Fifth, jubilee edition of the largest procurement event in Poland – PROCON/POLZAK

23 October 2018

The fifth anniversary edition of the PROCON/POLZAK procurement conference has gone down in the history of the Polish procurement community not only with its record turnout, but also a speech of the corporate procurement legend — Dr Peter Kraljič.



Procure value — not costs

The main theme of the conference referred to the changing function of procurement in organizations. The advancements in operational automation and the search for a competitive edge in other business fields contribute to the change in how procurement departments are perceived.

Along with the changing role of procurement, we are seeing the changing expectations regarding the competence of buyers and team managers, as well as the young generation entering the world of business.

In order to discuss the above issues, exchange experience, learn best practices, and build up new business contacts — 514 procurement practitioners and experts came to the Marriott Hotel on 22–23 October. This was an unquestionable turnout record and proof that PROCON/POLZAK is the biggest procurement event in the country.

The participants could choose from nine thematic blocks:

  • Talent Management
  • Direct Procurement
  • Indirect Procurement
  • CAPEX Procurement
  • Marketing Service Procurement
  • Processes and Tools
  • Risk Management
  • Smart Procurement Solutions
  • and thematically diverse Discussion Tables

Is the buyer position endangered?

In his opening speech, Shahriar Tabrizi, the top-rated speaker of the last year’s conference and CPO of Sivantos, took the challenge of addressing the issue he raised on the pending death of procurement. He emphasized that the failure of buyers and specialist to grow one’s own competence in the era of automation and artificial intelligence may lead to the uncertainty of keeping one’s job. However, he reassured that the upcoming changes actually present an opportunity to shift the role and focus of a human from operational work to setting and achieving consecutive strategic goals.

The theme of evolving competencies and ways of looking for new talents were presented by the representatives of the conference Lead Partner — ManpowerGroup and TAPFIN — Marek Wróbel (Commercial Director, ManpowerGroup Poland) and Elke De Loecker (Strategic Client Solutions Director, TAPFIN — ManpowerGroup Solutions). The speakers discussed the situation in the market of HR solutions and set it against a background of the circumstances in which procurement departments look for new talents, emphasizing the usefulness of HR management solutions.

Issues relating to talent management and intergenerational collaboration were discussed in great depth during the dedicated block due to their current importance for the industry.

Talent in a procurement organization

The presence of the participants of the Top Young 100 programme (for the best students of logistic fields) made it possible for the audience of the presentations and participants of the discussion panels as part of the Talent Management block to verify their views on Millennials who are entering the labor market and appearing more and more frequently in procurement organizations. Practitioners who work with the young generation on a daily basis gave advice on how to use the assets of the youngest workers and how to become an inspiring leader building effective teams on a road to common success.

Fine feathers make fine birds

However, positioning a procurement department as a business partner is not only a matter of team competence. As part of the Processes and Tools block and the Indirect Procurement block, many speakers addressed the importance of building the image of the entire department in the eyes of an internal and an external client. Such actions are invariably based on communication and transparency. Presenting the department as a valuable intermediary between the organization and the suppliers which not only is responsible for the timeliness of supplies, documents, or figures but — most of all — seek the value for the entire organization. The value which is built upon the very first contact with a supplier, development of partner relations, contract preparation, as well as innovations and added value derived from the cooperation.

The righteousness of the above approach was confirmed by the participants and speakers of the Marketing Service Procurement block and the Discussion Panel, during which the effective dialogue with a client, a media house, and the media was discussed. The representatives of the advisory company STARS (Rafał Szysz and Anna Klimek) explained how a media house works, how to describe cooperation effectively, and where to look for savings. Additionally, Wojciech Ostrowski, the representative of the Technology Partner — Allegro Agency — along with Jennie Arvenäs (Creative Lead, TELE2 Sweden) answered the question whether traditional event and advertisement is dying as well as what is “live brand experience” and why it is worth noting. The introduction to the block was a summary of activities as part of the Industry Dialogue between Advertiser and Agency conducted by PSML and SAR.

Cost and value

Drawing upon the main theme of the conference and analyzing value from a slightly different perspective, the speakers at the Direct Procurement and Risk Management blocks addressed issues covering the risk relating to raw material price fluctuations, the bankruptcy of suppliers, or changes in the perception of CSR in the eyes of an end client. The speakers provided comprehensive advice on how to minimize the risk from as early as the supplier selection stage to the final consumer stage — creating a safe and strategic foundation for the development of the entire organization.

The importance of comprehensive actions within the significant field of investment procurement, ways to reduce costs, and the differences between the management of this procurement category and other procurement fields were addressed by the speakers and participants of the CAPEX Procurement block.

