[From iSource Business, April 2001] Teddy Roosevelt would have been proud. While campaigning for president in Milwaukee in 1912, Roosevelt was shot in the chest shortly before he was due to speak at a rally. Rather than being hustled off to a hospital (the Secret Service was around, but obviously not as ubiquitous or protective as they are now, possibly due to the lack of black sunglasses back then), Roosevelt went on to speak for an hour and a half. He did make the concession of asking the crowd to be quiet, saying I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose. Well, it's speculation, and I'm obviously biased, but I think Teddy would have been proud of the iSource team. The iSource Top 100 Summit, held at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero in San Francisco in January, may have been the magazine's first conference, but it was a success nonetheless. This in spite of everything from the worst winter storm in years, to the threat of rolling blackouts, to a blimp crashing into a restaurant. While sightseeing was held to a minimum (for most, a glimpse of Chinatown, some fog, the occasional cable car), there was more than enough information, activities and networking to keep attendees occupied.
Kicking it Off
The Summit featured the top 100 e-procurement companies and their leading executives, and used the novel format of having presenters give a 10-minute elevator pitch session, which meant that there was no fluff or boring epic-length presentations. Companies participating included printing auction site 58k.com, industry giant Ariba and sourcing site eBreviate.
Kicking off the Summit, Doug Moore, founder of iSource, shared this thought: Industry consortia, if treated with the attitude of inclusiveness, will be the greatest equalizer since the musket. Moore also challenged companies in the B2B e-procurement space. In three years, one-third of business transactions will be conducted over the Internet. If we truly believe that, we must ask ourselves why isn't it happening today?
Moore also announced iSource's new partnership with Question.com in building intelligence Exchange, the first forum that helps users get answers from industry experts on e-procurement and online supply chain management.
Did it Deliver?
Attendees were apparently satisfied with the opportunities presented during the four-day conference. As Aaron Victorian, senior purchasing agent with Dallas Airmotive says, [The Summit] was an excellent opportunity to meet with enablers who can help us with our e-procurement initiative.
Mark Fogel, manager, Supply, Logistics and Operations for Amylin Pharmaceuticals, says, The iSource Top 100 Summit was an excellent resource opportunity to interact with the current suppliers operating in this very fluid and continually developing market. The Summit catalog, 10-minute exhibitor presentations and showroom access were very helpful in obtaining succinct information in a brief time period. One company that I was previously unaware of appears to meet our e-commerce plan objectives, and I have commenced a preliminary development relationship with them.
One issue that became clear was the fact that online procurement is moving into its next phase. Both Ken Wyrick of Eventra and Exemplary Software Vice President of Marketing Sami Cassis de-emphasized lower purchase prices for direct materials as the largest benefit of e-procurement. They implied that lower prices are a given over time. Wyrick and Cassis suggested that the real benefits are in addressing shortages and the time-sensitive nature of direct materials.
Other concerns were also addressed. PurchasePro Senior Vice President of Marketing Chris Benyo cited inertia as the largest competitor to e-procurement, and stated that education, training, and perhaps most importantly, encouragement are needed to really make e-procurement systems effective.