Down the Procurement Pub with Basware, Copenhagen, Windrush, Sun and LUMP

My colleague Nancy Clinton and I didn't want to go to Copenhagen for ProcureCon Indirect, it really is just duty calling, the need to bring you lovely readers the latest in procurement thinking from the front-line.

So, it was all a bit of a grind really as you can see from the picture here... Actually, I love Copenhagen but good grief, drink is expensive in restaurants and (most) bars. £10 for a small glass of house wine in a mid-market bistro type place... this is us trying Carlsberg 1883, a dark lager, very pleasant if not earth-shattering, with an interesting back-story.

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Purchase to pay and invoicing experts Basware announced their first quarter results yesterday, much in line with analyst expectations we assume given that the share price hardly moved. Recent disposals of non-core business sent the top-line revenues down a touch but like-for-like currency adjusted sales were up over 5%, while the share of cloud-based revenues grew again to 59%, so the essential transition to cloud is going well for the firm, we would say. EBITDA moved back into positive territory too – but no doubt those investors will be looking for faster growth above all over the next year or two.

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We wrote about De La Rue withdrawing their challenge to the Home Office passport production procurement decision here yesterday. This was covered very well in the Times, who pointed out that the challenge was somewhat ironic, given just how many “foreign” countries are customers of the firm! Would the firm insist that those nations all find a “local” supplier, we wonder? Indeed, the view of most of the intelligent press is that the CEO, Martin Sutherland, mishandled this badly.

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So only a few weeks ago, retailers were having to stock up again on supplies of salt, shovels, overcoats and shepherd’s pie as winter seemed to be going on forever. Now suddenly, we have the hottest April day in London since 1387, and stores are presumably bringing forward those deliveries of ice cream, barbecue coals and sun cream. Ah, the challenges of supply chain management! We might even call it risk management too. When we think of weather-related risk events, we tend to consider floods, hurricanes and snow, but for some businesses, an extended or unseasonable heat wave might be just as much of a challenge (see our paper here …)

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I generally believe that government failures are almost always down to cock-up rather than conspiracy, and that most politicians and senior civil servants are basically good people who want to do their best for the public. Then something like the Windrush affair comes along and challenges your faith.  Was it evil Ministers? Incompetent civil servants? Bureaucrats “just following orders”? I hope we find out, but the treatment of people who have lived in this country for 50 years and more, worked, paid their taxes, even played cricket for Middlesex (as a English qualified player), then suddenly get told they don’t belong in this country – after the Home Office has destroyed the records that would prove their right to be here – does make me feel ashamed to be British.

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On a much happier note, this is a weird video and a memorable song from LUMP. Who, I hear you say? LUMP is folk-rock goddess Laura Marling and less well known (but very talented) Mike Lindsay from Tunng. An album is coming soon – and if it is all as good as this, maybe this will finally be Marling’s work of true genius after five solo albums, all very good but none quite hitting that “all-time great” button. We know she is capable of that seminal work, so fingers crossed.

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