ProcureCon Facilities – Highlights from WBR’s First Facilities Conference for Procurement Professionals.

On January 22nd, I had the great privilege and honor to attend and speak at WBR’s ProcureCon Facilities conference.  The event was a two day affair held at the Marriott North in Fort Lauderdale Florida.

World Business Research (WBR) hosted the event bringing together speakers and attendees from around the country.  There were even a few international attendees present which was surprising for an inaugural event.

You can learn more about WBR in this article.

I participated in the conference in two ways.  First I moderated Day one’s keynote panel and second I led a construction think tank session where I shared two case studies.

It was a great experience which afforded me the opportunity to make connections with several key individuals and showcase my industry knowledge in design and construction.

Besides being a great opportunity to connect with my procurement peers, there were a number of learnings and take-aways I wanted to share with you.

Request for Solutions

On Day one, Bob Steinhagen from SDI taught us how to make less prescriptive solicitations that promote vendor solutioning.

Bob offered a great perspective on a solicitation method he referred to as a “Request for Solution”.  This outcome based solution is a solicitation method that allows the Vendor to propose how to achieve the outcome desired in any way they chose.  According to Bob, this solicitation method offers the benefits of; greater flexibility for the service providers, greater potential cost efficiencies, and a process driven towards subject matter experts.

Recently online retail giant Amazon released a solicitation that echoes Bob’s presentation.  Their Amazon HQ2 RFP invites “states, provinces and metro areas to coordinate with relevant jurisdictions to submit one (1) RFP for your MSA”.  Amazon’s solicitation offers little in the way of detail about what they are looking for except to say they have a preference for; “Metropolitan areas with more than one million people, A stable and business-friendly environment, Urban or suburban locations with the potential to attract and retain strong technical talent, Communities that think big and creatively when considering locations and real estate options”

Amazon goes on to say, “HQ2 could be, but does not have to be: An urban or downtown campus, A similar layout to Amazon’s Seattle campus, A development-prepped site. We want to encourage states/provinces and communities to think creatively for viable real estate options, while not negatively affecting our preferred timeline.”

Although Amazon refers to it’s solicitation as a Request for Proposal, I think Bob’s phrase Request for Solution more accurately reflects their approach.

Fast Track Campus

Also on Day one, John Froschauer from Toyota North America showed us how a fast-track delivery reduced a 5 year construction schedule to 3 years.

Fast track projects are one of the most complex to manage.  I would be hard pressed to recommend fast track for a single building let alone a whole campus, but John demonstrated that with the right team it can be done elegantly.

Check out this article on Fast Track projects for more information.

Real Estate Assessments

On day two of the conference, Jill Zunshine gave us a glimpse into the selection criteria Hewlett Packard uses to make go/no go decisions in their Real Estate portfolio.

Jill shared her experiences travelling to all of the active and surplus sites in HP’s portfolio.  She showed us her key evaluation criteria and how she used KT analysis to help determine when a site should be liquidated and when a site should be held.

It was an exciting glimpse into the world of Real Estate.

Winning Over Stakeholders

A keynote panel on day two consisting of Michele Thompson of Thomson Reuters, Jeff Craig from General Electric, John Castelhano from Brookfield Global, and Katrina Holloway from Home Depot, shared war stories of how they won over “prickly” stakeholder by prioritizing the business needs over cost savings.

One of the biggest challenges all procurement professionals seem to have in common is how to engage with their stakeholders.  Michelle, Jeff, John, and Katrina offered differing perspectives with practical advice for anyone struggling with unfriendly stakeholders.

Future of Office Planning

In a break-out session on Day two, Jeff Sklar Chief Procurement Officer for HUB International led us through a discussion on the future of Office Planning.

An intimate group of 12 to 15 shared various trends and insights from a number of organizations experimenting with concepts such as hoteling, benching, and sit/stand desks.  The group discussed how certain challenges were addressed and how users enjoyed each solution.


ProcureCon Facilities was a great event.  It was great to connect with so many of my peers and to glean insights into the mutual challenges we all share.

I also had the great honor of being a presenter at this event.  I will share more detail on that in a future post.  For now I just wanted to share with you my most memorable moments.

If you attended ProcureCon Facilities, I would love to hear what your favorite moments were.  If you did not attend, tell me if you are planning on attending next year.

Thanks for reading.  If you enjoyed this content, please feel free to browse my previous articles and please like, share, comment, and subscribe.  This helps promote my content and is greatly appreciated.


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