Thursday, 19 December 2013

Season's greetings

The last quarter of 2013 has been tremendously busy, and writing on the blog has taken the brunt of the prioritisation.
I'll be back in 2014, when there will be information about a range of training courses that I shall be running during the year, and about the consultancy services that I can offer.

Hope 2014 is better for you than 2013.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

IChemE - Engineering Procurement

My first Engineering Procurement course for IChemE is next week, on Wednesday 25th September 2013 in Rugby.  There are still places available, but we are more or less full.
We have already booked the date for next year - but will be nearly a full year later on Tuesday 16th September 2014.  So if you are interested, then get in touch quick.  I see that the event is being promoted on LinkedIn - but of course that might just be to me.

Hope to see you there - Booking is through the IChemE website here.

Repeat of Connecting Manufacturing 2013

The first event was a big success, so we are repeating it on Wednesday 20th November 2013.
Venue will again be The Shay, in Halifax, and it is again part of Business Growth Calderdale.  Participation is free.
More details to follow.

Bid Writing in Calderdale

The Third of our 2 day tenders and bid writing courses is starting at the Shay in Halifax on Monday.
This one is full, in fact it is oversubscribed, but there is one more free event being supported by the Business Growth Calderdale project - 21/22 November 2013.
Those 2 days are straight after our second Connecting Manufacturing event at the Shay on 20th November, and will be free to Calderdale companies thanks to support from Calderdale Council.

If you miss those dates, then we shall be running the event again in 2014 - 17/18 February.  But your are going to have to pay for those, which are being run on a commercial basis by the University of Bradford School of Management.  The good news is that they are open to any business

I am also doing a 1 day course on Pricing for UoB on Thursday 17th July 2014.  Don't ask me about the prices, because I don't know yet.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Business Matters - The Public Procurement Scandal

Interesting article here.  My response is in the comments, and below.

The situation is both better and worse than you describe. The government has changed its 25% SME target from an aim, to an ambition and currently an aspiration. Presumably next year it will be a vague hope. It includes in its definition of SMEs the PPI companies established to run very large projects, which are not the sort of SMEs we all think of.
On the positive side, Francis Maude of the Cabinet Office (and David Cameron) do not appear to have forgotten the aim, despite Eric Pickles drive to consolidate spends (usually with larger suppliers).
Also many of the councils are recognising the benefits of using small (local) contractors, and some such as Leeds City Council have done away with the financial constraints on turnover and insurance for small contracts.
What you have to remember though is that Public procurement is NOT the same as private procurement - the priorities always have to be legal compliance, avoidance of corruption, and a fair, open and defendable process. Value for money inevitably comes further down the list than it does in business. We all contribute to that - when public procurement goes wrong we immediately ask questions about how and why people spent our money, rather than recognising it was a commercial decision that had some risk and didn't pay off (as we might in our own businesses). That contributes to a "backside covering first" approach in public procurement.
Public rules (apart from turnover and insurance) don't need to be shifted in favour of SMES so much as they need to know how to win business, and the contracts/tenders themselves need to be developed in such a way that SMEs can compete. That is process not legislation.
I'm a big believer in SMEs being involved in Public Sector work, and the government can do more to support it, by for example doing more to explain how it works - it is NOT the  same as B2B.

Incidentally, yesterday was the second of our 2 day Bid Writing and Tendering courses run on behalf of Business Growth Calderdale, for University of Bradford School of Management Knowledge Transfer Network.  A free council supported event to give SMEs the information to help them win tenders (including for the public sector). Two more are planned - September and November 2013 - free to Calderdale SMEs.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Further dates for tendering course

The dates 3/4 June are now full but there will be a further course 29/30th July, and again in September/ October.  All free to Calderdale companies

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Free Bidding and Tendering workshop 3/4 June 2013 - University of Bradford

Winning business is essential at any time, but particularly in the current economic situation.  Many valuable contracts are awarded through tendering, in both the private and public sector.  However the tender process can be complicated and off-putting, and many businesses do not bid for winnable contracts because of the paperwork.  Many other businesses do not win the contracts they should because they lose out to less competent firms with better bid writing skills.

This course aims to help companies win lucrative business through tendering, and to improve their success rate at both the approval and contract award stages. 

The course is run by Dr. Paul Wright MCIPS, co-author of Excellence in Public Sector Procurement, who has experience of both writing and scoring bids.  This practical 2 day event, to help you to improve your tendering success rate.  The course will cover principles of both private and public sector processes, and draw on real examples and case studies. 

Delegates are invited to bring along their own examples of both bids and tenders for group discussion, and will form personal action plans for improving bidding success rate.

