Down the Procurement Pub with State of Flux, CombineNet, Atos and George (McCrae)…

We featured the State of Flux Supplier Relationship Management survey a couple of weeks back here.  It’s well worth completing it, not least to get a copy of the final report which is always full of interesting and valuable material.

Because there are a considerable number of people who have started but not completed the SRM survey, State of Flux has decided to extend the deadline for completing the survey to 9th August. You can access the survey here.  


Interesting to see that Atos have lost their monopoly on examinations for disability benefits in the UK, with the Department of Work and Pensions announcing that other providers will be brought in.  I was involved in the very first contract for outsourcing this controversial service way back in the 1990s during my stint in the public sector.  Getting the contract performance measures right is a challenge for the procurement and contract management people involved.

You want to be fair to the claimants, but you don’t want to give benefits to the small number who try to game the system. You want the supplier to conduct high quality examinations, but of course cost is an issue, as it is taxpayers’ money.  It’s not easy getting the right balance, and of course it is an intensely personal and sensitive service as well.  A good testing question for a CIPS examination maybe?


Another procurement software firm announced good results – CombineNet, one of the leaders in market-informed sourcing (optimisation) issued information recently. They’re privately owned, so don’t disclose everything, and most notably overall revenues are not mentioned. But they’re showing  twenty-two percent new customer growth since the close of 2012, and sixty-four percent growth in the number of e-sourcing events generated by customers, compared to the first half of 2012, which “demonstrates that customers are continuing to increase the amount of their spend sourced through CombineNet across all categories”.

We’ll feature Trade Extensions next week, who also produced impressive numbers, so this suggests real strength at the advanced end of the sourcing technology market. More organisations are catching on to the potential to apply advanced analytical techniques to complex sourcing tasks.


On a lighter note... Overheard in a London hospital earlier this week:

“Won’t be long darling. Keep pushing”.

“ Easy for you to say that!  Aaaaahhhhh   ....   Gosh, it’s hot in here”.

“ I know, try not to worry about it, let’s think about ...  I know, our favourite summer songs. What about California Girls? Summer Breeze by the Isley Brothers? I love that”.

“Good, but a bit predictable.  I think my favourite is Rock Your Baby. Do you remember that one? Bit before our time really but they used to play it at the St. Andrews Summer Ball. And the title is somehow appropriate! Who sang that anyway"?

“ Umm...  McCrae. George McCrae”.

“ That’s it! What a great summer tune. And actually... George... Not a bad name, George, is it?”

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First Voice

  1. Garry Mansell:

    Just thought I would share this with you from the Tower of London Website Peter….I think they could stretch the law to get you on point number three. I personally would use point two as well..but thats just because you are a Sunderland fan. Its still a prison you know, but the view is nice.

    The Tower of London has had many varied roles but it is its function as State prison that lingers in the popular memory. Prisoners at the Tower were not ordinary offenders. Accused of treason, their offences included:

    • trying to kill or depose the monarch

    • helping rebels or foreign enemies

    • writing or speaking against the monarch

    • acting against the interests of the State, including counterfeiting coins

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