After returning from Procurement Leader’s Americas Procurement Congress 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts, I have never been so happy to spend 12 hours in an airport. My return flight was delayed several times because of a storm front that apparently affected the entire East Coast. Albeit not ideal, it meant I was back to networking in person and I was more than happy to endure a minor inconvenience to be back to business travel after an almost two year hiatus.
With plenty of time to reflect on the event, I was pleasantly surprised by the in-person turnout and willingness of the delegates to network freely in a safe environment. Before entering the event, everyone had to provide their full vaccination record and proof of a negative covid test within 48 hours of the event. Basically, everyone I met was not only vaccinated, but they also tested negative prior to arrival. Procurement Leaders added a nice touch of color coding the badges based on your personal hygiene and space preferences. You could choose from “interact freely” all the way to “Please keep a considerate distance” which made conversations natural and easy as well as gave everyone freedom to interact as best they saw fit.
This made my first in-person networking conference in my Scanmarket career a huge success as we shared industry trends and top of mind issues with procurement executives across several industries. The sessions were well attended both in-person and virtually as several Fortune 500 CPOs shared next practices and insights. Long-Term Sustainability and Assuring Resilient Growth were common themes throughout as this has been pushed to the forefront in most global organizations.
In addition to making new connections, we were able to fortify current partnerships with the first face-to-face meetings in over 2 years for most. We were able to dine outside which only added to the comfort level as we discussed ways to enhance our partnerships in 2022 and beyond. We even had an opportunity to take in a Red Sox baseball game which also felt very safe being both outdoors and socially distanced.
Nothing will ever replace an in-person meeting. Virtual meetings were born out of necessity, but actual human interaction felt both safe and the right thing to do in the proper setting. We at Scanmarket will next be attending the SIG event in Carlsbad, Ca October 11-13. The safety measures in place make us comfortable sending our team to another in-person event. We encourage you and your team to do the same and join us at SIG. We hope to see everyone back at in-person events soon. It has been my experience that they are both safe and invaluable as a collaborative effort to move Procurement into the future.