BravoSolution Real World Sourcing Winner – and a Seasonal Paper for you

Last night, at the Gauthier restaurant in London’s Soho, we celebrated the BravoSolution Real World Sourcing series 2014 with the leading contenders for the annual scholarship, kindly awarded by Bravo to the delegate who achieved the highest scores in our post-event “tests” across the year.

And the winner was Sue Weston, Head of Procurement for Jisc and a thoughtful and positive contributor to the series, so well done to her. She gets the giant cheque from BravoSolution for £2,500 to be spent on training and development activities of her choice. And watch out for news soon about the Real World series for 2015.

The last of this year’s briefings a couple of weeks ago saw Guy Allen and I explaining to a stunned audience the deep hidden procurement meaning behind the “Twelve Procurement Days of Christmas” song. We’re delighted to say that a short (but perfectly formed) Paper is now available on the same topic, and you can download it here, free on registration.

We have tried to combine a bit of humour with some serious procurement messages, and hope it will get you thinking, whether you’re a beginner in procurement or a grizzled veteran of numerous negotiations and cost reduction initiatives. Here’s an extract to whet your appetite, taken from the introduction and first section of the paper.


 The Twelve Procurement Days of Xmas

Many of you will know the old traditional Christmas song, the Twelve Days of Christmas. Its origins are lost in the mists of time, but what very few people realise is the purpose behind the song. ..

But now, after years of research, Spend Matters and BravoSolution can bring you the truth. It wasn’t written to accompany a pagan fertility rite, or to remind Christians of key stories from the Bible. In fact, it was written as a training course for procurement people, aimed (in a very forward thinking manner) at both new starters it the profession and key budget holders or stakeholders in spending organisations.

Yes, long before the days of category management, CIPS, ISM or even Spend Matters, people were interested in improving procurement performance. And this song taught them pretty much all they needed to know about our profession. So, let’s analyse and explain just what we mean.

On the First Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a Partridge in a Pear Tree

What is the very first principle of procurement – critical for budget holder and buyer? Surely it is simply to know and understand what you are buying. We must ensure we have a robust and clear specification, describing what we want well enough that the supplier understands and we get what we really want and need.

So what good is this half-baked specification? What sort of a partridge? Wikipedia lists no less than 15 different genus of partridge, and no less than 46 species, from Szechenyi's Monal-Partridge to the chestnut-headed partridge (lovely roasted over an open fire...)

And don’t even get me started on pear trees. And is the partridge dead or alive? How big is the tree? Or the partridge for that matter. Is this a weird Heston Blumenthal edible main course to be served in his restaurant maybe, with a 6 inch high edible pear tree made out of turnip?

Get the specification right – rule one for our Christmas procurement training course.


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