More on Palambridge – A New Model For Procurement Consulting

We featured the launch of Palambridge here. This is being driven by Philip Ideson, pictured here, who runs the Art of Procurement website which has produced a series of very good podcasts over the last year or so, and Kelly Barner, well known particularly in the US as the founder of Buyers Meeting Point.

Palambridge is a group of consulting and solution provider firms, some very small, some a little bigger, but all genuinely deep experts in some aspect of the procurement and supply chain world. So, participants include our friends at Future Purchasing, leaders in Category Management; Market Dojo, Bristol-based eSourcing tech providers; and several other firms.

So the firms can offer strategy, capability development, tools and execution support across a pretty wide range of procurement requirements. As we said in the previous article, there are some interesting aspects to the model as well as some points that still need further clarification. So we asked Ideson about some of the questions that occurred to us.

What was the selection process for the firms involved?

It is really people and firms I know and whose work I value. People I like and trust, and who we thought would benefit from being part of this – we can offer another sales channel  to them. Doing the Art of Procurement podcasts for the last couple of years has also developed my market knowledge and given me the chance to build a network of really smart, impressive people and firms.

How does this fit in with what you see in terms of the wider procurement consulting and outsourcing picture?

I’ve written a lot about “procurement as a service” and I worked in service provider organisations as well as on the buy-side. A few years ago, it looked like huge procurement outsourcing deals going to IBM, Accenture, Xchanging were the future – but it never really happened.

Even when organisations outsource it is now usually much more selective, and when support is needed there is more use of options such as managed services, targeted consulting assignments or even specialist contingent labour. I saw the opportunity to leverage the expertise there is in these excellent smaller consulting firms – I’ve been mapping it for years, but didn’t feel the market was ready until now.

The Palambridge system of buying “credits” which are then used by the client to commission the services seems a little complicated – can you explain further?

Well, there will be an opportunity still to work on a project basis, I should say. But we’re trying to encourage clients to look at outcomes, not time and material type engagements. Having a menu of services – outcome related as far as possible – and then the credits used to buy against that menu – is the idea.

But the client still makes the engagement and forms the contract with Palambridge?

Yes, we want it to be a seamless experience for the client.

What is the client target market?

I hope it will be organisations who have a real vision for where they want to go, who think about the future of procurement, and realise they need some additional smart capability to get there. It is probably not for a top 100 firm who want to buy a $10 million global transformation assignment, it is more likely to be mid-sized firms, but those who are thoughtful and serious about procurement.

Thanks to Philip and if you want to know more about Palambridge, follow this link. We wish him and the organisation well and will follow progress with interest!

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