Down the Procurement Pub with Robots, Proactis, Good Work and Wolf Alice

Quite a week with Jason Busch, Spend Matters founder, here from Chicago. So enough meetings, socialising  and lunches to keep Down the Procurement Pub in material through the summer, and here is Jason with Colin Maund of supplier management firm Hellios. But the week's highlight was last night’s pub debate when we had an excellent evening at The Clarence in Whitehall. We will have much more on this next week but the motion was “This House Believes that Robots will Run (and Rule) Procurement by 2020”.

And I know you are all desperate to know the result. Well … the robots lost convincingly! The motion was defeated comfortably, and that’s the second debate in a row I’ve been speaking on the losing side. Are our audiences trying to tell me something? But thanks to everyone who came and to SAPAriba for sponsoring an excellent evening.


We had a last minute panic when one of our speakers fell ill – get well soon Sarah. That left us with Jason Busch moving from Chair to speaker, in which role he performed with his usual flair – but we do apologise for the all-male speaking roster! Not what we intended, and watch out senior women of procurement, next time we have a debate we’re coming after you for speaking slots.  But our considerable thanks to David Smith who stepped in as Chair at the last minute and carried out his duties in his usual inimitable ad often hilarious manner. We are very grateful to him for doing that.


It is a very small world – Jason and I met with Simon Dadswell of Proactis  this week for an interesting update about their major acquisition – which we wrote about here. Later that same day, we met with Coupa, including Mark McCarthy, Regional VP of Sales. Turns out he – and his father – were two of the founders of Proactis, way back in 1996 when he was fresh out of university. He gave us some fascinating history about the firm and he and I worked out we were at some of the very same gigs in Leeds (at the famous Duchess of York) around 1995-6 when he was a student and I was working there with the DSS!


I’m afraid that having Jason here this week rather got in the way of our normal diligence in terms of featuring news items of interest and relevance to procurement. That included the publication of the “Good Work” report – The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices. That is of interest not only to the thousands of procurement folk who work as contractors and “self-employed” consultants, but also to every contingent labour category manager and procurement leader whose organisation employs significant numbers of contractors.  If you want to get ahead of the game, you can read it here, or look out for our coverage next week.


Two years ago, the debut album from Wolf Alice was the 2015 Spend Matters Album of the Year. Their follow-up is due to be released soon, and the first two tracks from it sound pretty good. Might they have another contender this year?

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