Down the Procurement Pub with Coupa, Tungsten, Etihad, and Little May

Coupa breakfastThis is the aftermath of the breakfast discussion yesterday at Balthazar in Covent Garden, organised by spend management software experts Coupa, at which we debated how public sector procurement can best meet the sometimes conflicting objectives of achieving value for money, remaining compliant to regulations, and supporting small, dynamic, innovative and local firms. The event saw some big hitters from university, health, central and local government getting into the discussion, helped along by the trenchant views of Stephen Allott, the Cabinet Office Crown Representative for SMEs. A very good breakfast, thanks to everyone who came and more on this next week.

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Tungsten announced a trading update yesterday, saying that revenues and results for the full year will be better than expected (but the bottom line will still be a hefty loss). “As a result of the higher revenues, losses will also narrow, according to the company, coming in below the predicted £31.2m. Uptake of Tungsten's services has been spurred by new electronic invoicing mandates that have been adopted by governments in Mexico, Brazil and Turkey.” Founder Edi Truell also claimed that using the firm’s analytics service, "We could save at least £100m for the NHS. After the furore of the election, that's something the Government should be focusing on." I suspect we will pick up on that again too.

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Very well done to Etihad Airways and their procurement team. They were named the overall winner at this year’s CIPS Middle East Awards. The Abu Dhabi airline won the prize for International Procurement Project of the Year, then got the top overall award at the fourth annual regional ceremony in Abu Dhabi this week. The full list of winners is here. Can I just say how much I admire Etihad, and of course I’m not just hinting about an upgrade for my next flight ...

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Here is a ridiculously specific job advert for a big and important procurement role. It is for the CPO at a national operator of transport infrastructure and you “will be empowered to take the key procurement decisions to establish a robust procurement strategy for the packaging of work packages for projects in excess of £1 billion under FIDIC and NEC forms of contract, establishing the optimum approach for procurement practices”. What do they want? “1st class Degree, MBA, and MCIPS qualified you will have an exceptional track record in the project management / procurement of large scale labour, plant, material contracts under supply and subcontract terms”. Why exactly are a “first class degree” and an MBA so important, pray tell me? And does a first class degree from some dodgy ex technical college outweigh a 2:1 in engineering from Cambridge, I wonder? What a daft advert, or maybe it is tailored for one particular candidate?

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Another random band that I had not come across previously, selected from the Reading Festival line up, and another that turn out to be rather excellent. Little May are from Australia. Might they be a bit laid back for the Festival Republic stage? Perhaps, but this is rather lovely.

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