Down the Procurement Pub with CIPS, AI, Virtualstock / Previse and Let’s Eat Grandma

Not a lot of socialising this week but there are a couple of CIPS Fellows events to tell you about. There is a visit to the unique “mail train”, an historic underground railway beneath the London streets and used to ship mail around for many years – plus the Postal Museum, networking and refreshments all hosted by Royal Mail next week on Tuesday April 10th. There are just a few places left, and you can book here.  Then there is the ever popular Fellows annual wine tasting on Tuesday 22nd May – our picture here comes from last year’s extravaganza! Not to be missed


Pierre Mitchell of Spend Matters US is talking next Tuesday in Atlanta – don’t suppose many of our readers will be in the area, but you never know …  It is a breakfast session, titled Artificial Intelligence and Strategic Sourcing, hosted by sourcing software firm Keelvar, whose CEO Alan Holland is also speaking – and he has a PhD in artificial intelligence!

Artificial Intelligence has the potential to transform how strategic sourcing is conducted. The most significant impact of AI for procurement in enterprises will be in supporting complex strategic decision making. This seminar will focus on best practice techniques in managing bid processes and offer guidance on how to find the right balance between price and quality via scenario analysis. It will also explore new developments in Automation & Sourcing Robotics that are pushing back the boundaries of performance and speed”.  If you are in the area, it sounds well worth signing up and we will have more on Pierre’s thoughts around the topic next week.


Virtualstock and Previse announced a new tie-up last week. Virtualstock provides software that helps organisations ranging from Argos and Tesco to HNS Trusts to manage supply chains, stock and orders across various locations. Now, the firm has “partnered with Previse, the Artificial Intelligence based instant supplier payment decision company, to deliver a fully integrated purchase to pay supply chain system with cash on delivery for suppliers in the UK. The two British supply chain technology companies will enable clients to merge their accounts payable and procurement functions seamlessly, enabling suppliers to get cash-on-delivery”.  Previse is a pretty young firm in the supply chain finance space, co-founded by David Brown, who we know well having previously founded Oxygen Finance.  So this is worth looking at in more detail, we suspect …


An article on post-Brexit public procurement, in Property Week, written by Richard Blakeway, a former deputy mayor of London? Should be interesting, we thought… unfortunately it’s not.  “For those who want reform, the first thing is to accept we need a robust and transparent framework for procurement … There is scope for major reform but even if the future regulatory environment were to look not dissimilar to the existing one, it doesn’t mean the way we operate couldn’t change. Government guidance could be improved. More focus could be put on place as well as price. New entrants and innovation could be encouraged”.  Well, yeah.  Nothing really new, specific or original here.


Let’s Eat Grandma emerged in 2016 with a stunning and weird debut album (no 4 in our albums of the year countdown), even more amazing given most of the songs were written when they were about 13 years old. Now mature women of 19, their second album is due out in June and the two tracks released so far sound very promising, including the epic Falling Into Me.  They’re on tour now in the UK, but actually playing Amsterdam on April 23rd, the night I am in town for the SAP Ariba Live conference … there’s a dilemma!   

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