Brian Farrington Ltd. moves into the Procurement Risk business

Happy Memories for CIPS Students?

Brian Farrington Ltd (BFL) is one of the world’s longest established procurement and supply chain consultancy and executive training specialists. They were established way back in 1978, when I were just a lad (?), and have worked with 33 FTSE 100 firms as well as leading organisations in North America, southern Africa and Asia. Farrington himself will be well known to many in the profession as the co-author of the classic book, “Purchasing and Supply Chain Management”, one of our profession’s standard reference and education works.

But the firm is now moving into a new area with a solution based around the very topical area of procurement and supply chain risk, and I met Stephen Ashcroft from the firm recently to talk about it. The product is called “PROCURISK™” and it is aimed at helping organisations make an objective assessment of where their own supply chain and procurement risk lies.  It is made up of a combination of an online assessment tool, which users can complete to receive a risk positioning status, plus the option of consulting-type support from BFL to verify the assessment or get more involved in the evaluation and in developing actions.

PROCURISK™ has twelve “carefully designed and structured areas of Procurement & Supply Chain risk, including financial risks”. These cover an impressively broad scope, namely:

  • Contract Risks
  • Financial Risks
  • Supply Market Risks
  • Supplier Relationship Management Risks
  • IT Systems Support Risks
  • Procurement Dependency Risks
  • Intellectual Property Risks
  • Pricing Decision Risks
  • Vendor Risks
  • Procurement Performance Visibility Risks
  • Intellectual Capital Risks
  • Contract Management Risks

Supply Chain Risk is one of those topics where we perceive that there is more heat than light. Everybody talks about it, yet few organisations really carry though procurement risk analysis and action to the point that it would stand up to real scrutiny. Common issues include identifying areas of concern but then not putting the effort into how to mitigate, eliminate – or indeed accept – those risks.

Stephen Ashcroft

And Ashcroft pointed out another classic which really hit home to me, as I suspect I’ve been guilty of it in the past. He talked about procurement functions that have a risk register which includes “hurricane in West Africa” as a risk, but doesn’t include “we don’t know about all the contracts our organisation has in place”.

In other words, external risks which might have serious consequences, but where the probability of the event is low, and the effective mitigation may be limited, get a lot of time and attention. Meanwhile  issues that are far more likely to actually cause problems, and where some strong and positive response may actually lie largely within procurement’s control, are ignored or relegated in the priority list.

We’ll come back to the product next week and take a more detailed look, but in the meantime you can find more details here of what looks like a worthwhile and interesting new tool for procurement practitioners.

Voices (9)

  1. MG Man:

    I was also led to the paths of procurement wisdom by Brian Farrington, as well as Paul Steele.
    What a double act!

  2. stephen ashcroft:

    The Guitar Man, Brian grimaced – or perhaps smiled wistfully; Im not sure which. He would, however, welcome contact.

  3. stephen ashcroft:

    Take 2, thanks for your helpful suggestion to research LinkedIn re our genuine attempt to ‘crowd source’ contact with Peter (not, sadly, the Pete you spotted). Our expertise is in procurement, any social media gurus are warmly invited to support us in our search for Peter ;-).

    Meantime here is a short video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJwFqrDzBK4&feature=relmfu

    1. The Guitar Man:

      stephen, Do send my best wishes to Brian – Memories of the ‘Home Office’ days!

  4. Take2:

    Hmmm

    Is the Pete Baldwin at Glaxo you’re referring to above on Linked In:

    uk.linkedin.com/pub/pete-baldwin/6/594/4b1

    I hesitate to say this, because I’m guessing your request was a casual afterthought, but as a ‘leading consultancy’ shouldn’t you have this at your fingertips as first port of call when researching companies and the people working for them?

  5. Brian Farrington:

    Thank you, Guitar Man and Phoenix. Brian remains active in the business and we continue to provide specialised training and consultancy services for a wide range of sectors. We are innovative and solve many difficult problems. Risk is our latest initiative, having had clients experience nightmares in their supply chain. Best wishes to all our friends and by the way – does anyone out there know the whereabouts of Peter Baldwin (Ex Glaxo)?

  6. Phoenix:

    Is Brian himself still operating? I remember being trained by Brian back in the eighties. He was a big inspiration.

  7. The Guitar Man:

    Happy memories indeed. Brian is a great man, taught me everything I know about procurement (along with Paul Ellis- now at PA) – a procurement legend. First class outfit and best wishes to them!

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