4 min read

There’s a Larger Demand for Procurement Professionals Than Ever Before

Mike Cadieux quite possibly bleeds procurement. A 20+ year seasoned sourcing leader he founded Procurement Foundry in 2019, steering it to become the leading global community of sourcing and supply chain professionals, now with over 6000 members. Mike is a very active contributor to industry gatherings, chapter meetings, podcasts and 100s of interviews which he conducts with experts in the field.

This year, Mike and his team are delivering their first in-person conference, Forge: ENGAGE in Las Vegas, on November 2 & 3. In preparation for the event, we gathered questions from the community and the network to find out what drove him to start Procurement Foundry, how has he seen the procurement role evolve and how the idea for Forge: ENGAGE took shape.

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  • Why Procurement Foundry? Why did you start the community?

MC: I founded Procurement Foundry for a number of reasons: I felt there was a gap in the industry and we needed a place as practitioners to gather, that didn’t cost any money.

Number 2, it was a selfish reason, because I no longer practice as a Chief Procurement Officer and I wanted to be aware of what is going on in the industry. I want to know what’s happening, what people are working on and different topics and trends in the industry, to continue to keep in touch.

And then finally I wanted to try and help some people – either to learn more about themselves personally, in personal development, through knowledge, awareness or just getting to connect to people. Professionally as well, to be able to share ideas, concepts and knowledge with thousands of people. When I started the community, I was hoping to gather 1,000 people in it, but now we’re at 6,000.

 

  • What do you think are the specifics of the community? What makes it different to others, unique?

MC: What I think is unique about Procurement Foundry is it doesn’t cost anything and it is aimed towards actual practitioners at all times. Most of our practitioners join with their personal information and they stay with us throughout their career, as they move from job to job. In some cases, we even help them find their next job.

What I think is really unique and what I’ve learnt, is that procurement people are often thought of as people who are very shut off and quiet, that don’t really collaborate that much and I find that to be the complete opposite in our community. I’ve seen so many people helping others with nothing to gain other than the satisfaction of helping others, which I think is pretty amazing and one of the unique things associated to Procurement Foundry.

 

  • What type of impact and changes have you seen in the past year, associated with the procurement function?

MC: Certainly, you can’t discuss this without talking about the impact of Covid and I think a lot more focus has been put on procurement professionals, there’s a larger demand of procurement professionals than ever before. There’s a larger demand for procurement professionals than ever before, with enhanced skill sets. This is causing lots of job jumping, because there’s more demand than supply.

Then secondly, another big thing, obviously, is working from home and working remotely, which allows people to spend more time focused on learning, education and collaborating, rather than sitting in traffic, commuting to their roles.

Probably the other thing that I’ve seen as a macro trend is that, in general, we are moving out of age of P.O. cutting and paper shuffling days, to how procurement can strategically enable the enterprise, through better sourcing strategy, enhanced Vendor Relationship Management and the likes. A lot of people are moving up from the tactical levels to the strategical levels now.

 

  • There are many events for the procurement industry, so why did Procurement Foundry develop Forge: ENGAGE to add to that list?

MC: I think the reason for us doing this is strictly because the community asked for it. We are operating for a community of practitioners and they were pushing hard for a physical gathering. We do regional chapter events as well, but they wanted to have a larger event where they can all come together.

The interesting part about ENGAGE for us is that our community is the basis of our operation. It’s what we do every day when the entire team gets together and talks. The events for us is just an extension of that community. Whereas other events organizations tend to be events companies, we are a collaboration company, focused on our community. The events are developed as support for the community, , we’re doing them for the members who have asked this.

  • What are the key highlights of Forge: ENGAGE?

MC: To begin with, I think that the tone of the event will be much more collaborative. There’s going to be a lot more networking involved, it’s not a huge event, we capped it at 200 participants, so it’s going to be really intimate. Almost all of the people already know each other because they’ve been working and collaborating inside the community, which I think immediately sets it apart. This isn’t to say the event isn’t open to people from outside the community, but rather that they will feel like they are among friends when they join.

We are also doing some really unique things. We kick off the event on the first day with a production company that will teach us all about how to collaborate and engage, meet people, so we set the tone for the rest of the event.

There is a lot of time set aside specifically for networking, with plenty of roundtable discussions and breakout sessions rather than keynotes and people speaking on stages (we have a couple of those too).

The other thing is that we’re really focused, as our community is, on both professional and personal development. There will be items on the second day associated with personal development, how to do things like get your social presence in order and how to build personal development through education and others. I’d say that most conferences are about the professional side and we’re trying to blend the two together, because that’s what our community is about.

Then, there’s also the fun, like the cocktail party that is coming up on the first night. Like I said, a tone of networking with people that are friendly and helpful to others.


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To meet Mike, and network with 200+ other sourcing professionals, join us in Las Vegas this November at FORGE: ENGAGE.

Find out more and secure your pass here.

Passes for Forge: ENGAGE are $1,399 for Procurement Foundry members and $1,699 for buy-side non members. 

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