Down the Procurement Stadium with BravoSolution, the Falklands, Carillion, Roomex and Superorganism

Thanks to BravoSolution and everyone who came to their workshop at the amazing Principality Stadium in Cardiff on Wednesday at which I spoke and ran a round-table discussion. I’m sure nobody turned up just for the stadium tour, but it was very interesting and impressive – as is Cardiff as a city. We talked about risk and governance at the event, with a focus on the utilities industry, and we also had a very interesting session on GDPR from DocuSign. We’ll have more on that next week. Not so many thanks however to Great Western Rail whose train thoroughly broke down at Bristol and made the journey home somewhat lengthy and tedious. We say - renationalise the Railways! Now!

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Carillion, the construction and property management firm, has gone through a troubled last year or so that has seen its shares collapse to just 18p from 250p a year ago. That gives the firm a valuation of less than £80 million. This week, the government was criticised for continuing to award contracts to the firm given their parlous financial position. But it’s a tricky balance; no-one really wants to see them go under, and they operate in markets that aren’t particularly competitive anyway. One fewer supplier would not be good news for the buy-side – so what is the government to do? Answers on a postcard please!

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Thanks also to everyone who participated in our webinar this week with hotel booking platform providers Roomex, looking at digitalisation of the travel world. We’ll have more on that next week, and we might even tell you our Apfel Strudel story, one of the more interesting “stakeholder interactions” I’ve had in my career! Perhaps we will start a new series – what is the funniest / daftest stakeholder request or complaint you’ve ever had?

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It would take a lot to tempt me back into a “corporate” procurement role (and I don’t suppose anyone would want me after so long away from line management) but this advert did make me look twice. How about being a Procurement Adviser to the Falklands Islands government for a year? Develop their strategy, and generally be the “chief commercial officer” in all but name ... "managing sustainable procurement initiatives and coordinating procurement throughout Government, monitoring internal procurement systems, supporting departmental procurement projects, providing procurement advice to staff and negotiating new supply agreements and renegotiating existing supply agreements".

Salary is “competitive”, tax is low, flights will be paid, and you get to work with some brilliant penguins! Seriously though, it could be a fascinating year for someone with the right attitude and at the appropriate stage of their career / life. I’m almost tempted …

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The Public Accounts Committee issued a damning report on the Hinkley Point nuclear programme. One shocking aspect is that the UK’s nuclear power strategy has not been considered by government since 2008 – not surprisingly, quite a lot has happened since then in technology and energy market terms, not least the rapidly falling price of renewable energy, which all makes the Hinkley deal look worse and worse for the British taxpayer. When the current politicians making these decisions become George Osborne-type millionaires when they leave office and get lucrative jobs elsewhere, perhaps we can claw back a few million from them in recompense for how much their decisions on Hinkley have cost the country?

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Sad to hear of the death of David Cassidy this week, but we decided not to go with him in terms of the video here – well, musically he wasn’t our thing really. Tragic though that someone idolised by millions of young women – something most of us young men of his era would have thought was a dream – brought him so much unhappiness.

So, thanks to the BBC Later show (check that performance out here) for bringing this hot newish London-based but highly international band / arts collective to our attention. Superorganism are hotly tipped and while they are too quirky we suspect for massive success, we very much like music that can loosely be described as “dynamic, tuneful but slightly bonkers”, and this lot certainly fall into that category. (Tilly and the Wall with their tap-dancing percussionist were a big fave a few years back). Here is Superorganism anyway with a crazy video too.

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