The UK/Europe Category

Efficio Panel Debate: Good Banter, Robot Jokes and 3 Points About the Future of Procurement

Last week in London I participated in one of the livelier and more spirited panel debates on the future of procurement (skills, technology and more) in recent memory. The event, held at Efficio’s offices Thursday to mark the release of its latest report, “Procurement 2025: Is Digital Transformation Driving More Effective Procurement,” included not only a handful of esteemed panelists and facilitators from the procurement/CPO, consulting and academic ranks, but also a robot — which led to many robotic process automation jokes throughout the discourse. If Efficio does something like this again, ask them for an invitation — you won’t be disappointed!

Here are three points that stuck in my mind from the different panel discussions and chats that I had.

Interview with Malcolm Harrison, CIPS New CEO (Part 3 — Will artificial intelligence wipe out procurement?)

CIPS’ leader Malcolm Harrison says the professional organization is concerned for the future of procurement workers as “more work is ‘outsourced’ to technology.” Harrison, speaking in an interview with Spend Matters UK’s veteran procurement expert Peter Smith, was asked if artificial intelligence (AI) will wipe out procurement. “My view is there will always be events that happen that haven’t happened before — we will still need people to make those judgements based on new facts and situations,” Harrison says in this third and final installment. “But one of my concerns is this: How do we ensure we develop judgement skills in the profession?”

Join the Coupa Webinar Tomorrow to Learn About Community Intelligence

Spend Matters UK’s procurement veteran Peter Smith on Tuesday will join Coupa’s John Callan for a webinar in the UK about developments in community intelligence, the idea of driving benefits through a community of organizations that are each buying separately but look to collaborate in some way.

Leading procurement/spend management firm Coupa is hosting tomorrow’s event, “Community Intelligence — A Procurement Revolution.” The time of the webinar was changed to accommodate the North American audience, so sign up here and join the 45-minute session at 9 a.m. Central time (3 p.m. UK time), and bring your questions about community intelligence.

“Advances in technology, driven by firms like Coupa, are increasing the potential for benefits from it, making it a significant tool for procurement and one which we believe procurement leaders need to understand,” Smith says in a preview of the event.

Interview with Malcolm Harrison, CIPS New CEO (Part 2 — Growth, Change and the U.S.)

Spend Matters UK's interview with new CIPS leader Malcolm Harrison continues with a focus on the professional organization's short-term and long-term plans.

"We must remain relevant to the UK," Harrison says, "but many organizations who employ our members are very interested in what CIPS can do outside the UK — we were invited into the U.S., for example."

Harrison also digs into the institute's strategy to serve its core membership in the UK while also making tough decisions about leadership that can help it expand in other countries. For example, the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply recently decided to not appoint a new president when the previous term expired. 

"As we get more international and diverse, it is hard to see that one person can fulfill all the needs," Harrison says.

Procurement veteran Peter Smith, of Spend Matters UK, recently sat down with Harrison to catch up on his first 100 days or so in office.

In Part 1, the interview looked at CIPS' commercial focus. This installment of the three-part series focuses on the future.

"You know the saying 'a tree is either growing or dying' — there is no steady state," Harrison says. "I feel that way about CIPS, we have to move forward and change."

Interview with Malcolm Harrison, CIPS New CEO (Part 1 – Commercial)

Malcolm Harrison took over as CEO for the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) in the summer, and he promised an interview with Spend Matters UK/EU to talk about his first “100 days” or so. Spend Matters' Peter Smith, a former CIPS president, recently caught up for a chat about where the organization is going with its certification programs, its commercial work and more. "I do feel that we may not have the balance quite right in terms of our commercial activities and the core purpose of supporting the profession and our members," Harrison said. "I have some sympathy with the view I’ve heard that 'CIPS has got too commercial.' ” Read the first of the three-part series here.

Five Reasons Why Tradeshift Would Acquire Basware [PRO]

Monday afternoon, Bloomberg reported that Tradeshift, a procure-to-pay provider and marketplace enabler, was behind the unsolicited offer to acquire Basware, a Europe-based procure-to-pay provider. The offer raises the obvious question: How would two similar companies — in terms of product overlap — benefit from joining forces? And more specifically, what’s in it for Tradeshift?

