Down the Procurement Pub with Sievo, David Atkinson, Babs Omotowa and Lynsey de Paul

It’s a hard life isn’t it. I had the pleasure of a meeting with Patricia Bresson and Nora Huovila of Sievo at the George Inn, one of London’s most famous and distinctive hostelries, the only galleried pub left in the city. I introduced them to English beer and the George Ale (brewed by Morland), a classic English “session bitter”, went down very well. They were here for the CIPS Conference this week, which I couldn’t make unfortunately, but we’ll have more from Sievo shortly.

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Talking of CIPS, I’m hoping to see Craig Lardner next week, the current President, who is coming to the end of his term of office. He’s done an amazing job of getting round every branch in the UK, and many in other countries, despite his home base being Australia. And the new President, announced at the conference yesterday is ... (pause for drum roll)... Babs Omotowa FCIPS, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria LNG Limited. Many congratulations to him. I don't know him, but I hear very good things.

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Whilst the Conservative Party Conference was promising us huge tax cuts (with an annual deficit still running at £100 billion annually, that seems somewhat strange), the economic news was not great. As the BBC reported:

“The UK manufacturing sector grew at its slowest pace for 17 months in September as a result of the strong pound and eurozone weakness, a survey has said. The Markit UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 51.6 in September from 52.2 in August. A figure above 50 indicates growth. Firms reported that growth in new orders was "near stagnation".

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There’s an excellent article by David Atkinson on his website here about the Tesco issues and the way the firm appears to have been treating suppliers. We may come back to it next week and add our comments but in the meantime take a look. Here is an short extract.

“What does it mean to be a procurement professional in 2014? The minimum we should expect for professionals in large corporates is that they are intelligent and educated in procurement methods and have an appreciation of what best practice might look like in their sector.  They’re ambitious and see themselves as the ‘custodians of supply chain value’, integrating their category management process with efforts to continually improve performance and value for money through post-contract supplier management (SRM).  Competent in negotiation, they have well-developed influencing and stakeholder management skills, and they know where to draw the line at sharp practices.

Whilst it’s highly likely that Tesco’s procurement professionals tick all these boxes, they are evidently not always walking the talk”.

Great stuff – read the whole article here.

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A late change to our music feature this week as we heard about the sad and premature death of Lynsey de Paul. She was only 64 and apparently very fit, active, healthy (and vegetarian) before a brain haemorrhage sadly took her this week. I think she was the first female singer I really fancied as a teenager, but she wasn’t just a pretty face and a more than decent singer – she was a designer before she was a musician, she was a talented pianist and song writer, penning big hits for other artists, and the first woman to win the Ivor Novello song writing award. She also included Sean Connery, Dudley Moore, Ringo Starr, James Coburn, Roy Wood and George Best amongst her male friends (apparently), so I wasn’t the only one to find her truly gorgeous.

This is her, amazingly, on the Old Grey Whistle Test. Classic song and oh my goodness doesn't she look amazing. Sorry, I shouldn't go on about it.  RIP and sincere condolences to her family and friends.

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