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Leveraging services procurement for growth

The beauty of procurement’s exposure to the wider business and tying this understanding in to systems, process and policy

Episode highlights


Moving to outcome based services and doing more with less
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Procurement's relationship with generative AI
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Addressing the complexity of complex services with technology
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Where is the balance between sourcing and the downstream project?
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Procurement's responsibility for project delivery
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Posted by: ZivioReading time: 92 minutes

With Matt Mehler, Owner, PROcurement Solutions

00:03:00 - Taking learnings from the sports world into procurement
00:10:20 - Procurement taking the lead from clear company strategy
00:16:34 - Did the experience of Covid-19 change the perception of procurement
00:18:45 - The emphasis on supplier relationships 
00:23:15 - Observations on the maturity and investment in procurement functions
00:31:00 - Moving to outcome based services and doing more with less
00:37:00 - Procurement's relationship with generative AI
00:40:20 - Technology's importance in attracting new talent to procurement
00:44:30 - Addressing the complexity of complex services with technology
00:48:40 - Where is the balance between sourcing and the downstream project?
00:51:10 - Procurement's responsibility for project delivery
00:58:43 - Future outlook for the procurement function

Transcript - Auto-generated. Please excuse any minor errors.

00;00;00;00 - 00;00;07;14
Jonny Dunning
Okay. I'm very pleased to welcome Matt Mehler to the podcast. Matt, thank you very much for joining me. How you doing?

00;00;07;17 - 00;00;09;20
Matt Mehler
I'm doing well. Thanks for having me, Jonny.

00;00;09;22 - 00;00;33;20
Jonny Dunning
Brilliant. Okay, so you are the owner of Procurement Solutions, and today we're going to be talking about services, procurement and how it can be leveraged for growth, which I think is a really interesting topic. And we've kind of had some background conversations in and around this area and also mentioned in conversations around some of the work you've done in the past at some pretty amazing, amazing places.

00;00;33;22 - 00;00;43;23
Jonny Dunning
And so would you be able to just kind of start us off by just giving us a little bit of background on what you do now and kind of what your journey has been through the industry to get to this point?

00;00;43;25 - 00;01;06;18
Matt Mehler
Yeah, absolutely. First off, thanks for having me and thanks for your listeners for dialing in. And the background really was typical sports guy wanting to continue my journey in soccer and to do that here in America College is really the next step. So for me it was the D1 university I could go to and find myself at Duquesne University in playing soccer.

00;01;06;18 - 00;01;33;12
Matt Mehler
I always tell people I went there as an athlete and left as a scholar. I went there to play soccer but found a real passion in supply chain management. Had had an amazing professor that introduced me to what supply chain was, and then from there, the journey through procurement. I got an internship at Education Management Corporation starting from the ground up, which I tell anybody and everybody who is young to just get experience, go out there in the field, learn it.

00;01;33;14 - 00;01;51;22
Matt Mehler
And I did in procurement. I loved it. I loved it. So much that it's now 20 years I've been doing it from education management. I went to New York, I got married in eight, it was in New York and on I and got an opportunity to stand up a procurement operation with a Lefrak organization with anybody from New York.

00;01;51;22 - 00;02;17;24
Matt Mehler
Those are large real estate owner operators, developers. So commercial residential construction. And then from there, that experience took me to Madison Square Garden. They did not have a subject matter. Expertise and procurement also were going through some systems improvement processes, which I had a lot of background in. So so my history of procurement in facilities, construction and then around systems added a lot of value.

00;02;17;24 - 00;02;43;24
Matt Mehler
So from there I was in those positions for eight years or so. And then in the last year I decided to package all of that up together and go out on my own to start procurement solutions and specialize in procurement for facility construction in venues, but also in other businesses that have the general needs around corporate services, construction facilities and the like.

00;02;43;24 - 00;02;48;08
Matt Mehler
So thanks again for having me Look forward to to the conversation.

00;02;48;11 - 00;03;19;05
Jonny Dunning
No, my pleasure and a great background really appreciate it is is interesting looking at your kind of specialization within that area but it obviously translates out but but at the base of it you've got this appreciation and kind of love for procurement and the supply chain side of things. In terms of when you were when you were studying, you obviously had you I know you were you were pretty damn good at soccer or football, as we call it over here.

00;03;19;05 - 00;03;28;00
Jonny Dunning
But, you know, how difficult was it to make that choice where where you're kind of looking at the two different sides of what you were what you were doing?

00;03;28;02 - 00;03;56;17
Matt Mehler
Yeah. And you're referring to sports and. And the supply chain? Yeah, yeah, yeah. It was so so really the I had the best of both worlds for the couple of years after I graduated, I actually had an agreement with my boss at the time in Education Management Corporation that I could work in adjusted hours, 7 to 3, so that I could then make training every day of the week from 5 to 7 for the clubs.

00;03;56;18 - 00;04;23;15
Matt Mehler
I actually played semi-pro for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds for a few years after extremely, extremely rewarding experience, mostly because of the impact on the community and the kids that you get to have whenever they see you as as this professional soccer player loved to continue to play the game, but the transition from one to another, really, there's a lot of parallels between the two, believe it or not, and that's kind of why I enjoyed procurement coming out of out of the sports world.

00;04;23;17 - 00;04;45;22
Matt Mehler
Procurement function relies on collaboration. Like you have to understand your business partners, you have to understand how the business works and you have to partner with them, right? Really, it's all about spin management. How does the business spend its money and how can you do that if you don't understand how the business operates? Right? You can't really optimize, spend, manage and optimize the processes, the systems.

00;04;45;22 - 00;05;04;04
Matt Mehler
If you don't understand how the business works and you can't understand how the business works unless you develop those partnerships across the business. So it's almost like a team in a way, right? You have to understand your team strengths and weaknesses. You have to bring that all together. And I've been on good teams, I've been on bad teams and I and I prefer the ones that are good, that are successful, that understand what they need to do.

00;05;04;06 - 00;05;27;03
Matt Mehler
And making that transition to me was it was hard to leave the game, but it was fun to then pick up another challenge in this your business world around procurement, to then understand how do I take a business, how it functions, the different organizations bring it all together to quote unquote win or be successful. And it's really taking that same mindset from one to the next.

00;05;27;06 - 00;06;01;24
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, because I guess when you look at it, the strategic and tactical nature of having that holistic procurement viewpoint is quite similar to the strategic and tactical nature of how you operate as part of a successful team. So I think that's quite a fascinating observation. But clearly you're motivated towards that strategic objective and that kind of teamwork side of it, which I think is quite, quite interesting because you mentioned about collaboration and dealing with the wider business.

00;06;01;26 - 00;06;17;21
Jonny Dunning
I sometimes feel that that's something that doesn't get quite appreciated in the way that it should do about procurement. I mean, what was it about that that kind of really drew you to it in terms of operating with different parts of the business?

00;06;17;23 - 00;06;44;08
Matt Mehler
I enjoy building the relationships, honestly. I think that's one thing that procurement could probably do a better job of holistically across the industry. Understand that developing those relationships through true empathy and trust and building that trust really results in the greatest outcome, right? You have to come to the table with no other objective other than helping those that you service within the business, right?

