Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Paul Wright Logistics

Just to help clear any confusion - PAWA Consulting Ltd has no links to Paul Wright Logistics, despite the fact that both work in Logistics and are owned by a Paul Wright. In fact, I had never heard of them until someone rang me up looking for them - and so I have no idea about their activities

This adds another potential confusion, as in the Sports business world I am occasionally confused with Paul Wright, the Head of Business Development at Sky Media. To try and avoid that I try to give my name as Dr Paul A Wright - not that it always works.

I never realised what a common name I had. A cursory Google search shows that there are also Paul Wright's working in naval logistics, estates agents and as a Christian Rockstar in the USA.
Maybe in future we will all have to give our children unusual names.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Hold your horses...

The economic news is relentlessly bad - rising prices, rising inflation, credit crunch, falling house prices. So like any sensible purchasing consultant I have been dusting off material from the last slow down, looking to have answers for clients who want to know what to do during a recession.

However during the course I ran earlier in the week, the topic never came up (and only came up once in the previous course). Far more important to the delegates was the management of relationships with suppliers, and with customers.

Just a reminder to all of us that while it is good to be prepared, we can't focus on one issue when others might be more important - even if that single issue is the state of the economy.

Friday, 6 June 2008

The Gathering storm

During a course last week a delegate asked a very interesting question - they often do. Even though we were talking about Supply Chain Management, he was wondering what would happen to sales prices for their company during the much predicted forthcoming economic down turn. He had already described the company as having a unique technology, and so the answer I gave was that prices should be firm but volumes may be doubtful. Their customers may decide not to carry out projects, but if they do carry them out they would have to buy from my delegate's company and though the customers may try to put pressure on prices in reality the choice is buy or don't do the project. A good salesman should be able to resist price pressures in those circumstances - at worst giving away a little to maintain good relationships.

The problem for sellers in a downturn is always discrecenary spend - do we need to buy a new tv, car, shirt? Or can we make the existing one last a little longer? That is where there is real downwards pressure on prices.

An interesting view on this was given by the economist Elizabeth Warren in a speech that I came across in David Hepworth's blog (founder of Word Magazine). It helps to explain why at the end of a long boom we don't feel better off - many of us have a huge personal financial committment, and little discretionary spend. So, we are much more exposed to the consequences of a downturn than previous generations even though materially we are better off.

A long but interesting lecture, even though it is focussed on the American rather than European middle classes.