Down the Procurement Pub with Craig Lardner, Abellio, Vroomi and Twin Peaks

A busy week, with Jason Busch in London briefly. But I started with lunch on Monday with Craig Lardner, the current CIPS President, to catch up with him as he approaches the end of his year in office. He had travelled from home in Australia to the UK for CIPS business, and rather than the pints of lager the cliché would suggest, he we was drinking Bitters, Lime and Lemonade, an Aussie favourite apparently, as he was heading off to a multiple CIPS branch meeting later that afternoon. And we'll have more on his amazing year shortly.

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Dave S band Oct 14And if anyone is wondering what has become of the previous but one CIPS President in his retirement (that's from his day job at least), last weekend saw David Smith celebrating his 60th birthday with his band, the Front Covers, in fine form at Claygate Village Hall. All together now "I'm a believer, I'm a believer if I try..." Good to see various old procurement friends there too.

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The award of the ScotRail franchise to Dutch train company Abellio will re-open debates around national economic benefits in the context of public procurement. As one UK Trade Union leader has already said, "Scotland could have taken control of its own railways, instead they have opted to go Dutch, meaning that profits will be sucked out of the system to underpin investment and fares in Holland".

Whether that is technically true or not, it is likely to be a controversial decisions, not least because it is reported that financially the incumbent franchise operator First Group bid was better than Abellio's, but their bid won on the "quality" factors. That's fine from a procurement perspective, cost should not be everything - as long as the winner  actually delivers on their quality promises. That's a critical contract and supplier management task for the Department for Transport, one we hope they're equipped to carry out thoroughly and professionally.

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shaz JAson MEFinally in our gallery of pictures this week, here's Jason and me with a new friend of Spend Matters (for me anyway) - Shaz Khan, founder of Vroozi, a growing SaaS software firm that focuses on making corporate buying as easy as possible, (ordering, approvals, catalogues, etc), with a huge emphasis on mobile. We touched on this in a couple of recent posts (IBM and Wax Digital with their Google Glasses ideas) and there's no doubt mobile is going to be a big theme in years to come. And more on Vroozi shortly too.

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As there is a Chicago flavour around this week with Jason here, let's go with Chicago band Twin Peaks for our Friday song.  This is Flavor from their well reviewed album Wild Onion which I will be purchasing very soon.

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