Procurement Aggregation and Consolidation Shuts the Door to Innovation – Let’s Discuss at Breakfast on May 14th

We have told you about our forthcoming breakfast with Coupa on May 14th, and we now have a really interesting list of people who are joining us - some big hitters in the procurement world from London hospitals, central government and local authorities. Knowing many of those already registered, I know already we’re going to have a lively debate (even if it is breakfast time)!

It’s going to be a reasonably intimate event but we have a few places left, so if you ‘re interested, don’t delay - register here.

The topic is this. How do we combine the imperative pretty much every public sector organisation faces to manage and control costs, alongside the desire to encourage a dynamic supply base, including third sector, smaller, local, innovative and diversely owned suppliers?

One issue is that we’ve seen a strong and understandable drive to aggregate spend in the belief that it will allow economies of scale and therefore better value for the public purse. But do we really understand or even consider economy of scale curves, which vary hugely for different categories? There’s one question for May 14th.

There are other market issues to consider. For instance (and nothing against them personally), once Redfern Travel, as an SME, were awarded all of central government’s travel business, then:

  • they’re probably not an SME any more given that volume of business;and
  • you have closed that (large) market to innovation and new market entrants for three years.

However, there is an advantage often in terms of control and information when we consolidate – Redfern being a great example of that, as government can now get much better travel spend data across the board than ever before. But are there ways to keep that control and obtain the same sort of MI even if we use multiple suppliers? There’s another good question.

So I hope that gives you an idea of what we want to discuss on the 14th. Technology has a role to play – hence the interest from Coupa, our sponsor for the event – but it goes well beyond that. So if this sounds interesting, join us next Thursday at Balthazar in Covent Garden, 8-10am (we’ll start the talking at 8.30am). Hope to see you there.

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