Down the Procurement Pub with Mars, CIPS, France, Accenture and the Hunger Games

So last night I was at the Mars alumni dinner, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Marlow. That gives me an excuse to plug again the excellent beers from the Windsor and Eton Brewery, a micro (but growing fast) operation run by three ex Mars managers plus one non-Mars master brewer. Two are people I knew well from my time at the firm. They provided the pre-dinner drinks, and very good they were too, although I was limited to a small sample as I was driving home.

It was a very enjoyable event, if a little strange meeting people, some very unexpectedly, who you used to see every day but haven't met for 20 years or more.  One of my first bosses at Mars had a son who I remember as a 7 year old - he's now a partner at McKinsey apparently!  It is also remarkable how slim most ex-Martians seem to be (even if somewhat greyer in many cases), and I even found a few unexpected Spend Matters readers.  The guest of honour was Audrey Cook, who has worked at Mars since 1944. She still works in the staff shop at the age of 84... how many of us will be issuing tenders or negotiating contracts at that age, I wonder?!


So last week CIPS held their Congress meeting, where the Licence to Practise “policy” was debated, we understand. Arguably, Congress should have had input to that before David Noble, the CEO, promoted it as a Policy (rather than a discussion document), but at least now Congress has had its chance to contribute, we hope. And we’re waiting with bated breath to get some feedback on that. So come on Congress members, you were pretty much all elected on the ticket that you would communicate well, often and promptly with all us ordinary members...  so do tell us what went on!


The Markit PMI index for France was pretty disastrous this week. The country is in danger of slipping back into recession, and is “holding back” the rest of Europe, according to commentators and economists. Of course, we on the other side of La Manche take no pleasure in this. No, honestly...  But it  is interesting to see what a high taxation, don’t try and reform the public sector strategy is doing to the country though. And as we said in our comments on yesterday’s Autumn Statement, the UK Conservative Party must be loving it, as a warning to what can happen if you elect those pesky socialists!


Accenture has closed the deal to acquire Procurian, originally announced on October 3rd, and become the number one procurement outsourced services provider in the world, pretty undisputedly. Read how my business partner Jason Busch can draw an analogy between this and the Hunger Games here! He is predicting more activity in this sector in 2014... that’s the procurement outsourcing sector by the way, not the Hunger Games sector...

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