Spend Matters UK/Europe Round-Up

Our views on the UK government procurement programme -- We've featured this week our interview with John Collington and David Smith, who are driving the central government procurement programme. We had interesting insights into the future strategy for the 'central' categories, SMEs, technology and a number of other issues.

Lloyds TSB, procurement targets and supplier reduction programmes -- Lloyds TSB – the UK's largest retail bank – recently announced major jobs losses and a profit improvement programme, including this: We will optimise our demand management, simplify specifications and further strengthen our supplier relationships, reducing the number of suppliers to the group from around 17,000 to under 10,000, and further focusing on a core group of lead suppliers, to achieve approximately a 15% saving on addressable spend," the bank said.

Contingent fee procurement consulting assignments – buyer beware! -- We wrote recently about the sad death at Glastonbury of Christopher Shale, who ran Oxford Resources, a cost-reduction consultancy. Like many such firms, they work largely on a contingent fee basis – they will take a share of the savings they find for their clients. Now that has some clear advantages; done properly, it is a guaranteed win for the clients. You only pay for the consultants if you make savings, there is (apparently) no risk, and you save a multiple of the fees you pay.

What the News of the World closure tells us about supplier management -- The announcement of the News of the World (the UK's biggest selling newspaper) closure following the phone hacking scandal came as a huge shock. Many commiserations to anyone who will lose their job. But of course we immediately thought about this from a procurement and supply chain perspective. And here are our initial thoughts on the matter, based on the starting point that the private detective, Glenn Mulcaire, who was hacking into the phones of celebrities, politicians and bereaved relatives (allegedly) was, in effect, a contractor or supplier to the newspaper.

Guest posts! Unconferences – the future of business events? (Part 1) -- Alex Ranson is our regular correspondent covering social media and all things new or innovative. This week she's explaining all about the "Unconference" which, I must admit, was a new one on me. Could we see procurement events going this way? The next CIPS, Procurement Leaders or ProcureCon event perhaps? Read Alex's views today and tomorrow and see what you think. (The Editor) (See Part 2 as well)

And of course, some humor: Yes Minister – the story behind latest Police IT procurement decision -- A new "Police IT Company" was announced last week, which amongst other things will take a central role in IT procurement for all Police Forces. We're lucky to have an exclusive behind the scenes report (obtained without the aid of phone hacking) on the strategic thinking that went into this decision.

- Sheena Moore

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