The Procurement Balancing Act – Cost Management and Supplier Diversity

As we mentioned here, we are now working with Coupa, and our first event with the firm this year is a breakfast roundtable discussion. The idea is to get a fairly small group of interested and interesting procurement folk around the table to hear a short talk from me, then to spend 45 minutes or so in a round table discussion on the topic over a decent breakfast.

The session is on Thursday May 14th from 8am -10am (we will start the talk around 8.30am), at the Balthazar restaurant in Covent Garden, which is very good but not so opulent that you'll feel it is inappropriate!

I’m going to be leading the discussion on how the public sector can combine two objectives which I think it has struggled with over the past few years. How can we get both strong cost management and control alongside development of a dynamic supply base - small, local, diverse and innovative suppliers in particular.

Balancing what can seem like two conflicting objectives is a challenge - driving better value through strong cost management techniques (aggregation, consolidation, managing compliance) is of course key, but we also want to be open to a more diverse supplier base, who might bring advantages in terms of innovation, service and value in their own right.

Is it impossible to reconcile the two goals? Or are there some innovative ways in which procurement can respond to those twin challenges? I will be presenting some ideas on the topic but I'm also looking forward to getting the views and ideas of those present. It's not at all a Coupa sales pitch, I should say, although I do think that technology has a part to play in both sides of that equation of course, as it does in pretty much everything we do these days!

The election will just have taken place, so it may well be that politicians (of whatever colour) will be looking for new ideas in this area by then. The topic is largely focused on the public sector, although arguably it has wider resonance too in the private sector, where many businesses are also looking at the diversity of their supply base.

Places are limited and we already have some people signed up who I know will help to make it a really good session, so you can book here and very much hope to see you on the 14th.

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