Down the Procurement Xmas Market with Efficio, Basware, Clinical Waste, Editors and Grandaddy

My penultimate week really of active Spend Matters activities and quite a social one. I spent an enjoyable couple of hours with musical maestro David Smith - recently seen in his Freddie Mercury guise – as we planned my future career as a leading bass guitarist. Then I had dinner (good tapas at El Cato Negra Tapas) in Manchester with Rob Knott and David Lawson (CPO at Guys Hospital) prior to the Future of NHS Procurement conference, which I chaired. Manchester’s Christmas Market was pretty impressive too – it’s a long time since I’ve seen as many sausages being consumed in a small area, although something had gone very wrong with the message on the Town Hall!  A "Merry stmas MAN STER to you too!

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Spend Matters founder Jason Busch was over in the UK recently for a very brief visit and participated in a discussion hosted by consulting firm Efficio. The theme was around digitisation and built on a recent survey and report published by the firm. There is also a short video available here which includes some sound-bites from the evening, including comments from Mr Busch himself. Do take a look, and you can get hold of the report via this link - Procurement 2025: Is digital transformation driving more effective procurement?

Efficio event video - Procurement 2025: is digital transformation driving more effective procurement? from Efficio on Vimeo.

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Katie Jacobs is moving on from her role as Editor of Supply Management. She seemed like a good person, and has done a decent job, I feel, in terms of the quality of the magazine and website, although she has made no secret that HR rather than procurement has remained her first love. She is joining CIPD (the CIPS equivalent for HR folk) and on Twitter said she was going “ back to my spiritual home of HR & I'm really excited to move back to the HR community”.  Maybe we could have an Editor who likes procurement next time?

She also continued the long-established policy of ignoring Spend Matters and anyone else who might be a “competitor” to Supply Management, something I hope Malcolm Harrison might get to grips with as CIPS new CEO. CIPS should be at the centre of the procurement world, and that means bringing the most important content, news and thinking to its members, rather than being driven by the commercial interests of business partners like Haymarket.

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Basware issued an update on the potential acquisition of the firm by Tradeshift, saying that the indicative proposal (if it comes to fruition) was likely to offer Basware shareholders €48 a share. That’s almost exactly twice the share price prior to the expression of interest, and about the same as the high point for the shares, reached a year ago exactly (€47 last December). Where will Tradeshift get the money (> €600 million) from to do this?  Investors who see the potential described by Jason Busch here, I guess.

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The contractual saga around NHS clinical waste disposal took a turn for the worse this week as the troubled contractor Healthcare Environmental Services (HES) stopped collecting from a number of hospitals. You may remember when problems with that firm first blew up, with reports that waste was being stockpiled, the firm claimed there was a shortage of incineration capacity, something the government denied. Some contracts have been moved to another supplier (Mitie), but the HSJ reported that they’re charging three times the previous price, which sounds like there may well be a capacity issue. (They’re charging an arm and a leg, you might say, somewhat tastelessly …)

It’s also interesting to note that the previous incumbent supplier, SRCL, claimed that HES had bid “unrealistically low” prices for the contract when they won it. That challenge was not upheld but of course we might wonder now whether SRCL had a point ... a twisted web, indeed, and a very difficult procurement issue to unravel.

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If the best single artist Xmas album of all time is Low’s (as we mentioned here), then the best compilation is the XFM “It’s a Cool Cool Christmas” from 2000. It’s full of often quirky indie type acts doing a mix of covers and original songs and is well worth tracking down. Here is Grandaddy with “Alan Parsons in a Winter Wonderland” – no, I have no idea either. But it’s great.

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