Down the Procurement Pub with Preston, Coupa, Scalpels, Bombardier, Ivalua and Django Django

Ah, the beautiful Isabel! No, not the talented journalist Isabel Hardman, but the restaurant in Mayfair where I ate this week. Perhaps the most aesthetically beautiful eating place I've experienced, certainly in London - a bit blingy maybe for some, but tasteful and atmospheric as well as opulent. And the food? Well, there might be an interesting article to come, all around how we perceive "value" and set evaluation criteria when we're buying! So we'll leave that for now, but I had a very enjoyable evening with another "mystery friend"!


Some weekend reading maybe - a good (long) article in the Guardian by Aditya Charabortty, looking at how since 2011 the city of Preston in Lancashire has pursued a policy of spending public money locally. It is an opinion essay rather than “hard news” reporting, but it’s genuinely interesting and thought-provoking read. It does leave many unanswered questions, the biggest being whether there are any objective measures of success in Preston arising from this approach. But it seems timely to look at these ideas in more detail after the Carillion disaster has again pointed out the weaknesses in a UK public sector procurement approach that has favoured large firms for the last 25 years or so.


A couple of snippets of solution provider news now for your delectation. Coupa announced the launch of Release 20 of their spend management platform this week, with enhancements that include:

  • Reduced Supply Chain Risk – helps businesses determine the best supplier and next course of action generated via Community Intelligence
  • Control and visibility of Business Services Spend (Services Maestro) – navigates complex spend management, eliminating challenges e as determining if a supplier meets service level agreements
  • Coupa Accelerate – grants customers control over early payment discounts and discount programs

We’ll probably have more detail on this at some point once we’ve had a closer look …


And Ivalua announced what must be a very pleasing customer win for the firm, with global facility service provider ISS Facility Services AG choosing Ivalua’s “user-friendly procurement, supplier management, contracts, analytics, dashboard and sourcing modules to over 3,000 employees ordering from 17,000 different locations across Switzerland”.  The project was described by partner Optibuy, (a major force in central European procurement consulting, apparently), who also worked on the project, as ‘one of the most complex e-procurement system implementations in Europe’ in recent years.


Good news for Bombardier and their staff in Northern Ireland – the aircraft firm has perhaps surprisingly won a trade case in the United States, overturning a decision to impose huge tariffs on imports of its C-Series aircraft. In December, the US Commerce Department ruled the UK and Canada had given unfair subsidies to Bombardier to help it build the aircraft. But the US International Trade Commission (ITC) rejected the complaint brought by Boeing. How does President Trump feel about this?


After our comments on last Friday’s “socially responsible procurement” event (more to come on that by the way), it was worrying to see an article in the Guardian this week claiming that “doctors may be using tools made by children in Pakistan”.  NHS Supply Chain bans child labour from its first-tier suppliers (of course), but doesn’t appear to look much further down the supply chain to examine where and how equipment is actually made. More to be done there, clearly. It is also ridiculous that NHS Supply Chain, like other public bodies, is not subject to the same transparency requirements that private companies are; that came up at last week’s event too. The Modern Slavery Act provisions really needs to be extended to all public sector organisations.


Another good January album release has come from Django Django. We liked their debut a lot, the follow up was OK, but this is a return to form for the hard-to-classify, bouncy, tuneful, fun, electronic, slightly eccentric Anglo-Scottish art-rock quartet.


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