. 

ISM CEO Tom Derry, who likes the “Don’t” learning track because “it takes guts” for the presenters to share their experiences with others. “They recognize the importance of doing so. There is a level of trust,” he told My Purchasing Center during an interview in which he described the conference’s improving customer satisfaction scores, a result of the event being “for practitioners by practitioners." 

Derry helped launch eISM, an online learning program that features learning options that can be tailored to the need of the individual, varying from self-led just-in-time learning modules to guided sessions with live instructors. Featuring an assessment tool, eISM works in tandem with other ISM educational tools and resources such as the ISM Mastery Model. Users can apply CEHs earned to their CPSM. 

Supply Chain Risk Hot Topic

In the session, Moen Incorporated: The Journey of Enterprise Risk Management, Ralph L. Carlton II, Director, Global Sourcing at Moen Inc., detailed the plan he and his team put in place to help mitigate supply chain risk. 

One area that he sees as particularly important is spend risk, that the team can manage with a dual source, inventory programs and safety stock. But, he noted, commodity managers can’t manage performance of every supplier to Moen so they segment them based on revenue they are responsible for. “We understand the importance of suppliers to our business,” he said.  

Even sessions not included in the Risk learning track covered the topic. A panel discussion, Taking a Pit Stop--Hear How Procurement Leaders Transition While in Between Successes, led by Meghan Truchan, Director, Procurement at Bain Capital, examined some of the risk professionals take when they change jobs. Craig Reed, Director, Raw Materials, Energy and Packaging, at DuPont said he never expected “to move so often, but there was always a specific reason for joining a company.” 

Reed advised attendees at the session, “to have a clear strategy for what you want to achieve. Take a risk. Learn about the opportunity--which you don’t have to take.” Truchan echoed those sentiments: “Explore your curiosity.” She and Reed both recommend procurement pros continue to actively network both inside and outside the company. A particularly good venue for doing so, they agreed, is the local ISM affiliate. 

Risk was also a focus of the session, Leveraging SRM to Deliver More Value from your Indirect Suppliers, with Chris Sawchuk, Principal and Global Practice Advisory Practice Leader at The Hackett Group and Carl Bergauer, Director, Contract Furniture at Staples Business Advantage. As Sawchuk sees it, supply risk--and how procurement identifies it--is part of an overall definition of Supplier Relationship Management that also includes customer expectations for performance (and whether suppliers comply) and leveraging supplier capabilities (through innovation). 

In the Exhibit Hall

More than 100 suppliers showed their value to procurement and supply management professionals attending ISM2016 in the exhibit hall. Among them: 

  • SciQuest introduced its Portfolio Savings Manager which allows procurement to track project initiatives that reduce cost, leveraging all the tools in the software provider’s source-to-settle suite. 
  • ClientLoyalty showed how it optimizes relationships between buyers and suppliers through analytics that use direct feedback, social sentiment and operational data. 
  • Scout RFP demonstrated its product that helps its customers to quickly create sourcing events using templates. 
  • Avetta described for attendees ways the company helps procurement and risk managers to vet suppliers and contractors that work onsite “creating a culture of safety.”   
  • Protiviti. Chris Monk, a Managing Director in Protiviti’s Supply Chain practice, detailed the company’s consulting capabilities which include third-party risk management for mid-sized businesses in a range of industries from financial services to oil and gas. One procurement trend Monk identified for My Purchasing Center is businesses’ new focus on working capital coming out of the recession, which includes use of payment terms in supplier management.  

ISM2016.jpgISM2016 Keynote speakers included Alan Mulally, former President and CEO at Ford Motor Company, Susan Cain, author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, and Susan Schwab, former U.S. Trade Representative and Professor of Public Policy at the University of Maryland. Photo on left shows ISM CEO Tom Derry fielding audience questions to Schwab during a keynote presentation. 

Schwab, who discussed how the Trans-Pacific Partnership relates to the future of the economy and supply management, advising procurement and supply managers not to “sit there like a bump on a log. Let politicians know trade is something you care about” and see as “worth fighting for” introduced Brad Holcomb, Chair of the Manufacturing ISM Business Survey Committee, and Anthony Nieves, Chair of the Non-Manufacturing ISM Business Survey Committee who presented the ISM Report on Business and the future of the economy. 

For his part, Holcomb reported that in 2016:

  • Manufacturing revenue is expected to grow 2.8%
  • Capital expenditures are expected to rise 1%
  • Prices of raw materials are expected to increase 0.6%
  • Manufacturing employment is expected to remain unchanged 

Also at the event, ISM presented annual awards including the 2016 J. Shipman Gold Medal Award which went to Timothy R. Fiore for his distinguished service for the cause and advancement of the supply management profession. Fiore most recently was Senior Vice President, Supply Management, CPO of North America and Member of the Executive Board at ThyssenKrupp NA. He also held senior supply management roles at Terex Corp., Celanese Corp., Ryder System, Inc. and United Technologies Corp. An active member of ISM, Fiore has served on the ISM Board of Directors.

Several groups held networking events including the Women in Leadership Group which is working to recharge itself. Its mission “is to leverage and integrate working relationships between members and companies, gaining greater value for our businesses, and to provide support to advance women within the supply management profession.” 

ISM2017 is scheduled to take place April 30 to May 2, 2017 in Orlando, Fla. 

Also see the My Purchasing Center articles:

Supply Chain Fast Paced, So Celebrate Success

Supply Chain Risk Management: Not a Procurement Priority

Download and listen to two podcasts that feature discussions based on ISM2016 education session topics with the presenters:

Supplier as Trusted Advisor to Procurement: "Must Earn Right"

Advice for Purchasing from Small Suppliers: Be Transparent


Tags: purchasing Supply chain management Careers Procurement sourcing awards conference supply chain risk management
Category: News Article

Susan Avery


Susan Avery is Editor-in-Chief at My Purchasing Center. She writes articles, blogs and white papers and manages and creates other content for the online procurement and supply management publication. She produces and moderates roundtable discussions, podcasts, webcasts and video interviews. Susan has 30 years experience covering procurement and supply management for Purchasing magazine and 

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