Bright lights, big conference

23 May 2007
More news

24 May 2007

The ISM annual get-together was held in Las Vegas this month. Steve Bagshaw reveals the issues that were on the cards for procurement Stateside.

The ISM conference and exhibition in Las Vegas was notable for a number of things. First, it was big, huge in fact, with around 2,500 delegates, over 100 workshop sessions and 150 exhibitors over four days. And the (informal) delegate feedback was very positive. In fact, many of the sessions were so popular they were oversubscribed, with some delegates sitting on the floor and others turned away.

So, what did they hear about? The priorities in the US for procurement are a little different from those in the UK and the themes reflected that.

Here, hot topics cover sustainability, procurement outsourcing and changes to public sector buying. While at the ISM, supplier relationship management featured highly - there were dozens of sessions relating to this area: "High-performance supplier relationship strategies", "Improve performance through enhanced supplier relationships" and "Theory Z of SRM: The final answer", to name three. Influencing and negotiation skills were also popular.

It is hard to say whether this signifies a different outlook in the profession between here and the US, but for any Europe-based procurement outsourcing experts wishing to move into the US, now could be the perfect time. Alternatively, as in many areas, maybe the UK will follow the US and next year SRM will have greater prominence this side of the Atlantic.

There was very little in the way of technological input from the ISM speakers, with the likes of e-commerce and e-auctions barely mentioned, although these areas were well represented among the sponsors and exhibitors. This could signify at the very least a plateau in technological developments, especially as there was hardly a delegate outcry that these issues were not on the agenda.

ISM also released details of its second annual salary survey. Based on research earlier this year of 1,155 respondents, the following average annual figures were revealed:
  • Chief purchasing/supply management/sourcing; $247,685 (£123,842)

  • Vice-president, purchasing/supply management/sourcing; $185,343 (£92,672)

  • Director, purchasing/supply management/sourcing; $124,948 (£62,474)

  • Manager, purchasing/supply management/sourcing; $87,676 (£43,838)

  • Agent, buyer, senior buyer, planner, purchaser; $61,645 (£30,823)

  • Consultant; $107,032 (£53,516)

  • Average annual compensation of supply management professionals for 2006 was $88,380 (£44,190)

  • Women lag behind their male counterparts. The average salary for women was $71,307 (£35,653) and for men, $98,550 (£49,275).

  • Bonuses, included in the figures, were earned by 62 per cent of respondents. On average, bonuses received were $16,118 (£8,059), representative of 14 per cent of total gross salary. The highest bonus reported was $154,000 (£77,000).
And they may well have needed the bonuses, as all the delegates seemed to have lost money at the tables.

See SM on 7 June for a full report on the conference.


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