00;06;44;10 - 00;07;01;13
Matt Mehler
You have to truly come to the table with that mindset, not a goal of I have to get X amount of savings, I have to get X amount to spend under. I have to get this data. I have to It's not that. It's how do I help you? When I help you run your business better, you then open up to me about your business.

00;07;01;13 - 00;07;24;28
Matt Mehler
And then that allows me to then understand that to put it into practice as it relates to what my needs are. So when you prioritize around the business and building those relationships and understanding how it operates, you then in turn achieve the objectives you need to around the procurement functions, right? It may be controlling spend, it may be managing services and third party relationships in the spend.

00;07;25;00 - 00;07;44;21
Matt Mehler
How do you do that? You can't do that unless you have those relationships, because the reality is the majority of the spending, the majority of the transactions is the things that procurement is responsible for in some sense is really built out of the business. Right? The business has the need for that, that good or service, the business has the budget for that good or service.

00;07;44;21 - 00;08;08;18
Matt Mehler
Right? So so it's really starting at the base of understanding the business, building those relationships. And again, similar to sports, if you don't have those elements in foundation, right, you don't really have a good team, right? If you don't have a good leadership with a good strategy and then relationships across the team that want to do the same thing, they want to have the same goals and support each other.

00;08;08;21 - 00;08;13;10
Matt Mehler
You don't win on the field the same thing, same ways you don't winning in the business world.

00;08;13;13 - 00;08;36;20
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, and it also ties into the kind of specialization of roles You talked earlier about systems process and policy, and that's not everyone's cup of tea. It's not, it's not everyone's favorite. But really that's not the responsibility of necessarily everyone else in the business. It might be the subject matter experts within procurement. That's their way of solving a problem.

00;08;36;22 - 00;08;56;12
Jonny Dunning
But what you're talking about with relationships makes a lot of sense to me because if you can build those relationships, then you can communicate the value of what you're doing around systems, process and policy, get people to buy into it. And that's I guess that's that's where the value comes from. But without the relationships, people can kind of reject that and see it as an obstacle.

00;08;56;12 - 00;08;56;23
Jonny Dunning
Would you say?

00;08;56;23 - 00;09;21;11
Matt Mehler
I agree. I mean, I don't think I don't think anybody wants to start a conversation out with I'm here because the policy requires me to be like, no, nobody. No, but including procurement. By the way, I've been in a long time and I know those conversations happen at times. Nobody enjoys those, right? You enjoy the ones where you really try to understand each other and you try to help each other.

00;09;21;14 - 00;09;43;16
Matt Mehler
Does it always happen? Let's be real. No, not always. But I do feel success is at the end of when you come to the table with true empathy, with a desire to understand the business and a desire to solution for the business. Right? That's the other thing. Sometimes we have a mindset of what is right from our procurement experience and our what we know best practices.

00;09;43;18 - 00;10;03;24
Matt Mehler
And there may be some truth to that, but every business is different. Every business not only is every business different, every organization within a business is different, right? So you have to understand, you know, using some tech language, you have to understand what their business requirements are, right? What is important to them first, before you build systems strategy process on top of that.

00;10;03;24 - 00;10;15;04
Matt Mehler
And if you try to go the other way around and just say you're there because of the policy, you're not really understanding what's important and you're never really going to get to where you need to with whatever the conversation is.

00;10;15;07 - 00;10;44;15
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, I feel like from my previous conversations with you and from some of the stuff, you bring it up. There's a, there's a quite a strong focus around leadership, effective leadership. So obviously that's clearly something that's very, very important in sports teams on that side of life, but within the business world as well. And I think, you know, being able to work for a company where they can clearly communicate their overall strategy and objectives is so empowering for everybody within that organization.

00;10;44;22 - 00;11;06;03
Jonny Dunning
And if you know procurement, if you've got a motivated procurement function that saying, Right, okay, how can we how can we achieve excellence, What what's a really good result look like? You've got to understand the overall objective. Do you think that I mean, when you when you speak to your peers, do you think most people are in that situation or do you think organizations do a good job of communicating that?

00;11;06;05 - 00;11;33;03
Matt Mehler
I'll say in the last few years it's been clear communication and that's really a function of the change in the environment when it's pretty typical. When times are good, people aren't as focused on the cost side of the business, right? The revenues coming in, everything's great. There's less questions about it as it relates to the goals around procurement and savings and its impact and overall controls.

00;11;33;03 - 00;11;55;26
Matt Mehler
Let's just say controls in general. However, switch to post-pandemic world. There's a lot more focus on how the dollars being spent and how to best optimize that dollar. But then the other half of that is the risk element, right? I think we've understood now the risk in supply chains that exist that may not have been a conversation 2 to 3 years ago.

00;11;55;29 - 00;12;28;23
Matt Mehler
People that weren't as focused on it now see the impact of your business and the potential delays or disruptions it causes of your business. If you don't have you're a clear look back into your supply chain understanding of lead times in those relationships and how those relationships rely on the the industries that they rely on. You know, it may be a service based contract, but that service may rely on materials and other goods to perform its work in order to do it in a timely manner.

00;12;28;23 - 00;12;50;25
Matt Mehler
And those were, I think, components that may not have been a conversation before, but are now. And now you're seeing leadership at a high level come down with clear goals and expectations of what an organization should do around those costs, management and or risk management in order to deliver, I'd say, more effective results for the company.

00;12;50;27 - 00;12;54;20
Jonny Dunning
So during that pandemic period, were you mzgee?

00;12;54;22 - 00;12;55;19
Matt Mehler
Yes.

00;12;55;21 - 00;13;13;26
Jonny Dunning
That must have been pretty crazy in the sense of like the impact. It must have been nuts. I mean, as we've spoken before, I like the fact that your, you know, guys clearly passionate about sports. You know, I think working in Madison Square Garden is might be pretty cool. And, you know, we discussed some of the amazing events.

00;13;13;29 - 00;13;27;05
Jonny Dunning
You know, I'm quite fond of the UFC and some of the events in boxing, UFC, all sorts of amazing type events happening there. But that must have been pretty scary during the pandemic. It must have been so weird.

00;13;27;07 - 00;14;05;05
Matt Mehler
It was. It was. And I think, you know, taken from the first moment when the conversation came up all the way through, I'll see restrictions lifted and everything, you know, went from canceling events. There were there were some events and artists that were well ahead of the curve in regards to what the pandemic really meant. And sitting around a board room and understanding what would a COVID 19 virus really means and what what is the last pandemic and and sitting around C-suite and and thinking about work from home strategies that typically aren't corporate culture policy, right.

00;14;05;05 - 00;14;34;26
Matt Mehler
And then fast forward to a year or two later, everybody is at home. Nobody's allowed in events at all. And your business literally relies on live experiences. Right? And you're sitting there wondering, how do I you know, what is the strategy moving forward from here? I give Mzgee and Jim Dillon a lot of credit, did their best to not only take care of as many employees as they could top the bottom.

00;14;34;26 - 00;15;02;11
Matt Mehler
And when I say top to bottom, don't forget a lot of these venues are operated by, you know, I would say, more blue collar positions, ticket takers, cleaners and staff that, you know, they were on payroll for for months and months and months beyond what was typical of the industry. And that also, I'll say, you know, procurement roles and responsibilities and other corporate staff that that stayed on the whole time.

