Tuesday 29 July 2014

Generation Y: An Untouched Procurement Goldmine?

As my internship with BravoSolution comes to an end and the fear of going back to complete my final year of uni (and writing that dreaded economics dissertation) shifts ever closer to becoming a reality, I thought I would reflect on my time in procurement.

If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be working in the procurement industry, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Why? It wasn’t something I knew much about, nor was it an industry I’d ever really considered pursuing a career in.

And that got me thinking... was I the only one who felt like this?

Monday 28 July 2014

For Sale: 898,893 miles, One Lady Owner (HM The Queen)...

By Sarah Kingdom-Evans

Last week I was lucky enough to be on Portsmouth quayside to witness HMS Illustrious returning home for the very last time. Crowds lined the port to welcome the warship, which will retire after 32 years of service and we were also treated to a military aircraft flypast (it turns out that Richard, our MD, is quite the helicopter spotter!)

Thursday 24 July 2014

Malaysia Airlines - The Last Straw?

By Paul Sarjeant

As a frequent flyer, I like to keep track of the main global airlines and their successes and failures. At the end of 2013, I read that Malaysia Airlines had posted their 3rd successive year of financial losses totalling over £770 million. Even though they are majority owned by the Malaysian Government, it was obvious that they were struggling. Competing against the low-cost airlines was proving a challenge, and they were looking at new ways of cutting costs to try to please us, the customers.

Their biggest move was to initiate a programme designed to rationalise their routes, scrapping infrequent routes such as Cape Town and Rome in favour of their bread and butter. The expectation was for the company to break even in 2014 for the first time in over 4 years.

What happened next might just have damaged the reputation of an airline I once trusted forever.

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Manchester United: How Much is the Shirt Worth?

The perfect example of a football club with an excellent business vision is Manchester United. They have prioritised securing long term success via strategic partnerships and clever business rather than a short term quick fix (Spurs post-Bale cash splash on mediocre solutions).

Even prior to the latest Adidas deal they could consider themselves up there with the top dogs, receiving £25 million a year from Nike. Only Real Madrid and Chelsea had a better kit deal.

Thursday 17 July 2014

Single Male Buyer Seeks Female Procurement Professional for Tender Related Activities

By Steven Low

I have just figured something out. We procurement professionals should be absolutely awesome at online dating. Yup, there should be no reason why there are any single buyers out there. Get online and work your amazing procurement skills and net yourself that perfect man or woman that you clearly deserve.

You are now thinking I am clearly a little mad but bear with me... I’m sure my theory is sound!

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Spend Analytics and Benchmarking - Part 2

At the recent BravoConnect conference, I attended a session in which a diverse audience of procurement professionals was challenged to find ways of achieving cost savings within the NHS.

Reviewing some of the high level reports, our table immediately started proposing actions. For example, several major categories showed only a minority of spend going through top vendors, reflecting an opportunity for rationalisation. In many common categories, it was said, there was no excuse for not buying centrally. Even where a large body of small vendors is unavoidable, for example in the case of local medical consultants operating independently, our table proposed that the NHS should seek to classify services and standardise rates on a national scheme.

Wednesday 9 July 2014

What the Heck is SRM? - Part 2

By Paras Sood

So continuing with my supplier relationship management self-discovery...

It’s apparent that procurement organisations are all in different phases of SRM implementation e.g. some will have established programmes, others won’t even have SRM on the radar. In fact, research commissioned by Procurement Leaders global intelligence group suggests that up to 76% of organisations make use of SRM practices (this was actually more than I was expecting). And as mentioned in my previous blog, the definition of SRM is up for interpretation dependent on the needs of the organisation, reiterating the fragmented starting points in the SRM rat race.

But for now, I’ll try to concentrate on the as-is position before we get into bluey-grey sky strategic thinking...

Tuesday 8 July 2014

Spend Analytics and Benchmarking - Part 1

At the recent BravoConnect conference, I attended a session led by Scott Pryde, which explored the role of Spend Analytics and Benchmarking, with a focus on Public Sector Healthcare. The audience was highly diverse, representing 41 organisations from industries ranging from waste management to luxury goods.

The presentation began with an introduction which felt like it could have fitted in almost any topic. Technology is a disruptive force, we were told. Smartphones are now everywhere. For example, with a nod to the healthcare emphasis, a wide range of social fitness apps are available, which monitor your running or cycling speed and distance, and sometimes even your heart rate. Increasingly users are sharing their results with friends and colleagues. That’s all very well- I’m a recent adopter of such an app myself- but what has it got to do with Spend Analytics?

Thursday 3 July 2014

The Conflicting Priorities of the Modern Procurement Professional

By Steven Low

2014 is not an easy year to be a Procurement Professional. Gone are the days of locking the meeting room door and not letting the poor supplier leave until you got what you wanted (did that ever happen?). 

Nowadays, procurement is such a lever to the outside world – one which every organisation needs to deal with to be successful. This has meant that you and your fellow professionals now have to comprehend and make sense of the most amazing amount of priorities, many of them conflicting.

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Back to Work and Ready for Gold!

By Jennifer Whelan

I sat down the other day and wondered where the last 12 months have gone. It’s been a little over 12 months since I returned to work following a year of maternity leave. Prior to going on maternity leave, knowing no different, I had the notion that I would be back to work within a few months... wow how wrong was I!

I took my full year off and cherished every moment I had with my son. Nevertheless the time was fast approaching for me to return to work. Feeling quite nervous, I wondered how or (perhaps more crucially) if I could balance my family and professional life. Numerous concerns were at the forefront of my mind; would I get my confidence back? Could I settle back into the team? Could I give the same commitment to my job that I did before? Could I give the same commitment to my son that I had done?