Down the Procurement Pub with HfS, Determine, Heineken and Wolf Alice

A busy week with Jason Busch, Spend Matters founder, over from the US, eWorld Procurement and Supply, meetings with various friends and acquaintances, then my non-exec duties in Lincoln and finally on northwards to see mother in Durham – which is where I am now (Friday). I missed the chance to take pictures of some enjoyable social events this week, but I did get this shot of Jason at a reunion of the “enterprise irregulars”, a group of IT analysts and bloggers that Jason has been part of for many years. It was hosted by Phil Ferscht, founder of the excellent HfS outsourcing advisory firm – I haven’t met him before and it was very good to do so. As well as being a top industry expert, Phil writes beautifully and has a keen sense of humour – here is an example of that.


This report on the Supply Management website caught our attention. Speaking at the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference, “Javier Gomes, program manager S&OP Core at Heineken, said the company embarked on a project to cut inventory and costs and boost revenues to deal with a rapidly changing business environment and increased pressure from competitors”. Interesting that Heineken appears to think its response to the rise of “craft brewers” should be to cut costs. Maybe that is just the natural way supply chain people think. But might we humbly suggest to Heineken that craft brewers are doing well because their products are tastier, more varied, more innovative, and more fashionable than mass produced fizzy tasteless lager?  And surely the best way supply chain and procurement executives can help the firm is by bringing innovation from the supply market into Heineken?


The Labour Party conference saw Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell announce that all UK public sector PFI (private finance initiative) contracts would be “taken back in house” only for his colleagues to immediately say, “no, that’s not what he meant, we are just going to review them”. That’s in line with the reviews of PFI that were previously announced in 2008, 2010, 2015… etc etc. Now there is a legitimate argument to be made that with borrowing rates so low, the government could buy out the owners of the contracts, funded with special bonds perhaps, and it would be financially sensible and pragmatic. But unfortunately, you get the sense that Labour just don’t have a clue what they’re talking about ….


So, I could really do with buying a new (second hand) car soon, maybe early next year? But what do I get? All the company car type options I looked at were pretty much only available as diesels, which now looks like a highly unattractive purchase. Or will even petrol cars look like white elephants with a few years (my current much-loved Saab is almost 10 years old and is going to hit the 1000,000 miles around Christmas). Or do I go mad and buy a Tesla now – then find that its price halves in the next few years? Must be a tricky situation for fleet managers and buyers too – any advice from our knowledgeable readers?


Gérard Dahan has left Ivalua where he was GM EMEA and joined competing procurement software firm Determine as global Chief Marketing Officer and SVP, EMEA. He is a well-known in the industry, a man of style and panache, but it is a somewhat surprising move in that Determine (the company that came out of Selectica buying Iasta and b-pack) certainly have disappointed their shareholders in recent times. Performance has been flat really, whilst Ivalua seemed to be on a good run, with a major external investment announced a few months back. But my US colleagues do rate the Determine product quite highly (as they do Ivalua) so maybe a bit of Dahan's stardust will make all the difference -  we wish him well.


One of the most eagerly awaited albums of the year (for us anyway) is out today. That’s Wolf Alice with their second release Visions of a Life. We love the fact that this track from it is only just over 2 minutes long and leaves you wanting to play it again immediately.


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