This Spend Matters PRO research brief attempts to answer these questions, exploring five reasons why a vendor with what first appears to be a near identical product footprint to Basware would consider such a move to bring the two together. Hint: There’s likely more to the proposed transaction than what appears on the surface (i.e., market consolidation, valuation arbitrage).

Note: A subsequent SolutionMap Insider subscriber analysis will provide insight into how both providers stack up based on the latest Q3 SolutionMap benchmark for Invoice-to-Pay.

Retailers’ Supply Chains Not Prepared for Brexit: Survey

The majority of UK retailers say their supply chains are not prepared for a Brexit and many expect it to have negative impacts on their organization, according to a recent survey conducted by Barclays. Retailers cited supply chain cost increases, import price fluctuations and potential labor shortages as possible ways Britain's departure from the European Union would negatively impact their company.

Does ‘Open Book’ Help or Hurt the Public Procurement Contract Process? [Plus+]

Let me start off with a disclaimer: Yes, this article focuses on the public sector in the UK. But, if you are outside the UK and not in the public sector, do not despair! I promise this does have relevance to you and will, hopefully, still be interesting, regardless of whatever branch of procurement you work in. One thing the UK has definitely done right is tried a lot of different procurement ideas and has probably been an early adopter in many areas. That includes bringing private sector expertise into public procurement, collaborative buying initiatives, use of category management processes, outsourcing complex services delivered to the citizen or adoption of some aspects of e-procurement. Currently, one of the hot topics for UK public procurement is whether public sector contracts should habitually make more use of “open book” contractual provisions. We discuss what “open book” means, if it is necessary and the pros and cons of it.

Catching Up With Coupa in London – Exploring UK and European P2P Adoption and Customer Trends [PRO]

Earlier this month in London, Spend Matters UK Chief Research Officer and Managing Director Peter Smith and I had the chance to catch up with 2 representatives from Coupa Software who are leading the company’s charge in the UK and Europe. We talked to Alex Kleiner, general manager of EMEA, and Ronan Kerouedan, regional vice president of solutions consulting EMEA and APAC, of Coupa about the history and state of the source-to-pay (S2P) market within the UK and European Union as well as the differences in how US and European companies look at acquiring purchase-to-pay (P2P) solutions, what they prioritize and about the SI/consulting ecosystem. We also heard a general update on Coupa’s traction in the region. This Spend Matters PRO research note will be of use to procurement practitioners on both sides of the pond, to understand relative priorities for transactional procurement systems and also the varying selection approaches, as well as the consultants and providers serving each market.

Rough Seas Ahead for the Greek Shipping Industry

The financial crisis in Greece has taken a hit on the country’s shipping industry. Shippers are stuck at bay, unable to purchase fuel. Producers are finding it harder to fulfill purchase orders and to even access the cash needed to continue operating. Spend Matters has rounded up the latest news on the shipping industry and how the debt crisis has already taken its toll on the supply chain. And be sure to stay tuned to the Spend Matters Network for continued coverage on how the Greek debt crisis is impacting the larger industry.

Best of Spend Matters Network – Week of June 1 [Plus+]

Welcome back to another edition of the Spend Matters Network roundup, where we give you the most noteworthy articles from the week published around our websites. Spend Matters has in-depth coverage from Coupa Inspire, Spend Matters UK introduces it "hot topic" for the month of June: tail spend management, and Public Spend Forum Europe offers insights from the recent e-public procurement conference in Porto. MetalMiner shares expert insight on rare earth, steel and aluminum prices and Trade Financing Matters discusses the White House's SupplierPay initiative. Check all the articles out here!

China’s Freight System Future: Is a High-Speed Rail Possible?

Next month, the Chinese will be celebrating its new year with Spanish wine, olive oil and ham, sent to China from Madrid on the world’s now longest rail route. The Eurasia rail link stretches more than 8,100 miles from the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu to Madrid, Spain. The route, which is longer than the Trans-Siberian railway and the Orient Express, also has stops in various European and Asian countries including Poland, Germany and Russia along the way. The rail line has been dubbed China’s “New Silk Road,” and one source called it “the project of the new century” and “the greatest trade story” the world will see for the next 10 years. But, China may be setting it sights even higher, aiming for a high-speed freight train in the future.