00;15;02;11 - 00;15;27;06
Matt Mehler
Right. That there really wasn't a lot of revenue coming in, but stayed focused on the mission. And don't forget, they were also building the sphere at the time. So there was still a lot of work going on and a need to stay focused on the future of the organization. Then it was also a time to reset strategy and understand how do we improve things that that we ultimately, you know, weren't focused on prior but have the time to do now.

00;15;27;08 - 00;15;46;28
Matt Mehler
But, you know, it was a it was a really weird time because from a picture and perspective, you were just trying to mitigate risk around whatever. Third party contracts you had. You had to try to bring that all together, work with the stakeholders, including third parties, to negotiate the best that you could out of those agreements to salvage whatever cost sense.

00;15;46;28 - 00;16;15;03
Matt Mehler
You know, what ones do you need, which ones you don't need, And then ultimately, how do you come up out of this scaled down and then be prepared to scale back because no one knew what scaled back looked like either at the time. Right now is the other major element. So you're planning for the unknown. And it was it was an interesting but fun time, especially, as you mentioned, is being a sports guy and see behind the scenes of how these teams in these leagues were preparing themselves for what it may look like.

00;16;15;03 - 00;16;29;01
Matt Mehler
Right. And then you're a fan at home watching games. You're seeing you're seeing the experience. They had fanless games for a while. So it was it was a really interesting time and a fun time, stressful time. But, you know, all in all, great experience.

00;16;29;03 - 00;16;48;25
Jonny Dunning
Yeah. And like you say, the kind of rebound was completely uncharted territory as well. And just it just as much of a problem in some ways. You know, you've got to try and maintain relationships with the suppliers when you're not able to give them what they want or what, you know, what everyone was expecting before this all happened.

00;16;48;28 - 00;17;03;14
Jonny Dunning
And then suddenly you're having to prepare for, now we've got suddenly getting demand. We've got to wrap things up. We've got to do things in a different way. Do you think that that created more of an appreciation within the business for the procurement function?

00;17;04;14 - 00;17;25;10
Matt Mehler
yeah, because it put us front and center, right? There were a lot of conversations on trying to make that happen, right? I think we were more often than before put in the spotlight at that, you know, leadership C-suite ownership level in regards to what's possible right? Because nobody knew what was possible. And we had to figure that out.

00;17;25;10 - 00;17;50;14
Matt Mehler
We had to figure out what was normal, what was able to be done. Take a simple example. I had someone on the team that did a lot of the canvas, covers the covers over top of the seats, right? That's a huge expense for an organization that has no fans sitting in those seats. Right? And then you have the lead times, the material shortages coming out of China, the production issues and all those things.

00;17;50;14 - 00;18;10;01
Matt Mehler
And at the end of the day, the owner just wanted a cost effective solution that looked good on TV, Right. And had the branding components because there's other, you know, the other part of the sports entertainment world, a lot of the advertising and marketing elements of what goes on on the screen all have to be coordinated into this.

00;18;10;01 - 00;18;39;24
Matt Mehler
Right. And procurement has a lead role in and bringing that all together and understanding that process and again, that collaboration between all the organizations that it takes that to put on that that final act. So it was a lot more emphasis on the function for that, for the good really to then really step up and show the value that that the organization can benefit from whatever true collaboration with procurement at the table helping them drive results.

00;18;39;26 - 00;18;58;28
Jonny Dunning
Yeah. And you just touched on another point there, which is this kind of like two way relationship where effectively some of your suppliers can effectively be sponsors or, you know, your clients as well. So again, that that really emphasizes the importance of those relationships, especially in a tough time.

00;18;59;00 - 00;19;23;23
Matt Mehler
Yeah, absolutely. And this this was all my interview going into Madison Square Garden is how did I feel about that component of procurement? And honestly, I was open to it. I didn't understand the real impact to the day to day and the real opportunity that it was going in. But that's ultimately why I enjoy procurement in the sports and entertainment space is that component of the marketing partnership sponsorships piece.

00;19;23;23 - 00;19;40;12
Matt Mehler
And I got to tell you, it makes a lot of people feel uncomfortable because there is this give back component, right? We're so used to in procurement. I'll give you money for you to do something. You do it for me, and then I'm going to tell you how I think you did for it for me in regards to that, right, that supplier management component.

00;19;40;15 - 00;20;02;18
Matt Mehler
But when there's reciprocated money back into your business, which really, in my opinion, is true partnership, right? Because now I'm accountable to deliver something to you. And am I delivering something to you right in my upholding my value back to your organization for your reinvestment back to me. I'm investing in you, in your business. You're providing a good service.

00;20;02;20 - 00;20;24;21
Matt Mehler
Now here I am investing you of you investing back in me Now. Am I providing value back to you? And I honestly, it's a difficult line to walk for a lot of procurement folks, but for me it was very simple. For me, it's it's all integrity based, relationship based business that truly is valuable for all parties when done appropriately.

00;20;24;21 - 00;20;51;27
Matt Mehler
So when you go through the procurement process and you evaluate the marketplace and you understand what businesses, what goods or services procured from what businesses or the best for your organization, and then you get to that point and you say yes via scorecard or however you manage that process. You say these two or three or even just if it's one company can do this thing or these things for me and they're interested in spending money back, right?

00;20;51;27 - 00;21;18;15
Matt Mehler
It's now a total cost of ownership. You right now. Now you're evaluating, okay, I'm spending money against how much money in my receiving back. And then ultimately, whoever is the, you know, the best value for the organization, you make that decision and then there's multiple elements of that supplier management, right? You also have to manage the element of are they feeling like they're getting the most out of of your organization?

00;21;18;18 - 00;21;39;14
Matt Mehler
And procurement could play an important role in that because it's all relationship management. It's it's the constant communication that it takes to manage that relationship relationship productively, ultimately for the best for all parties, right. To make sure that, you know, there were times when, believe it or not, I would get we would we would get more money back from the vendor than we were spending with them.

00;21;39;14 - 00;22;09;11
Matt Mehler
Right. It wasn't always just, you know, if I spend a dollar with you, I'll give you $0.20 back. It could have been it just made sense for them to leverage the Madison Square Garden brand for what it was. Or ultimately, I did some work for a some global after leave the Madison Square Garden. And again, there's just some third parties that are more interested at the time to invest in the branding with co-branding with these venues that it's important for them in the growth stage of their business.

00;22;09;11 - 00;22;17;01
Matt Mehler
Right. So how are you helping them grow in and procurements role in managing that process is very critical.

00;22;17;04 - 00;22;38;05
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, I think it's really fascinating. And ultimately, if you've got that two way relationship, it leads to the potential for really aligned objectives. You know, everybody's rowing in the same direction, you're all going towards the same objective. We want to make this successful. We want to make this event as successful as possible. You know, if you're providing security, it's got to go smoothly.

00;22;38;05 - 00;23;00;15
Jonny Dunning
If you're providing catering or whatever, that's got to work and your name's your name's on this. So, you know, if it works well, it's going to make you look good. And I think that's really interesting. And, you know, I kind of I can see the passion you have for, like, the venue operations space as a in some ways hardly surprising, bearing in mind you look at all the cool things that go into these things.

