Down the Procurement Pub with HICX, Jaggaer, CSR, CIPS and Blue Stones

Excuse my indulgence, but for the next few weeks, I may feature a few of my all-time favourite Down the Procurement Pub photos before I go. There are quite a few featuring my colleague and Spend Matters founder Jason Busch, not that he likes pubs and English beer you understand (that’s what he tells his wife anyway), but I drag him in there anyway! Here is one from a few years back with both of us clearly enjoying a pint (or three…) We have had many good times, good discussions and meetings over a beer, or indeed a glass of something red and French, over the last eight years.

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Thanks also to everyone who came to our breakfast with HICX Solutions looking at Procurement and AI on Wednesday. As well as the presentations, there was discussion amongst a very good group of people from organisations as varied as the NHS, Pearson, the BBC and GLH Hotels. And thanks to the audience also for our webinar yesterday on Brexit and procurement, with software firm Jaggaer and our guest speaker, Jeremy Smith from 4C Associates. But talk about good timing - incredible! We had no idea when we planned it months ago that it would be on the day when Brexit dominated every inch and second of media coverage. More on that topic next week too.

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Just to go back to our trip last week to Iceland, the Phallological Museum in Reykjavik is far from the daft or tasteless concept that you might expect. It is not huge (there’s a joke in there somewhere) but is genuinely fascinating, even if as a man you might feel a little queasy at the sight of over 200 penises from so many different creatures (including Homo Sapiens) in glass specimen jars. This one is from a whale – can’t remember which type.

There are also interesting artefacts, including silver casts of the members (pun intended) of the entire Iceland 2008 Handball Olympic silver medal winning team.  It was set up by a historian and teacher called Sigurður Hjartarson, and his recorded commentary is available to inform you as you go around the museum. This was his quote that had me in hysterics – talking about the founding of the museum, he said this, “The family living room got increasingly crowded with amputated penises and finally my wife told me I could not keep them at home any more”.  So, if you ever find your partner’s hobby annoying, just remember – it could be worse!

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I know previously when we have featured CIPS Fellows’ events, they may have looked a little like simple excuses for socialising, eating and drinking. However, this week, we attended a very serious (but interesting) evening under the heading of “Aligning Procurement and CSR Business Goals”. A good turn-out of around 50 people heard speakers from Norton Rose Fulbright (top global law firm, doing interesting things in this space) as well as practitioners. We will probably come back to it at greater length soon, but perhaps the number one take-away was this. In terms of issues like modern slavery and human rights, “audits in themselves won’t get anywhere close to guaranteeing you the right behaviours in the supply chain”

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We met our good friend, CIPS Past President and procurement legend Shirley Cooper at the event and discovered that in June she became a non-executive director for the Ministry of Justice. Congratulations to her, I’m sure she will bring wisdom, insight and experience to the role, and goodness knows, the MoJ needs all the help it can get. She joins a fairly short list of procurement leaders who have taken the step into the non-executive world.  Read this paper I wrote with Ed Cross - now running Odesma -  some years ago if you want to get some thoughts on how to get that seat at that top table…

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Went to see Welshly Arms last night – a band we’ve featured here a couple of times already, so we won’t praise them again (they’re great). But the Blue Stones, supporting, were very good too with their catchy blues-rock tunes – think Black Keys, Royal Blood maybe. Here is their latest track – Black Holes.

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