Might the Royal Wedding need some procurement help?

10 am, Thursday April 28th. I was in my run down office, on the dark side of Camberley High Street, making the last dregs of a quart of rye last me to lunchtime, and wondering how we’d pay this month’s rent, when I got the call.

“Hi Peter, Fiona Huntingdon-Nicely here from Spenrick Korngers. How are you doing?”

I’d never spoken to her before, but the cut-glass accent and the swish of long, immaculately cut blond hair, discernible even down the line, told me she was a researcher for a top head-hunting firm.

I’ve learnt to cut to the chase with people like her.

“OK babe, what have you got for me?”

“Well, we know you’re the hardest PCO in town, and we think we’ve got a role that would really fit your skills perfectly”.

“You mean CPO. Not PCO. Procurement. That’s my thing”.

“Yah, sorry, yah, CPO. Anyway, it’s incredibly urgent – are you free tomorrow? And I can’t tell you who the client is, but here’s a hint – HRH”.

I thought quickly.

“Henley Royal Regatta? Hi-tech Resource Hotshots? Harrogate and Rotherham Hotels?”

“No silly. You know!  HRH! Her Majesty”.

So finally she tells me; HRH is worried about some wedding going on tomorrow in town. Thinks that some procurement aspects have been missed. Contracts not negotiated properly. Suppliers ready to disrupt the ceremony by complaining about unpaid bills. That sort of thing. Needs a man on the ground, in the mix, where the action is. A man who knows how to let a contract in a tight spot. When to play nice with the vendor, when to use reverse auctions, and when to hold the supplier’s feet to the fire. And I’m talking real feet, real fires. Hot fires.

“So are you on for it? It’s a very short assignment – 24 hours from tonight. But we’ll pay twice your normal rate.”

“What, £150 a day”?

“Yes. And of course we’ll want you at the Abbey, just in case... but only a single ticket I’m afraid”.

Just as well, I thought. Wouldn’t know which of my girls to take. And I wouldn’t want to upset Fifi, Bree, Helga, Winona or Angelina.

“Ok babe, you got me. When do I start”?

“Be at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel tonight, Hyde Park, 8pm. You’ll get more information then.”

So, readers of Spend Matters – I’ll be Tweeting and Blogging live tomorrow from the wedding, giving you the inside story on procurement issues as they arise throughout the great day – follow me here and on Twitter @gpetersmith!

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Voices (2)

  1. Christine Morton:

    If you weave a story in there about the stationery contract (“will it cover gilt stationery? who is writing the thank-you cards?”) I will stop being a fangirl of your blog, Peter. Please please please please please can you stop writing about stationery?

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