00;23;00;18 - 00;23;24;08
Jonny Dunning
And, you know, we spoke briefly about the the Las Vegas beer. We were chatting the other day. It just looks incredible. But it's is quite a unique scenario, really. And I think that puts you in an interesting position as a specialist to be able to take that to other people in that space and also take it to adjacent spaces that are going to have similar kind of criteria.

00;23;24;08 - 00;23;40;01
Jonny Dunning
And it's it's big business. I do find it weird, though, in some ways that the maybe the procurement functions in these type of organizations are fairly immature. Do you think is that true and is that true? And if so, why is that the case?

00;23;40;04 - 00;24;16;06
Matt Mehler
Yeah, it is typically, and a lot of that comes down to the structure of the industry. There's certainly some large players in the game. So for example, there's a global does have a procurement organization and Madison Square Garden does have a procurement organization, but they're those entities as a whole have a large operating portfolio as some global 350 plus venues that they operate, massive square garden, five plus but but other business lines with the sports teams and so forth, they just have a lot of spend, they have a lot of value in the procurement function.

00;24;16;08 - 00;24;47;11
Matt Mehler
Other yeah, you're spread across the industry as a whole. It's often individual owners, billionaires. You know, a family that owns real estate, also buys a sports team, also owns and operates a venue. It's not as large of an operation. It's not more of a portfolio management, it's more around an individual business. And I think that's why you don't see as much sophistication and as much investment in the procurement function across those organizations.

00;24;47;11 - 00;25;13;21
Matt Mehler
However, you're starting to see it a lot more. Again, post-pandemic. There's also an increase in salaries to the players and an increased cost of the business. So I'm starting to read more articles and starting to experience a greater desire for the function, even if it's on a consultant basis, even if it's on a smaller I'll say it less strategic is to define defined strategic.

00;25;13;21 - 00;25;41;12
Matt Mehler
I think, you know, it's not just the strategic sourcing piece, it's the procurement operations, it's the people process technology mindset that we know procurement when done is a best practice, can make an impact on the business. But even even on a small scale, I do see a lot more teams in a lot more venues interested in understanding how to set up a procurement operation and asking for those services because of the increased costs.

00;25;41;12 - 00;26;02;25
Matt Mehler
And I think Live Nation recently reported a 20% increase in overall ticket demand, which clearly shows that the industry as a whole is seeing a demand coming out of the pandemic. There's this thirst for live entertainment, right? We said in our house for years, Right, We want it. We want to start interacting with people again. We want to spend our money there.

00;26;02;28 - 00;26;40;29
Matt Mehler
So there's a reinvestment into the facilities that host these events, either new facilities. Every time I turn around, SBJ has a new article about another venue being built in the industry or major renovations going on in existing venues to then increase the customer experience. All of that demand on the front end obviously increases costs, right? Sure. You have an increase of revenue because you have a greater demand, you have an increase of cost in your business and for that you start to see a little more interest than you have historically for the function across the leagues.

00;26;41;01 - 00;27;03;09
Jonny Dunning
Yeah. So I guess that ties in to the kind of reinvestment and growth phase that we're looking at within that industry at the moment. I think, you know, when we previously spoken, you mentioned the phrase kind of per capita in terms of the value per the value per person visiting a particular event, and that's at a high at the moment.

00;27;03;09 - 00;27;25;10
Jonny Dunning
So that creates an opportunity. But then you've got the cost side of it. I mean, as I think I mentioned before, I was in Texas recently went to a Dallas Cowboys game, unbelievable stadium, amazing experience, just fantastic day and a proper full day of just absolute entertainment and fun. But that's there's a lot to it. There's a hell of a lot to it.

00;27;25;12 - 00;27;35;28
Jonny Dunning
And and there's a lot of considerations for cost. But as you say, when you're looking at that kind of opportunity for reinvestment, that's it's not just business as usual is it?

00;27;36;00 - 00;28;09;21
Matt Mehler
No, it's not. You have to rethink what that experience looks like. Then you also have to consider the limitations and the challenges, the limitations of existing infrastructure. Right. There's certain ways that a building could operate given its it's its physical structure, but there but that also challenges businesses to think how could I how could I change the customer experience widening corridors for for greater customer flow in between events and how do I reduce line viewing?

00;28;09;24 - 00;28;30;19
Matt Mehler
It's all about almost a frictionless kind of experience from the time you even think about giving the venue. A lot of people don't realize as operators, it's also starting to think about when you're home. How do I make sure I get to the venue successfully? Do I have my ticket digital tickets? Make sure that experience is I walk up, I barely stand in line.

00;28;30;21 - 00;28;50;27
Matt Mehler
And then the security component of that with the evolves and extract one mask's scanning technology that's now at the front doors of these places, then to go in and how do I make sure I can buy something as quickly as possible without standing in line? There's so many elements of that. And then I go to my seat. I use the restroom.

00;28;50;27 - 00;29;22;24
Matt Mehler
There's so much that goes into that and making sure that the guests that come there have the best experience that they possibly can. And there's a lot of technology component to that, right? There's a lot of technology in AI that can they can watch over that and give data points to the to the operators on that experience. Believe it or not, it gets down into the you know, going back to the facilities experience, there's technology inside of of paper towel dispensers to know when they're low so that you can refill them.

00;29;22;26 - 00;29;44;23
Matt Mehler
There's no shortage of solutions. And the question is how do you prioritize those for an organization? How do you optimize your spend as it relates to all those? So you can give the best possible experience to a guest. As you know from an operating perspective at the lowest possible cost and you look at even enough and be rolled right now, that's probably one of the biggest elements.

00;29;44;23 - 00;30;13;16
Matt Mehler
I'd say the two biggest elements right now in the sports entertainment space that are really changing the game is overall fan experience where, you know, they're changing regular seating to more lounges and more experience based while you're watching the game, more standing and in collaboration type spaces to use that word again. But then also touchless around the FMB, they're leveraging technology for flooring systems.

00;30;13;17 - 00;30;42;26
Matt Mehler
You're seeing a lot more of that quote unquote Amazon go type systems where you go in, you grab your food or drink and you walk out with only skin in your car before you go in. So a lot of different experiences going on in the venue space, which ultimately is an investment which increase your costs in trying to manage that at a time where, you know, there's a lot of changes going on, it becomes challenging for organizations.

00;30;42;28 - 00;31;04;28
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, exactly. Especially if you are pricing in that kind of premium premium mode where the ticket prices are going up, the per capita is going up. But one little thing that doesn't go right can ruin the experience for somebody and can give them a negative a negative feeling. So obviously with the way that this industry kind of operates, there are services.

00;31;04;28 - 00;31;32;21
Jonny Dunning
Procurement of services is very important in the context of there are a lot of ongoing services, maintenance facilities, catering, all the kind of all the different things that are going on. And that's always been the case. And I guess in that circumstance you might you might well be working as a venue operator, you might well be working with not necessarily a massive number, but a few fairly large vendors that are covering certain aspects, whether it's security food, beverage, whatever it might be.

