Buying Just Like The Ancient Greeks

I was asked to review a book by Paul Snell at Supply Management.  The book is called Buying Just Like the Ancient Greeks by Bob Soames (Buy Research Publications, £12.50). If you’d like to read my review then follow the like below:

Buying Just Like the Ancient Greeks, Bob Soames, Buy Research Publications, £12.50


CHC is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a contract to work with ENRC, a leading global mining company. ENRC has grown rapidly through acquisition since it was listed on the London stock exchange in 2008. CHC will be helping ENRC develop its procurement capability and standardise processes across its businesses in Europe, Central Asia, Africa and South America.

Job done

CHC is pleased to announce that the work at Veolia has come to a successful conclusion. Over the past year Angus has transitioned 5  businesses from United Utilities, helped with the start up “Vennsys” and led the project governance and procurement for a business tranformation programme. Gary Booth, Director of Procurement said that ”he was able to hit the ground running, build excellent working relationships and deliver against a broad range of objectives. He is a versatile and knowledgeable procurement professional who is able to deliver projects in a short space of time while taking everyone with him.”

CIPS SM Awards 2011

CHC would like to congratulate all those who won awards at the CIPS Supply Management Awards on Wednesday night, particularly the Olympic Delivery Authority who were the overall winners. CHC would also like to recognise all those that entered but were unsuccessful. It take a lot of time and effort to enter and it is disappointing to not to walk off with an award. CIPS vice president David Smith provided the music, while comedian Miranda Hart provided the laughs. The Grosvenor House Hotel is a spectacular venue and it was a great evening.

One bad apple spoils the bunch

Most large companies use hundreds of suppliers located around the world. It is hard for companies to keep track of these suppliers and the damage that they might be doing. Big brands are often targeted by campaigners so Apple was in familiar straits this week when it faced accusations that some of its Chinese contractors were polluting the environment. Ironically, brands can be damaged much more quickly now than in the past due to the success of smart phones such as the iPhone. Michael Skapinker highlights the risks of suppliers not adhering to recognised standards in his article in the FT yesterday called “Time for Apple to open up its factories”.

Read more:,Authorised=false.html?

Breaking with tradition

Here’s a great example of procurement listening to the business’s needs and adopting an innovative approach to selecting a supplier (Breaking with Tradition, Supply Management 11 August 2011). Last year, UBS built a new 700,000 square foot office in the heart of city of London. A strategic review resulted in a requirement to source a new partner in mechanical and electrical engineering (M&E) maintenance services and award a 10-year contract worth around £60 million. The procurement team set about the task by looking for every opportunity to engage with suppliers and gain a deep understanding of the market. Taking the time to meet with a range of suppliers, running well prepared workshops with some of those suppliers and finally visiting a couple of client sites would have given the procurement team a great insight into the options available. If you want to read more about it click on the link below:

Outsourcing is down but not out

Over the past few decades, outsourcing has transformed global business. It is estimated that 1 in 10 workers in the UK have  “outsourced” jobs and companies spend $200 billion a year on it. Procurement has played a central role in this transformation.

Recent data suggests that companies in mature markets like the UK and US may be outsourcing less and adopting approaches that are less risky. The Economist reports that the total value of outsourced contracts for the second quarter of 2011 fell by 18% compared to the same period the year before. Poor delivery and the high cost of resolving legal disputes have led companies to choose smaller, more flexible outsourcing contracts.

For more information read ”The trouble with outsourcing” in the Economist on 30 July 2011.

Networking in procurement

Networking is an important aspect of my professional life and something that I enjoy so I’m surprised when people recoil from it.  Despite the growth of networking sites like LinkedIn and events by organisations like CIPS I find a lot of people who still feel that networking is about being pushy or self promoting, particularly junior procurement professionals or those that have been in the procurement profession for a long time. The lack of experience outside the procurement profession and regular contact with over familiar sales people perhaps blinds them to the potential benefits of meeting new and different people in a professional capacity.

I was interested to read the recently published article called “In with the in crowd” in the Summer 2011 edition of CPO Agenda which outlines the benefits and gives some tips. The benefits highlighted include improving market knowledge, raising the profile of procurement and improving the chances of getting a better job.  There are tips about developing a strategy and combining face-to-face and online networking. It’s a short article and well worth a read.

How to make meetings work for you

I’m often asked to chair or facilitate meetings. Given the nature of the CHC’s work, people attending the meetings often come from different organisations and different functions with in those organisations. To make things more complicated, I may not have met them before the meeting. For example, I was asked to chair couple of  meetings this week with directors from the client. I’ve only recently met the directors and their teams so it was challenging assignment. I learnt a lot about them from the way they interacted with each other and am now in a better position to delivery the desired output.

I was interested to read Alison Smith’s recent blog in Supply Management (How to make meetings work for you, 2 June) where she shares tips to get everyone in the right mood. Alison recognises that people have different moods or states of mind and these can help or hinder achieving the desired outcome. I’m a strong believer in ice breakers for team meetings; the team members enjoy doing an activity together, they get the chance to put day to day issues to one side and become more creative. Here are Alison’s 2 strategies:

  • Ask the attendees what states would be useful to achieve the outcome, and use this list as a reminder throughout the meeting when other less helpful states appear.
  • Ask attendees to each pick one from a selection of beneficial states for them to be responsible for bringing into the meeting, or even ask them to share a time in the past when they’ve expressed that state.

I’ve put Alison’s suggestions into action and found that the meeting was much more productive. The attendees were a bit fazed at the beginning but welcomed the new approach and made a greater contribution. And we managed to have a few laughs.

Bristol Water whets appetite for more deals

Given CHC’s experience in the water industry, it was interesting to read in the Financial Times today that Citigroup has been appointed to advise on the possible sale of Bristol Water (Bristol Water whets appetite for more deals, 9 June 2011). According to the FT, Agbar, the Spanish water specialist majority owned by Suez Environnement, should get £370m for the utility. If the sale is successful, then it will be the first deal in the privatised UK industry since the financial crisis and may mark the start of a fresh round of acquisitions.,Authorised=false.html?

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