Down the Procurement Pub with ICPS, Xchanging, Hackett Group and Walking On Cars

So I’m in Cardiff for the Wales Procurement Week, and this was the scene of riotous debauchery at the International Dinner on Wednesday evening. All very well behaved actually, more’s the pity, but interesting to see the inside of Cardiff Castle. It’s been an excellent event so far, much more on that next week, when we will come back with some general observations, and our reports on specific sessions too.


Some intrigue at the Wales Procurement Week (organised by ICPS, Bangor University's Institute of Competition and Procurement Studies), caused by an unfortunate clash. The first full conference day on Wednesday in Cardiff clashed with Procurex Wales, another procurement conference / exhibition, held half a mile down the road! We understand that the ICPS had the date booked first; so did Procurex feel they could take advantage of a ready-made audience in Cardiff on that date? Or was it pure coincidence? Anyway, Procurex had a strong programme, including support from the Welsh Government Procurement teams, but the clash must have reduced numbers at the ICPS event - as well as spreading the potential sponsorship money more thinly! It was also interesting because the profit from Procurex goes straight back to ... Scotland, where the organising firm is based. All a little bit strange to the outside observer. And we'll have more on the Wales Procurement Week here next week.


Xchanging plc, the Business Technology and Services provider, has announced that it has been awarded a new procurement outsourcing contract by Aliaxis, a leading global manufacturer and distributor of plastic fluid handling systems used in residential and commercial construction, as well as in industrial and public infrastructure applications. The company is pretty global, and employs 16,000 in 40 plus countries. The co-sourcing agreement will see Xchanging manage indirect spend across six countries – Germany, Italy, France, the UK, Spain and the Netherlands – for this new customer. Spend categories to be addressed cover both services (including recruitment, vehicle leasing, maintenance, gas/electricity and catering), and products (ranging from work clothing to packaging). Good news after a turbulent (and not in a good way) month for the firm’s share price.


The Hackett Group has just released its 2015 key issues report on procurement matters. This year’s study, available here, provides more detailed analysis than in previous years, apparently, and according to the 2015 study, procurement leaders are planning to focus their transformation efforts in three areas to achieve the biggest enterprise impact in the coming year: cultivating procurement’s role as a trusted advisor; investing in next-generation training and development; and harnessing rich information from big data. More on this to come too.


I’m starting to check out bands playing at Reading Festival that I don’t know and this week came across Walking On Cars from Dingle in Ireland. It’s not a totally original sound, but it’s got a great feel and atmosphere, and a more than decent tune and vocals. They’ve been added to the “must check out” list for August 29th anyway.


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