00;31;32;24 - 00;32;02;20
Jonny Dunning
But I find it quite interesting moving from these kind of like KPI based ongoing services into the more outcome based project style services which are naturally aligned with the reinvestment side of it. And I think for me that feels like that adds a significant amount of complexity to the procurement side of things. When you've got to go out and find new vendors, you've got to look at services you're not necessarily haven't been using regularly on.

00;32;02;22 - 00;32;07;16
Jonny Dunning
Have you seen that impact the market or are you seeing that start to impact the market now?

00;32;07;19 - 00;32;27;22
Matt Mehler
Yeah, I did. Even when I was in Maddison Square Garden. I mean, it becomes challenging. I think if any of your listeners could agree, it's that it's not like as we spend more we constantly get more resources to manage that spend, right? It's not like the operations goes, Hey, I got a budget approval for four new projects. Now me hire those people to manage those projects.

00;32;27;25 - 00;32;58;08
Matt Mehler
You're really being challenged to do more with the same, if not less. Right? So. So how do I do that? You really look for efficiencies. I keep using the words scalable, sustainable Every time I think of a process that's got to be scalable and sustainable. And any time you can leverage technology or leverage some sort of solution to do that for you, or at least help manage it for efficiency, it allows you to scale that that a little greater, right, because you still have all the same components in this venue.

00;32;58;08 - 00;33;28;03
Matt Mehler
We're all in the show. I always say the show has to go on. It doesn't stop because you have these other four or five projects in these four or five projects may have tentacles that have ten projects underneath the four or five. So you're really talking you could get 20 to 30 different initiatives. You have to manage on top of your typical make sure that the venue operates the way that it's supposed to, that the guest experience coming through the door till the time they leave the door is the same and or better in that they're enjoying that that show that it has to happen.

00;33;28;10 - 00;33;55;03
Matt Mehler
But then you have these other projects and to do that well and keep up with all the variables underneath each one, the different service levels and especially procurement, we're mindful that we try to put as many service levels in there so we get the deliverable that we need. At the end of that commitment, it becomes challenging almost impossible to manage that, especially in a decentralized model where the business doesn't have the procurement support.

00;33;55;03 - 00;34;07;20
Matt Mehler
And if the procurement support has the resources to even keep up with that demand. Right? It's very challenging to do that in a manual way. So you really need to leverage some sort of technology solution to do that for you.

00;34;07;23 - 00;34;29;28
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, it's interesting to see the kind of procurement technology landscape which is absolutely exploded over the last 3 to 4 years. Dr. Elouise Epstein at Kearney has this kind of market map and you know, when she first started doing it, it was, you know, it wasn't threadbare, but it wasn't packed. It just absolutely expanded. It's incredible is so many.

00;34;30;03 - 00;35;12;19
Jonny Dunning
And that's a selection of kind of like the the best vendors that, you know, that fit into the different categories. But it's I think that's a very good indication of the the requirement for technology to be used to underpin that scalability and that sustainability is interesting. I was presenting at a the Consultancy Procurement Council conference in the UK in London recently, really very much for kind of consultancy professional services category managers and senior procurement people in the area run by the Consultancy Procurement Council and we did a presentation on what we're doing using generative AI to create requirement specifications.

00;35;12;21 - 00;35;35;07
Jonny Dunning
So super cool stuff. We've got a tool called Scope IQ, which is really leveraging this stuff to do some pretty amazing things. But it's quite interesting when you drill into the detail of it and when you're getting questions from people, you know, they're asking about things like IP data. Security obviously helps when you get people like Microsoft getting involved, but also things like, you know, is AI you know, whose job is this going to take?

00;35;35;09 - 00;35;53;23
Jonny Dunning
And and it's really amazing. I look at the use of technology automation, whether it's using AI or not within procurement, it's not there to take people's jobs, is there to automate the stuff that needs to be automated. You've got certain some procurement teams that are not supported effectively by technology, the drowning in the manual process, it's very transactional.

00;35;53;29 - 00;36;16;29
Jonny Dunning
You know, they can't get into that strategic or even tactical mindset you were kind of talking about earlier of trying to align with the business objectives and certainly with the I think I think it's quite interesting. Obviously, it's all happening very, very quickly where it all goes, who knows from here. But it's certainly interesting. But I'm taking the approach of looking at it as a tool to be utilized.

00;36;17;01 - 00;36;25;27
Jonny Dunning
And, you know, people say, AI's going to take people's jobs. Well, in the short term, it's going to be people that are using AI. They're going to take other people's jobs because they're just going to be more effective.

00;36;25;29 - 00;36;28;21
Matt Mehler
So I think exactly what I was going to say.

00;36;28;23 - 00;36;56;24
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, it's like, you know, there's I think as procurement evolves is a function and it's quite a young function if you compare it, some other business functions, particularly within certain industries. So in terms of its involvement, the procurement technology landscape is not as evolved or as advanced, for example, as the marketing technology landscape, but it's getting there. There's lots of investment, there's lots of big unicorn companies coming out of it that are really growing rapidly.

00;36;56;27 - 00;37;23;15
Jonny Dunning
So I think there's always been slightly more concern within areas like procurement than, for example, marketing and the, you know, how what's this automation going to do to my job? But I only see it as a positive thing in the sense that it's got to elevate people so they can get more thinking involved, concentrate on those relationships, and actually just all the stuff that's just repetitive transactional stuff, just just automate it.

00;37;23;17 - 00;37;32;10
Jonny Dunning
But do you think people there's a bit of an inherent kind of concern about that in some organizations, some procurement teams?

00;37;32;12 - 00;37;55;01
Matt Mehler
I see and hear it a lot. To me, if you're worried about AI taking your job, you really should go back and get some more education and understand A what is and B what you're doing for the organization. Because in no time should that system be able to take over what you're doing. And if that is something that you're doing, you should really repurpose your time and your effort into doing something more productive.

00;37;55;01 - 00;38;15;20
Matt Mehler
Right? Because because I agree, it's really just an enabler. It's allowing us to do our jobs better. You should be if no one and you're listening listeners are in procurement and they're out there right now and they're not using chatbots and they're not trying to understand how A.I. is changing procurement, they should because it is the future. It is going to be where it's going to end up.

00;38;15;20 - 00;38;41;26
Matt Mehler
And I actually one piece of that I'm not sure I agree wholeheartedly on is is that A.I., isn't that new? It's been around for a while. It's just starting to really take shape in our conversations in business, in the applications, especially in the general world. But it's around a long time and it is growing. You know, if you're looking at the curve, I think it is quickly getting itself into business now more than the time it's been around.

00;38;41;26 - 00;39;07;14
Matt Mehler
And I think that Chatbot is probably what brought that to the fore front, just being so consumer, you know, at everybody's fingertips and able to do some really cool stuff in a very simple form. And it brought this buzz around the function. But the reality is it's been a while, it's been around for a while. I think there's some legitimacy towards the risks in the data elements and how do we make sure that it's being used positively.

00;39;07;17 - 00;39;25;28
Matt Mehler
But as it relates to the procurement function, it absolutely needs to be inherent in everything that we do around transaction management because that's not the best use of time. And we were always a business. We always struggle around that piece of it, right? The data piece, the the managing the contracts, the managing the span, the transactions around that.