Sport vs. business

In order for an organization to be successful, regardless of the technology it uses, it needs people — specialists and managers who together reach out for success (and the best ratings). Everyday work, meetings, unplanned events, or skyrocketing prices are stressful factors which everyone has to deal with. The special guest of the conference, Tomasz Majewski — a double Olympic medallist and, now, the President of the Polish Athletic Association — delivered a natural and inspiring presentation in which he spoke about his road to his biggest success, how he managed to keep himself motivated to train every day and not give up after each injury, as well as how to reconcile one’s own goals with the family life and how to use stress to one’s own advantage and reach the goals. Obviously, there was also a photography session with the warm-hearted and smiling Polish “Viking”.

35 years of matrix

Another Special Guest who graced the anniversary edition of the conference is a well-known figure in the procurement world. Matrix, created by him 35 years ago, is still a basic tool in building procurement strategies in companies all over the world.

Dr. Peter Kraljič, dubbed the godfather of the modern B2B procurement, opened the second day of the conference with his lecture. He spoke about the Polish economic development and opportunities it presents, but he warned that today’s companies and procurement departments need to face challenges that were not so significant when he created his matrix. Globalization and macroeconomic uncertainty have now become a criterion that procurement and supply chain cannot ignore in the pursuit of stable growth.

The second opening lecture was delivered by the Strategic Partner of the conference — Amazon Business. The representative of the company, Burkard F. M. Schemmel (Head of Enterprise Customers and Professional Services DACH, CEE, Benelux), presented the advantages of the Marketplaces solution.

The official part of the conference ended with the presentation of Dr. Maciej Błaszak — already known to the participants of the previous editions of PROCON/POLZAK. Lyreco invited the audience to a lecture relating to procurement negotiations. Dr. Brain (as Dr. Błaszak is often called by the participants of PROCON/POLZAK) broke down the biological and psychological processes in the minds of contracting parties sitting at the opposite sides of a negotiating table.

The best of the best

PROCON/POLZAK 2018 is also an event that awards the best procurement practitioners and suppliers. At the award ceremony, we got to know the winners of PROCON Awards 2018 and Procurement Leader 2018.

In the competition organized by the Polish Supply & Procurement Management Leaders, the Procurement Leader award went to Tadeusz Twardzik of Module Technologies. Honorary mentions went to Elżbieta Czarnocka of Polpharma, Bartłomiej Żeberek of NEXTEER Automotive Poland, and Łukasz Pacek of BGŻ BNP PARIBAS.

Supplier of the Year 2017, however, awarded as part of the PROCON Awards 2018, went to the following companies:

  • Logistics category: TSLogistic
  • IT category: YetiForce (honorary mention — Sevenet)
  • Creative Services category: endorfina events (honorary mention — MEA Group and FSWO).

Networking — “leave it to chance”

No one doubts the importance of networking in business. At the conference, the idea was promoted by Grzegorz Turniak (Akademia Rekomendacji), a master in building a network of contacts, who also helped the participants in striking up new acquaintances.

The organizers also prepared another form of meetings to build up business contacts more conveniently. As in 2017, the participants could participate in moderated discussions at round tables:

  • Business travels
  • Packaging procurement
  • Media procurement and TV production
  • Event service procurement

It is worth mentioning that less official forms of networking seem to integrate the procurement community even more. In the evening of the first day of the conference, the participants moved to Hard Rock Cafe to have some rock fun at the concert of Antyradio coverband. However, the most important element of the PROCON/POLZAK Party was undoubtedly the Procurement Foosball Tournament. mBank team became the industry champions.

Common success

The conference owes its success to the meticulously prepared agenda, numerous Special Guests, and professional organization. The whole event organized by OptiBuy and PSML is supported by the Partners: Amazon Business, ManpowerGroup Poland, TAPFIN-ManpowerGroup Solutions, Allegro Agency, Centrum IKEA dla Firm,, Altavia Polska, Ivalua, OEX NextBuy, Tork, WhyNotTravel, Dussmann, Stars, XBS Group, Lyreco, and SAP Ariba. The exhibitors included: CIPS, ITelix, EPSON, No Limit Logistyka, and Easycatering.

The technical side of the event was taken care of by Akademia im. Leona Koźmińskiego, Stowarzyszenie Komunikacji Marketingowej (SAR), and Klub Agencji Eventowych (KAE), while the promotion of the event was thanks to the media Sponsors:,, Eurologistics, Logistyka Produkcji,,, HRownia, GoldenLine, Top Logistyk,, Logistyka a Jakość, Nowoczesny Magazyn, Stowarzyszenie Branży Eventowej (SBE), Newseria Biznes, Think MICE, Harvard Business Review Polska, ICAN Institute, Production Manager, Logistics Manager, and Transport Manager.


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