Stockholm Dispatch 1 – IBX Capgemeni Purchasing Executive Summit’s Theme of “Less Is More” Delivers a Powerful “More” in Terms of Understanding Purchasing’s True Reach

Posted on October 7, 2010


I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to have arrived in Stockholm a day early, (the site for the 10th Annual IBX Capgemeni Purchasing Executive Summit), for many reasons beyond the time it afforded me to take great pictures of a truly amazing city (two of which I am pleased to share with you below).


Images of Stockholm, Sweden


To begin, it has given me a chance to take advantage of the time zone difference relative doing one of the things that I love the most . . . writing this blog, outside of the everyday hustle and bustle of a demanding schedule in a cozy middle of the evening comfort, without depriving me of needed sleep.  In short, my day no matter where I am usually starts at 4:30 AM.  With the time zone change I can actually do this without the requirement of a pre-requisite cup of strong coffee.

In this peacefully contemplative realm, I can somewhat leisurely enjoy putting “pen to paper” to share a few interesting thoughts for the IBX Capgemini conference which opens in a few hours from now.

This includes reflecting on the significance of the conference’s 2010 theme of less being more, and the maturation of an industry and profession beyond the limiting and somewhat artificial confines of being a functional adjunct to finance or merely an extension of an ERP-centric IT initiative.  In fact, and perhaps in an unexpected turn of irony, the organizers selected a theme that exemplifies the incredible paradigm shift that is taking place in the industry through the advent of social media and social networking.

In essence, the timeliness of the conference vision could not have been better planned, as it dovetails naturally with the basis or theme of many of the sessions being presented such as the one by Ericsson’s Chief Procurement Officer Petter Järtby, who will describe how a purchasing function can transform into a modern and strategic function that will be ready for the challenges of tomorrow . . . today.

Catch phrases such as being “ready for the challenges of tomorrow . . . today,” underline the greater realities demonstrated by recent research which according to the Ericsson CPO has shown that “90 percent of all innovations come from suppliers upstream in the supply chain.”  The irony of course is that accessing these innovative sensibilities of not only suppliers but all critical supply chain related stakeholders, aligns with Ericsson’s use of “innovation to empower people, business and society through the advent of their mobile and fixed networks, multimedia solutions and telecom services.  The “more” associated with Ericsson’s ability to “make a real difference to people’s lives and the world we live in,” is tied to the powerfully simple (or less) reality of the company’s ability to stimulate communication and collaboration through technological innovation such as their multimedia solutions and telecom services.

Let’s look at DHL as another example of a ubiquitous “less is more” impact.

In my overseas flight to both lecture as well as cover eWorld 2010 this past week, as well as with this most recent sojourn across the Atlantic, I have seen the same commercial in which individual squares along the lines of the children’s puzzle in which you had to physically versus electronically shift the tiles of a fragmented picture in the right sequence to produce a complete image was used to illustrate the broader impact of the “logistics and supply chain” role in our everyday lives.

The commercial to which I am referring, with a narrator’s voice talking about a passion for logistics in the background, utilizes powerful imagery from a fashion designer’s drafting table to a finished dress and a child’s delight in the airing of a much loved children’s show ends with a shot of a DHL plane taxiing to a stop at the airport.  This represents more than a delivery (the simple or less in this example), but also the greater (re more) impact of DHL’s ability to affect or make a very real difference “in peoples lives.”

While the emergence of social media and social networking, a topic about which I will be talking at the conference tomorrow – and yes it will be recorded and broadcast on a time delayed basis across the Blog Talk Radio Network – is a linchpin of this new reality in terms of the facilitation of increased communication and improved collaboration, it is this “more” of the broadened, real-world impact that purchasing and supply chain has on the world around it that delivers the most significant insight and contribution relative to our profession.

At the end of the day, this epiphany of purpose is the spark that will propel purchasing further into the reality of strategic advantage versus functional adjunct.


Images of Stockholm, Sweden 2