00;39;26;00 - 00;39;46;01
Matt Mehler
If I could just easily have a system to do that for me versus having to manually request from my team to pull information and to to put it in a pivot table and to do that in the other, everybody's going to benefit from that. They're going to benefit because now they're using their time more productively to to think better instead of to to do manual tasks.

00;39;46;01 - 00;40;11;04
Matt Mehler
Right? So I do believe there is a quick shift. It's been around a while, but there is a quick shift in If folks in procurement are currently spending their time on understanding it and trying to apply it in their either personal life and personal I mean, not just their personal, but also their how their function is at their job, in their responsibilities, but also how the function as a whole can benefit from some leverage in technology.

00;40;11;04 - 00;40;20;01
Matt Mehler
And I mean, I think they're doing a disservice to themselves in their organizations because it is the future. If it's not already there in companies, it needs to be.

00;40;20;03 - 00;40;43;19
Jonny Dunning
Yeah. And ultimately, when when procurement teams are being asked to do more with the same resources, you know, how are you going to do that? You can't just continue working in an inefficient manner. You've got to increase that efficiency to be able to do more and to be able to make it scalable and sustainable. But I think also it's just like, you know, quality of work life.

00;40;43;21 - 00;41;07;18
Jonny Dunning
I, I was at a conference I think was last year. Yeah, a lot beginning of last year. I found it really interesting. There were, there were various procurement leaders from some from some organizations talking about the increase in the use of technology, procurement, digital transformation. And there was one guy in particular who I thought was really interesting because he just stood out because he was just totally embracing it.

00;41;07;20 - 00;41;28;22
Jonny Dunning
This is the way we need to move forward. You know, we should be automating the stuff that needs to be automated. We should be upskilling our procurement teams, getting more into the data analytics, building better relationships with our internal stakeholders, with our suppliers, really trying to get an edge on our competition and using the procurement function as part of that business's kind of forward progress and cutting edge.

00;41;28;24 - 00;41;55;15
Jonny Dunning
And. WHEREAS, I was really shocked that some of the procurement leaders that were there were, were really like, you know, it's not, it's not about that. That's not really that important. You know, the way we doing things kind of, you know, if it's not broken, don't try and fix it. But I was thinking, how the hell are those people going to recruit young graduates, bright, bright people with the type of skills that procurement teams need these days into their organization.

00;41;55;23 - 00;42;19;07
Jonny Dunning
If they get in there and go, this is ridiculous, this is archaic. I'm using these awful systems, manual processes. I don't want to spend my time doing that. I don't run my personal life like that. And I think that's a real oversight. As the procurement function evolves, people are upskilling. You know, it's getting to it's enabling people to move away from those transactional activities.

00;42;19;12 - 00;42;26;10
Jonny Dunning
Why would anyone want to stay like that? Because the youngsters coming into the market are not going to find that interesting or exciting.

00;42;26;13 - 00;42;46;14
Matt Mehler
Nor should they really. Because if you think about the function as a whole, 20, 30 years ago, there really wasn't many that went to school for that function, right? There wasn't a lot of people. There wasn't an education path. There just was it wasn't their purchase, it was purchasing just to use some simple terms, the function was purchasing.

00;42;46;15 - 00;43;12;06
Matt Mehler
You manage purchase orders, it was a back office, you know, and value added function. You fast forward to 2023 and beyond. It has to add value and adds value through the data, through managing the spend in those relationships productively, efficiently and leveraging technology. I mean, the fact we're even having this conversation in 2023 is mind boggling to me, to be honest with you, because it's not like technology's new.

00;43;12;07 - 00;43;38;08
Matt Mehler
We're sitting here on the screen having this conversation. It's so ingrained in our daily life with our phones and computers that it shouldn't even be a conversation in AI. Is that next step for us as it relates to the technology stack that our our systems should be doing more for us and we shouldn't be relying on people to do these menial tasks because to your point, A, they're not going to want to and B, they're not fun to do.

00;43;38;08 - 00;44;01;20
Matt Mehler
So why do we want to build a team around these non value added recurring functions that have to be done? Why not leverage that technology to do that more cost effectively, more efficiently for you, and then hire smarter people to review that data and take action on it? Because that's the piece that I will never, ever be able to take the replacement of a procurement.

00;44;01;20 - 00;44;28;28
Matt Mehler
All right. There's there's constant action that has to be taken based on that data and that and that's where AI fall short. There's a human element of managing those relationships, and that's been in the business that as much technology as you layer on that, it's going to come down to people and it's the people that understand that and make themselves valuable in understanding how to do that best, leveraging the data and leveraging what tools are available to do that better that are going to excel.

00;44;28;28 - 00;45;05;08
Jonny Dunning
I totally agree with you. I mean, particularly when it comes to areas like services procurement, which I feel have been underserved by the kind of legacy procurement suites, because ultimately they kind of developed out of ERP systems. So they were typically more predicated towards management of goods and materials, easy to define item that you are procuring. You know, it's got this weight, this measurement, this number, this color, whatever might be quite often to be a complex supply chain associated with it, but it's fairly binary what it is you're buying and you can just compare costs and all that sort of thing.

00;45;05;10 - 00;45;29;09
Jonny Dunning
The growth of services is almost the polar opposite to that in the sense you've generally got a simple supply chain, but you've got very complicated, sometimes difficult to define thing that you're buying where in some cases the goalposts are going to move during the delivery of that service. So I think with that, with the complexity that exists around services procurement, this makes it even more imperative to take steps forward.

00;45;29;11 - 00;45;53;24
Jonny Dunning
Because if you look at the services that the organizations are procuring, you know, how much of them are being measured, how much of them are being managed, and how can procurement people manage those interactions and those relationships, if it's intangible? And I think I feel that there's definitely more of a problem in the area of of services, particularly complex services, than it is in goods materials, which is a fairly well solved problem.

00;45;53;27 - 00;46;13;11
Jonny Dunning
That side, you've got metrics. You can buy stuff in an Amazon style experience, guided buying catalogs, etc. If you're buying consultancy or you know, you're buying complicated services, I.t services is just not going to be like that. And particularly when you look at things like that, every venue's different, they've got different requirements and no two projects are necessarily the same.

00;46;13;11 - 00;46;27;10
Jonny Dunning
So do you, how do you feel, do you feel that that is an area where there is a role for technology automation and basically anything that helps to play a part in that?

00;46;27;12 - 00;46;56;12
Matt Mehler
Yeah, I think you have to because you're pulling a lot of these procurement slash purchasing systems. We're all SKU based, right? Description, quantity, price, and that's about it. And it's really hard to manage after the fact once you make those commitments, right, you may have a really good contract because you did a great job negotiating that contract. You have other subject matter expertise either within procurement or within the business to be mindful of those service elements that you need.

00;46;56;12 - 00;47;17;01
Matt Mehler
You put good SLA or service level agreements, clauses around what has to be delivered and then it may end there, right? You then have to implement that into the business. You then have to have the resources to manage that and it becomes very difficult if you don't have the right systems around that and the complexity around that right.

