Is the UK more risk averse than the rest of Europe?

Paul Smith is trying to define where procurement ends and the rest of the business begins…

Paul Smith YPO

Paul Smith is the procurement and supply director of YPO (the largest public sector buying organisation in England). Previously, Paul has spent 21 years working in the private sector.

Read more about Paul here.

Our #firstmovers series profiles those members who we feel truly embody Procurious, and go to show just how “rich” and global our network is becoming.

Procurious asks: How do you think procurement differs in your country, as opposed to elsewhere in the world?

Paul: I don’t think the fundamentals of Procurement differ between countries, there is lots of overlap. I have worked in multiple industries and currently work in the public sector having worked the previous 21 years in the private sector, so I understand that there are plenty of differences from one organisation to the next and from one sector to the next.

Thinking about my most recent experience in the UK public sector, I get the impression that we are more risk averse than some of our European colleagues and that rules are more stringently applied. I don’t believe that this is a result of the attitude of the buyer rather it is the increasingly litigious nature of the supplier base who, emboldened by European remedies directive, are more willing to test that processes have been properly applied if they fail to win business.

Having said that, I don’t always think that this is a problem, we should ensure that public money is always spent in a fair and transparent way. I would just prefer a more commercial and flexible approach that achieved great outcomes whilst protecting public money.

Procurious: Do you know how many other procurement professionals are in your country?

Paul: No. There are many thousands (probably hundreds of thousands). It is becoming increasingly difficult to define where procurement ends and where the rest of the business begins. I know of many CIPS qualified people who do procurement work but are not in the procurement department and don’t have it in their job title.

Procurious: Are you usually an early adopter? (Perhaps you’ve been a “first mover” with something else…)

Paul: I guess so. I like technology and have always been interested in social networks. I think I ran one of the first e-auctions in the UK when the electricity market was being deregulated in the early 90s.

I am great believer in how technology will transform business and believe that we’ve hardly begun to see the impact on procurement.

Procurious: Why did you join our network?

Paul: As I said I am particularly interested in social networks and one aimed at my profession is of real interest to me.

How did you find out about Procurious?

Paul: I think I read about it in Supply Management. I guess you got a few new users via that article.

Procurious: What are you hoping to get out of the network?

Paul: There is real value in sharing knowledge and connecting with good people and I hope that the network will help me to do that. 

Procurious: Are you going to invite your peers?

Paul: I already have and a number have signed up.

Meet our other #firstmovers:
Harold (Hal) Good
Farshad Bahmed
Sergio Giordano

Never say “game over”

The electrical equipment manufacturer Cressall has shared this inspirational story of Simon Marston with us, and how he managed to bring an almost-forgotten technology back to life.

Virtuality machine by Simon Marston

Some technologies never take off. It’s the way of the world. Whatever happened, for example, to hovercrafts – the favourite transportation method of Sir Sean Connery’s James Bond? The technology world is full of inventions that never made it big, often because they were too ahead of their time. Take the example of the Leicester-manufactured Virtuality machine, a precursor of the Oculus Rift.

For all the nostalgics out there, Simon has restored two Virtuality machines and made them available to the general public. One of the machines can be seen at the Retro Computer Museum in Leicester (UK).

In the early 90s, the main purpose of the Virtuality technology, was gaming; amazing, never-before-seen video games that allowed you to completely immerse yourself in a fictional universe. The machine completely captured Simon’s imagination during his days at college.

Years later, when Simon had the opportunity to purchase his own VR machine, he just couldn’t resist it. He spent months chasing long-lost information and invested significant financial resources to make his VR 1000 series functional again. At first, he tried to find the necessary information online, but to no avail. While some people seemed to remember the technology, none had insight about its internal workings.

The main problem was caused by the old screens, which were broken and couldn’t be replaced, because they were obsolete. Simon decided the best solution was to convert video signals from the VR machine into a new generation screen. His attempt was successful, meaning he could once again play some of his favourite arcade games.

So what is the purpose of this quest? Simon’s love of retro technology and his understanding of how people react to it are only two of the reasons he refused to believe the game was over for Virtuality, when most people had all but forgotten about it.

Follow Simon’s example and seize every opportunity – never let your dreams die, instead make them a living, breathing, reality.

How to build your Procurious network quickly and easily

Build your network on Procurious.com

Visit Procurious.com today and you might notice something new… We’ve introduced a number of big changes that will both help you build your network – and grow Procurious in the same breath.

One of the most popular asks has been invites by email – before, you were limited to just approaching those on LinkedIn (not ideal). We’re pleased to announce that you are now able to invite your colleagues and peers directly via email. Plus we’ve added the ability to sort and filter your LinkedIn contacts.

To get started, just click the big green ‘Build Your Network’ button – you can find this in the same place, across every page on the site.

Let’s run through the tools on offer:

Search LinkedIn on Procurious

Filter your LinkedIn contacts

‘Invite via LinkedIn’ works just as before – only this time you are able to search on the fly and filter people with just a couple of key presses.

