The UK riots – hard to get excited about procurement this morning

I follow Jonathan Webb of the Procurement Intelligence Unit on Twitter (@j_p_webb). Jonathan is a Research Analyst for the PIU and like many of those I follow on Twitter, following him is a good way of getting notified about the latest interesting procurement reports, events and so on.

But last night his Tweets got rather scary as he was caught up in the riots in London - he lives near one of the trouble-spots. I'm not sure if it's a positive or a negative about Twitter, but you certainly feel closer to events when someone you know (or at least follow) is part of it and Tweeting like this:

Police have formed another wall outside my house in Mossbury Road. It's reinforced with an armoured van

Despite the shield charge and the close-by riot police, the looting continues unabated near my house

Er....scotch that. Tear gas fills Lavender Hill. There is serious shouting outside. Full on riot.

Anyway, Jonathan is OK, I'm pleased to say. And it's difficult to know what more to add to the comments this morning on what has been happening in London and more widely, other than to offer sympathy and good wishes to anyone who has been injured, lost property, or livelihood in the troubles. Meanwhile, the FTSE index of share prices has lost another 120 points this morning. It all feels somewhat apocalyptic.

So talking about procurement and supply chain implications seems a little narrow-minded today, but let's try to consider some possible issues.  At a macro level, the balance of probability in the US and Europe seems to have swung to another recession, with obvious implications for commodity prices and business generally. But currency issues still make inflation a danger still in many parts of the world. Trying to predict where oil, foodstuffs, metals prices will go next is therefore hazardous to say the least. But we would suggest you revise assumptions currently built in to any predictive models you may be running.

For the UK, the last few days hasn't exactly been an encouragement for exisitng businesses to invest, new business formation, or tourists to visit. The economic mood was already gloomy - this doesn't exactly help.  We expect political tension to build between the coalition members after this as very different "solutions" will be proposed.  I thought this was an excellent article in the Telegraph from Mary Riddell -  not what you might expect from that paper. But read some of the comments below it to see how differently people will perceive these events.

And, of course, organisations (and probably individuals) should look at their insurance cover and in particular conditions or exclusions around riots, civil disobedience etc...

In the public sector, it's hard to see that the UK Government can push through the spending reductions to the Police Service that are planned. Will that mean bigger cuts elsewhere?  But there may also be more pressure to get police out on the streets and reduce the "form filling and bureaucracy" as it's always described.  More user-friendly procurement processes for instance? And I can see water cannons becoming a new procurement category to be managed here..

Any other thoughts from readers?

Anyway, back to more normal posting later.

Voices (3)

  1. PlanBee:

    Re Monica

    I agree. I dont know it it is possible to slow it down at times of crisis, they did something like this in the stockmarket when automated trades meant the markets went into meltdown post the Big Bang in the 80’s

  2. Jonathan Webb:

    Thank you for your concern Peter. Looking over my tweets, I definitely was caught up with the moment.

    I don’t think any money was actually stolen from the bank. And the plumes of tear gas actually turned out to be smoke from a nearby party shop that was aflame.

    It was genuinely scary to see my local area trashed and definitely gives perspective outside my procurement bubble. Fortunately, I don’t think that anyone was hurt in my area.

    I’ll keep you posted with any updates!

  3. Monica:

    re riots, take away the power of communication by shutting down the “social networking sites FACEBOOK AND TWITTER

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