00;47;17;03 - 00;47;40;21
Matt Mehler
And I think it's easy to say there's, there's service based contracts that are not complex, but I'll actually find the majority of all service contracts are always complex. It may be something like cleaning sounds very easy, right? It's an individual that has to clean. However, a lot of variables that that cleaning. How about the height? What products are they using?

00;47;40;21 - 00;48;10;08
Matt Mehler
Is there an innovation within the products that have to be used? What clause is around sustainability to meet our sustainability goals and ESG? So how about their hiring practices related to those services? And you just break down one simple component, and that was just in a ten bit, ten second little run, and there's way more than that. And how do I manage all of that across multiple services that are constantly changing And the business may be constantly changing, let alone the market of the services that you're buying.

00;48;10;15 - 00;48;26;25
Matt Mehler
You're trying to keep up with your industry as a whole. You expect your third parties to keep up with their industry and how do you hold them accountable to that? And if you're not leveraging some sort of technology to do that, I promise you you're leaving opportunities out there and you're not really getting the best value out of that.

00;48;26;25 - 00;48;36;16
Matt Mehler
Spend that you really good and out of those relationships because you just won't be able to do that all with your existing resources without leveraging the technology.

00;48;36;19 - 00;48;58;04
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, I totally agree. And you touch on an interesting point there, talking about the creation of the contract. And so so we've got a supplier, we've got a master services agreement in place. We're going to draw down against that master services agreement and create a requirement that's going to turn into a scope of work and a statement of work or a work order for them to actually deliver a service.

00;48;58;07 - 00;49;10;29
Jonny Dunning
Do you think where do you think the balance lies currently within most organizations in terms of the emphasis on that kind of sourcing process versus the downstream delivery side?

00;49;11;02 - 00;49;36;18
Matt Mehler
Yeah, I think unfortunately we put too much emphasis on just the sourcing component. There's too much just focus around did I go through a process to procure this according to a policy or get bids and do I have a contract all? Those may be yes, and maybe they weren't even done to the best of the ability, but they were complete very little.

00;49;36;23 - 00;50;01;09
Matt Mehler
Do you hear around the ongoing management and really as a business, what is one of the most challenging parts? It's the ongoing management, right? Because what becomes very reactionary could be proactive, meaning we're always just responding to the fire who didn't do something. What would happen here? How come that didn't get done right instead of proactively, constantly managing those 80 to get the minimum requirement?

00;50;01;14 - 00;50;24;18
Matt Mehler
And I say that that really should be the goal at at minimum requirement. Get what you need. Right or not, that's not even happening a lot, right? If you go and check in and you try to manage, you'll find that you're not even getting the minimum requirement. But really you really should be striving for greater value. And really, if you if you try to let the blocking and tackling be done by the systems.

00;50;24;18 - 00;50;43;11
Matt Mehler
Right. And I say the blocking and tackling the understanding of what those terms are and how to manage them and when I have to manage them and are they being managed, then I can then layer the smarts over top of that to ensure that I'm getting what I need or ultimately what more that I need out of these third parties and out of the relationships.

00;50;43;14 - 00;51;09;09
Matt Mehler
And to if you don't have something helping you leverage that information, there's absolutely no way your internal teams, whether that's a procurement team or the business and especially the business, right, because they have to run the business. They've got a lot responsibilities than just that one contract than just that one third party. Right. So it becomes very challenging to do that in an internal environment if you're not leveraging some sort of tool to do that for you.

00;51;09;12 - 00;51;29;05
Jonny Dunning
Yeah. And like you said earlier about the data, if you're if you're running an SLA management meeting or a cube or something like that and you're you've got your business stakeholders there, you've got the supply there and procurement are there, if you haven't got metrics to use, what is it just an open conversation and, you know, kind of hearsay type conversation, it becomes quite difficult.

00;51;29;08 - 00;52;08;15
Jonny Dunning
But I find it very interesting when you look at the responsibility of the procurement, have on that downstream delivery in the sense that typically within a lot of organization organizations, procurement are measured on cost savings, which are kind of defined and recognized at the point of sourcing. But actually when you're buying services, that's totally dependent on what happens during delivery, you know, so so I think in a lot of organizations where they don't have that maturity around buying and managing services, it's the sourcing process is kind of the all that they do is partly all they're capable of doing if they've got the right technology, but also in terms of responsibility, maybe procurement, sometimes you

00;52;08;15 - 00;52;29;21
Jonny Dunning
all kind of end there because what happens down the line is not my fault. You know, if it's it's not delivered properly. What's that to do with procurement? I'm not really being measured on that. I feel like that's quite a big gap in some organizations because, you know, ultimately all you being given what you were promised in the contract, you know, are they delivering what they said they would deliver?

00;52;29;23 - 00;52;35;19
Jonny Dunning
There has to be a responsibility on procurement for that to a certain extent, as I said. Would you agree.

00;52;35;21 - 00;53;02;02
Matt Mehler
100% email it all up at one. Has our business needs changed since I executed that contract? Right. Because you may scaled up or down the need and you may need to negotiate the best value at that point in time. Right? There may be times when the business change and you don't need as much, but you could have been overpaying if you didn't hold accountable that conversation to right size, whatever the services.

00;53;02;04 - 00;53;34;06
Matt Mehler
And if you're not having those conversations and don't have the support and data to get you there, you're going to be missing out on a lot of opportunity. And and it may be that you are you're also being proactive on the risk side of it. What do I mean by that? Well, if you're not having those conversations relative to service levels and commitments and you don't identify proactively that your business is going to change and maybe it's changing for the greater and you need more services, there's going to be a come a point in time when those that need actually arises.

00;53;34;12 - 00;53;52;03
Matt Mehler
And if the supplier's not prepared for that and you don't have the runway to negotiate it, there's going to be two things that could possibly happen. You're not going to get the quality that you need when it comes time for that scaling up, or you're going to feel like you have no other option at that time, no leverage.

00;53;52;03 - 00;54;09;03
Matt Mehler
And then they're going to you're going to get taken advantage of from a procurement perspective, right? You're not going to have any leverage in any type of additional if you don't have the right clauses around the scaling up and you don't understand what that is, because sometimes that can always be done in advance, right? You're less you have less leverage at that time.

00;54;09;03 - 00;54;17;23
Matt Mehler
So the more proactive you can be, it really mitigates the risk both around the quality and performance of the work, but also around the cost component.

00;54;17;25 - 00;54;53;21
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, and it ties very much in to the kind of core principles of what you were saying at the start of our conversation around communication and collaboration, strike partnership. You know, it's, it's, it's not just a question of beat the supplier up, get the deal and forget about it. It's a longer term relationship, which I think, you know, with the work that you've done in the industry that you've been working in for the last few years, you've uniquely had that opportunity to really kind of see that in full effect, particularly with with COVID having had that impact, where you got to you suddenly got to scale people down and you got to scale them up,

00;54;53;23 - 00;55;16;11
Jonny Dunning
you call it everyone wants the best possible quality. People want new experiences and better experiences. And I think it's really fascinating to be honest and you bring it to life very nicely, which is quite it's a good thing to be able to do within an industry like the kind of venue type space, because you know that type of venue, people can get it.

