How to Pick a Procurement Event to Meet Your Professional Needs

Advice on how to choose the procurement conferences and events that will pay back the most based on your top priorities.

As a procurement professional, it can be hard to find time to go to in-person procurement events, as your plate is likely full. However, conferences and shows are one of the best ways to learn about important procurement trends and resources as well as network with other professionals.

The key to finding the right event for your needs is to think ahead about what you want to get out of it, and how it will help both you and your company. With your current priorities in mind, review the following list of events, organized by job title or industry, and narrow down your top choices.

Senior Procurement Executives

For senior-level procurement professionals such as vice presidents and directors, executive-focused events give you a chance to network, understand trends and challenges in the procurement sphere and gain valuable insight into how to improve your company’s processes.

  • SIG Global Executive Summit: Sourcing Industry Group (SIG), a trade group catering to the Fortune 500 and 1000 audiences, has created a conference agenda with sessions and roundtables focused on managing vendors, partnering within organizations, emerging technology and managing risk.
  • Americas Procurement Congress: This conference, organized by procurement platform and analysis company Procurement Leaders, is angled toward helping procurement professionals “accelerate digital transformation.” The event includes sessions on integrating technology, the role of data and analytics in digitization and preparing and supporting your team through implementation. Procurement Leaders also hosts World Procurement Congress in Europe.
  • ProcureCon: This conference series provides both indirect and direct procurement events that features peer-led sessions on topics such as supplier diversity, global procurement, security, team development and other topics. Its events vary by geography and by season to offer more options for busy procurement executives. ProcureCon also offers industry-specific procurement events.

Procurement Generalists

Attending the following events can give you, as an entry- or mid-level procurement professional, the tools and resources to expand your industry knowledge, grow your network and help your company fuel procurement success.

  • Institute for Supply Management Annual Conference: The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) hosts this annual event that includes hands-on topics such as negotiation, measurement, pushing back on price increases and building your procurement brand. High-flyer keynote speakers at this year’s event, including former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, are typical of this annual conference, which is held in a different U.S. city every year.
  • Annual Global Strategic Sourcing and Procurement Summit: This conference digs into negotiation strategy, how to evaluate procurement software and technologies, new procurement payment technologies and sustainable procurement. It also holds sessions on procurement visionary strategy to help attendees get a better idea of how procurement will be shaped in the future.

Industry Specific

Industry-specific events offer procurement professionals of all levels relevant insights and opportunities. The challenges that education procurement professionals face, for instance, are not the same as those in the biotech industry. These industry events focus on those types of unique areas and not the general procurement topics covered in the events above. Search for events relevant to your industry — here are a few examples of what’s available.

  • ProcureCon Pharma US: A conference dedicated to covering technology, vendor management and other procurement topics unique to the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Annual IT Procurement Summit: This is a gathering for people in charge of procuring technology. Topics include negotiation, contract management, risk reduction, security and other in-depth topics that focus on the IT buyer’s experience. This event is run by CAUCUS, a trade group for technology acquisition professionals.
  • National Association of Educational Procurement Annual Meeting: Educational procurement trade group NAEP’s event includes diversity and inclusion programs, as well as sessions on managing different generations, for this year’s event geared toward procurement professionals within educational environments.

Since events require a significant investment of time and other resources, be sure to do a post-event evaluation, either solo or with your peers, to determine if the event was worth the investment. Record your evaluation and use it to decide if you want to attend again next year, or if you need to check out other events to find the best ones for you.

As you network with peers, ask them which procurement events they attend and why. You may learn about other conferences that provide the procurement insights you are looking for.