Busy client work and Austin City Limits

Hi everyone,

I’ve had a busy and exciting few months with client work. I had a couple of long-term situations as the “CD” (content director) for teams. The CD is typically an expert—like me—who spends significant time with a team and/or clients to teach and direct them on the said topic—in my case, procurement. One of my CD experiences was with a retailer on the West Coast: I spent several days with the client doing store visits and addressing all sorts of indirect spend categories, from floor care to security guards. Most people probably don’t think about these details when they walk into a store, but I do, even when I’m not working!

More recently, I was involved in a post-merger situation for one of my clients who were considering another potential engagement. I was on the ground with them for a full week and really got to understand their procurement spending in a very detailed way. We now have a consulting team working with the client and I am acting as one of engagement directors. It’s exciting to see this sort of continuity, from working on the proposal to actually leading the team.

I’ve spent a good amount of time conducting capability building programs for clients. I recently acted as a core facilitator on a major training program, where we ran several multi-day workshops for 20-30 clients each across three locations in the US. I also did a few speaking engagements for clients addressing packaging and sourcing trends in CPG. We are continuously refreshing and improving our client capability building programs and materials, which is a big time commitment—but definitely worth it, as these are very valuable sessions for our clients.

Overall I’ve been doing a lot more client development work in recent months. This work is similar to that of our Associate Partner role, where you bring your knowledge to the client and figure out how you can best help them. This is interesting and fun—and since I’m in a knowledge expert role, much more content driven, which is right up my alley. I love bringing my procurement expertise and category work to clients and helping them improve their situations.

Guest lecturing at Michigan

I’ve also been keeping very busy on the knowledge side. As I mentioned in my last post, I was on a team for our firm’s New Ventures Competition (NVC), and we made it to the finals but were not a winner. Our idea was a structured procurement contract review from a commercial perspective. Our idea may still gain traction outside of the NVC, so I’m not sharing any more information!

Also, I’m writing a white paper with two other colleagues—a retail Partner and an Associate Partner— and we’re hoping to publish it early next year, stay tuned! I have also been involved in re-launching Cleansheet Solution, one of the products offered through McKinsey Solutions. I’m actively working with the solution team to integrate some of our category expertise into the client-ready solution.

My shirt, signed by AWOLNATION and The Wombats!

On another note, I did a really fun external event at the University of Michigan—I was the guest lecturer for an undergraduate marketing class called “E-Tailing and Retailing.” I addressed the future of procurement in retailing, focusing on digitization. The professor used to work with one of my PhD classmates back in Germany, which is how we got connected. It was a lot of fun. (Are any of you readers taking this class?!)

Enjoying Austin City Limits with a friend

On a personal note, I recently went to the Austin City Limits festival with a colleague, which was a ton of fun. We saw several live performances, including Radiohead, The Wombats and AWOLNATION. I got The Wombats and AWOLNATION to sign my t-shirt (see photo). In a few weeks I’m going home to Europe, but instead of staying in Germany, my family will spend the holidays in Lipno, Czech Republic. I’m really looking forward to some skiing, snowboarding, Bohemian food, and relaxing with my loved ones. Enjoy the holiday season!