Note: any contacts already a part of your Procurious network are easily identified by a green Procurious icon.

Below the search area you are able to customize a message to send to the contacts you wish to invite.

Invite contacts to Procurious by email

Invite via email

We expect this to be a popular addition to the site!

Click the ‘Invite by email’ button to begin writing a message to those contacts not on LinkedIn. Just enter your friend’s email address in the box specified (remembering to separate each one with a comma). Hit ‘Send invitations’ when done.

Filter your contacts

More powerful networking 

The Build Your Network page has also had a overhaul.

Now you are able to view the entire Procurious network, and filter members by country, industry, and category.

When you find a member you want to add to your network, click ‘Add to network’, then sit back and wait for them to accept.

Share a personal invite

If you don’t want to use any of the aforementioned invitation methods then why not send a personalized link to Procurious instead?

Just copy the link provided and share it via a method of your choosing (Twitter, Facebook, G+, personal email etc.)

One final thing…

We’ve tinkered around with member profiles – now when visiting a profile, the first thing you will see is the ‘My story’ page.  So we encourage you to fill this out and allow other members to learn a bit more about you.

Follow @Procurious_ on Twitter
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Former U.S. President Clinton launches peanut supply chain in Haiti

Bill Clinton creates new peanut supply chain in Haiti. Image Wikipedia

Although we’re talking peanuts, there’s nothing nutty about our top story…. Also on our weekly smorgasbord, Coca Cola (and partners) look towards Africa, and a ruling by the FAA means Amazon’s drone delivery programme may never get off the ground…

A supply chain with no allergies

The former U.S. President – together with Canadian philanthropist Frank Giustra – have announced a new enterprise that will provide help to roughly 12,000 small farmers in Haiti.

It is hoped that the Acceso Peanut Enterprise Corporation will help to improve nut yields in coming years.

Clinton said the idea is to “empower farmers to meet the nutritional needs of people.” The project has potential to “scale up Haiti’s peanut supply chain to meet the growing regional demand for peanuts without relying on imports,” Giustra said.

Via Associated Press

Procurement Skills (Global)

  • In the second part of the summary of ‘Skills for the Modern Procurement Pro’, seven final skills have been identified by CPOs for procurement professionals
  • The full list totals 14 skills including Operational Procurement, Supply Risk Management and Leveraging Technology to Drive Business Value

Read more at CPO Rising

Making Procurement Work

  • Raconteur offers their top ten pointers for procurement professionals
  • Their infographic covers both the skills that procurement professionals should be focusing on, as well as tips on how to link corporate and procurement objectives

Read more at Raconteur

Innovation (Europe)

  • The Public Procurement of Innovation Platform has published an online guide to increase subject knowledge of innovation in public procurement
  • The guide is aimed at providing procedures, definitions, answers to common questions to enable stakeholders to engage in innovation in public procurement

Contract Audit (UK)

  • The UK National Audit Office (NAO) has questioned the early award of eight contracts worth £16.6bn for renewable energy projects
  • The NAO believe that the early award was unnecessary and may have cost UK taxpayers more in the long term

Medicine in Africa

  • Coca Cola and its partners, the US Agency for International Development, the Global Fund and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, plan to invest $21 million to get medicine to remote parts of Africa
  • The scheme provides support to government agencies managing the procurement and distribution of medicines and vaccines, from the private sector to forecast demand, ensure availability and maintain cold chain equipment

Read more at Supply Management


Procurement in the Cloud

  • Phillip Allouche, the Global Head of Procurement Solutions at Xchanging, provides some insights as to why procurement technology is moving to the Cloud
  • Amongst other benefits, CPOs are now seeing a significant reduction in the cost of hosting technology applications in the Cloud, alongside a reduction in risk

Read more at Cloud Computing Intelligence

Supply Chain Risk Management

  • 76% of organisations in a recent Accenture survey have identified supply chain risk management as either important or very important
  • The top three sources of risks were identified as information technology, cost and pricing factors and the global economy
  • Analysis revealed three tips for a high ROI in risk management as making risk management a priority, centralising responsibility for risk management and investing aggressively in risk management

Read more at Supply Chain 24/7 


People Management

  • Good managers will look beyond the ‘usual suspects’ when promoting internally or pulling task forces together
  • The article looks at how managers can expand their talent pool to get results and reduce ‘bottlenecks’ in resourcing

Read more at Harvard Business Review

Mobile Procurement

  • Organisations need to make sure that they are in a position to move into the international market before they do so
  • Mobile procurement platforms can be used to assist in this process and to connect with suppliers across borders

Read more at Spend Matters

Supply Chain Delivery

  • The FAA (USA) have officially clarified that the commercial use of drones is illegal, including for the delivery of packages for a fee
  • This may throw a spanner in the works of Amazon’s plans to use drones for deliveries around the US, as currently this would fall under these regulations

Read more at Mashable

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