05 May 2009 | Steve Bagshaw in North Carolina, US
Delegates at the 94th ISM conference in North Carolina got a stark warning about the effects of the recession. They also received some encouragement on how to capitalise on the opportunities it presents.
At the opening address Chris De Luca, CPO for refining and marketing at BP, said: "No matter how good you think you are, it isn't good enough. No matter how good you've been in the past, it doesn't matter."
Addressing the panel session on 'Leadership in Difficult Times', she said the "challenge for today" was helping companies survive the downturn and this will call for some short-term thinking. "The prize in five years won't matter if we are not here in one."
All four panellists took the view that the downturn presents an opening for the profession. "We have suddenly become popular and everything we do has visibility and CEO support," said Shelley Stewart CPO at Tyco, which makes everything from alarms to water purification systems.
Buyers must capitalise on this chance, he added, using this as a time to push through some previously disregarded plans. "Now we can get the resources for ideas that are pulled off the shelf. Solicit ideas from people, from suppliers."