00;55;16;11 - 00;55;34;16
Jonny Dunning
People everyone's been to a concert, a sports game, whatever it is, an event, and so people know what it's like to be in that experience. They know there's a buzz going on around them and it's this big machine that's operating. Like you say, the kind of show goes on. So it's it's really nice to be able to kind of paint a picture with that.

00;55;34;16 - 00;55;45;11
Jonny Dunning
So I think hopefully that will be they'll be interesting for people, whether they're in this industry as well, or whether they're operating other areas where still the same principles do actually apply.

00;55;45;13 - 00;56;11;09
Matt Mehler
Agree? Yeah. And then to bring that all back around, when you're having those productive conversations with all the parties, that's really when the empathy and trust gets built, right, because that now the business really feels like you're trying to help them ensure they're running their business. Right? Right. You're having those proactive conversations and you're adding value to them because if you weren't there doing that, they may be in a position where they have to be more reactionary because they don't have the time to do that productively.

00;56;11;09 - 00;56;32;15
Matt Mehler
Right? So when we think about the procurement function, we have to think about how we add value to the business to be to ensure the longevity of our roles and the value that we provide and utilizing that those systems and that technology allows you to be more agile and support the business properly so that they want to work with you, right?

00;56;32;15 - 00;56;42;21
Matt Mehler
That's what you're really fun. At the end of the day, you want the real collaboration where they want to work with you because you have the tools, the experience, the subject matter expertise to help them run their business.

00;56;42;23 - 00;56;50;29
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, and it's about them wanting to work with you, and it's also about the suppliers wanting to work with you as well, the best suppliers and wanting to go above and beyond. I love.

00;56;50;29 - 00;56;51;09
Matt Mehler
It. Right?

00;56;51;13 - 00;57;09;29
Jonny Dunning
We've got some clients that will come to us with like this is this is our challenge. How can you help us? I love that as an organization that we really love to get our teeth into that sort of thing. You know, it's how can we innovate what we're doing from a technology standpoint? How could we improve our service?

00;57;10;06 - 00;57;30;28
Jonny Dunning
How can we go above and beyond? How can we get our heads together and solve this problem? That alignment as a supplier is a great feeling. And, you know, it's not just about just just trying to watch the checks roll in, right? It's about feeling like you're delivering real value and that it's not a it's not completely one, it's not a one sided relationship.

00;57;30;28 - 00;57;55;24
Jonny Dunning
It's a collaboration to achieve a, you know, aligned objectives. And I know that can sound a little bit cheesy sometimes, and it depends how transactional the service is, what it is it being delivered. But the very essence of it, if you're if an organization is treating a supplier as a valued part, the overall team, you know, getting to that end point, if you can buy into that, I think it's extremely powerful.

00;57;55;24 - 00;58;10;28
Jonny Dunning
And I know certainly from my own experience, not just not just Tsavo, but other businesses I've worked for in the past, where as a supplier you feel like you're engaged. People within those companies will go above and beyond and they'll feel good doing it.

00;58;11;01 - 00;58;28;24
Matt Mehler
Great. Yeah, we saw a lot of that with the Sphere just because of our amazing of a project. It was you really felt everyone was vested in it. When everyone's vested in it, you get the best out of everybody, right? And you get the ultimate outcome. So it's a it's a really good point that you made that that's where true.

00;58;28;27 - 00;58;40;17
Matt Mehler
I'll say where it's truly optimized is when you bring that triangle together of the procurement function, the business and the supplier, and you're all aligned with your goals and you're supporting other brilliant stuff.

00;58;40;17 - 00;59;07;11
Jonny Dunning
So just to kind of wrap things up in terms of looking at the work that you're going to be addressing over, you know, at looking ahead to say, 2024, what are the kind of things that are really getting you excited to be able to look at getting your teeth into in terms of the type of organizations you can be working with, the type of challenges you're going to be kind of specifically trying to address what's what's what's kind of like on the horizon as far as you said.

00;59;07;13 - 00;59;26;00
Matt Mehler
I think it's a lot of what we're talking about here. There's really a shortage of of good labor in the procurement field, honestly. So so what I find the most in and it doesn't have to be in any of the categories or the type of industries. I got a lot of success in the financial industry with a large client.

00;59;26;00 - 01;00;06;02
Matt Mehler
Broadridge Financial. I just enjoy being a positive force for the procurement function, showing what the real functioning can do when done properly when going through the process the right way, and understanding the requirements of the business, understanding the culture, understanding what the industry has to offer that organization, and bringing that all together for the most value. Obviously, you know, cost savings is always a conversation in relation to it and sure, that can be a guiding light for for determining the value or the investment in the function because it always has to be.

01;00;06;04 - 01;00;51;23
Matt Mehler
I'm not trying to negate that. However, to me, the real the real fun in it is with the passion that I have for the function is just being a positive force that allows people to see what the function can be. So they want to have more procurement, they want to work more with procurement and bringing that best practice, that best in class strategic vision to the table and not that tactical, you know, more along the lines of of quick here you know get my savings in go and the more collaboration strategic vision and I see that's really 2024 is trying to up the game of procurement all the procurement now from experts that I follow

01;00;51;28 - 01;01;24;21
Matt Mehler
on LinkedIn and others it's all about how to to make the function more strategic in the future. I mean, I've seen as a practitioner over the last ten plus years, even at the Lefrak organization, we were able to do with the and it was a smaller midsize real estate company. They saw the vision in strategic procurement. But I would say even in the next 5 to 10 years, greater investment in technology and trying to leverage that for automation to do a lot of those, I'll say day to day tactical tasks.

01;01;24;21 - 01;01;40;04
Matt Mehler
And then ultimately around running the function is how do we add more value to the organization? And I think that's what you'll see continue to improve here. And then not just in 2024, but I would say the next 5 to 10 years.

01;01;40;07 - 01;02;00;14
Jonny Dunning
I love it. And I think, you know, talking about value doesn't take anything away from cost savings, but it's building on that. You know, cost savings is one dimensional value. It's the overall value to the business, whether it's, you know, in some cases even bringing in revenue or actually, you know, helping bring new products to market, it's bigger than just the cost savings.

01;02;00;14 - 01;02;23;02
Jonny Dunning
And I think that's the hurdle that, you know, some procurement organizations definitely need to get over. And I thoroughly agree with you on that. But listen, I really appreciate you taking the time to have this conversation. I really enjoyed it really interesting. And I love the fact your enthusiasm really comes across. And I think, you know, I know you do sports, sports coaching and stuff like that.

01;02;23;02 - 01;02;39;21
Jonny Dunning
And I you know, the the enthusiasm and the approach is clearly there's a good crossover there. It's about teams. It's about working together towards an objective on a you know, I think it's I think it's a really positive message. And yeah, I'm very grateful for for coming on having this conversation. Thanks very much.

01;02;39;24 - 01;02;47;12
Matt Mehler
Well, thank you again for the opportunity. Always enjoy it. And thanks again for your listeners for tuning in. Appreciate the time.

01;02;47;15 - 01;02;51;17
Jonny Dunning
Brilliant. Excellent stuff. Thanks again. And hopefully you can catch up again soon.

01;02;51;20 - 01;02;52;27
Matt Mehler
Great. Thanks, Jonny.


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