Down the Procurement Pub – ISM, German PMIs, Balfour Beatty and Happy Vappu!

My US colleagues, Jason Busch and Pierre Mitchell, have been at the Institute of Supply Management's 98th annual conference in Dallas this week. You can read a good overview here. What’s obvious is just how much more of a big thing the event is compared to the CIPS conference in the UK. OK, the US is a bigger country, but CIPS has in some ways been the more successful Institute over the last ten years. So why has CIPS never got to the position where someone like Condoleezza Rice  - the keynote speaker this week at ISM – could be engaged?


Now the European economic malaise is even extending to Germany, previously the one bright spot. The April PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) for German manufacturing industry was down at 48.1, indicating growing contraction (if you see what I mean).  That was accompanied by reductions in staffing levels, and the survey suggested that German private sector output fell for the first time since November last year. Meanwhile, unemployment has hit 27 percent in Spain – and that is 57% unbelievably amongst young people. It seems hard to believe there hasn’t been more civil unrest.


Balfour Beatty announced a seriously disappointing trading outlook this week. The UK construction firm blamed us lot in procurement!  “Change in procurement trends, which we have previously highlighted, has persisted, allowing customers to impose increasingly stringent conditions onto contractors.” That’s increased competition apparently.  I suppose good news for someone is often bad news for someone else... Anyway, good luck to Martin Chown, who was until recently a Director at the Government Procurement Service, and has recently become Balfour’s Director of Procurement and Supply Chain management.


All a bit depressing really...  let’s have something more cheerful for the UK Bank Holiday weekend. And many countries in Europe have been celebrating various May Day events and holidays, including in Finland where Vappu is a major Spring celebration and one of the biggest holidays of the year. Picnics and considerable quantities of alcohol seem to be a key part of the festivities, which are particularly celebrated by the student community.

So in honour of that, here’s the latest single from one of Finland’s top bands, Haloo Helsinki! Not bad at all...

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