To book on the workshop contact

These workshops are delivered by the Knowledge Transfer Network@Calderdale and are part of the Business Growth Calderdale programme, part financed by the European Union. The project has attracted £1.1 million from the Yorkshire and Humber European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Programme 2007-2013.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Digital and Marketing Mixer 21st March 2013

The Connecting Manufacturing event at the Shay in Halifax was a big success, and we are following it up with a Digital and Marketing industries mixer at the same venue on Thursday 21st March 2013.  See the flier below.

Knowledge Transfer Networks
Bradford University School of Management

These workshops are free and are delivered by the Knowledge Transfer Network@Calderdale and are part of the Business Growth Calderdale programme, part financed by the European Union. The project has attracted £1.1 million from the Yorkshire and Humber European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Programme 2007-2013.

The Digital and Marketing Mixer

21st March at the Shay stadium in Halifax.
Registration for delegates will start at about 8.45am and the event will run through to 12.30pm

If you are having difficulty with strategy and marketing; sales or brand; if web and e-commerce are hanging like a weight around your neck. This is your chance to ask the daft questions, get some guidance and search for some solutions all in one neat bundle.

The ‘Digital and Marketing Mixer’ event on the 21st March at the Shay stadium in Halifax. It will run 9.00 a.m. though until 12.30. Registration for delegates will start at about 8.45am.

It will be pretty fluid on the day but it would be helpful if you could indicate what your interest at the event might be:

·        Look for collaborations (some indication of specialist areas or skills you might be looking to link with)
·        Question an expert panel about a digital or marketing related topics (half an hour)
·        Air a problem in an advice clinic and get some concise advice (15minutes or so)!
·        Look for suppliers and customers
·        Listen to some development presentations (presentations will focus on sales, social media and PR).

There are no costs or fees for attendees as it’s fully supported by the European Regional Development Fund and by Calderdale Council under the Business Growth Calderdale initiative. It doesn’t matter if you come from outside Calderdale you can still attend.

The idea is to bring together lots of marketing, e-commerce, applications, software, PR and design businesses in one place to show the strength of the region and to create some opportunities to build partnerships and strategic alliances and get some business done.

If you want to register for the event please reply to in the first instance by email and we will get someone to contact you.

Thanks and hopefully see you soon.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

UK government procurement review

The National Audit Office has issued a new review of UK Government Procurement - see here.  (Thanks to Peter Smith and Spend Matters for pointing it out).

I've not read it is detail but a couple of quick points - the number of government procurement posts is down 17% (from 3900 to 3200).  That suggests a wages bill cutting approach to cost savings, though the number of CIPS qualified staff is up (which indicates a more professional approach).

The report states that there is £45bn of central government procurement each year, only £3bn of which goes through central contracts (about 7%).  From those they have saved £426m, or about 1% of total spend but a remarkable 14% of spend through those contracts.  Obviously not all central spend can go through central contracts, but the opportunity for savings is clearly significant.  Assuming those ratios could be maintained if we got say 20% of procurement under central contracts we could save £1bn.  Which is worth having.

Spend with SME is estimated at 10% in 2011/2, with a target of 25% by 2015.  I might be accused of negativity, but that is not going to happen.  The benefits arising from SMEs is real but diffuse and difficult to measure.  If it is difficult to get government departments to sign up to something that would save £1bn, then how much harder is it to get them to sign up to a programme of using SMEs?

The tension between centralisation and encouring SMEs is set to continue.

Connecting Manufacturing 28th February 2013

The event for tomorrow is looking good (famous last words).  About 130 attendees, 27 stands, 11 Meet the Buyer stalls.

Let's hope it generates more business for people in the region.

Twitter @pawa51

I have started a Twitter feed @pawa51.
Please tell me if I am doing it wrong.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Update on Connecting Manufacturing 28th Feb 2013

We shall have 10 Buyers, about 30 exhibitors, more than 100 delegates, and 4 presentations.

I am giving 2 of them, which may or may not increase the attractiveness of the event to you.  But they are both short.

The presentations are;

o           Presentation 1: Making the Most of your 10 minutes, Paul Wright MD of PAWA Consulting

o           Presentation 2: Dragons for Breakfast, Chris Hopkins MD of Ploughcroft Ltd.

o           Presentation 3: Cost to Serve, Simon Hopkins, MD Hatmill Ltd.

o           Presentation 4: Innovation, Paul Wright, PAWA Consulting Ltd.

Further information below;

To book send an e-mail to

I am not a Spambot

Idly writing a comment on another blog (I have 2 books, 2 presentations, one course, and a marketing document to write so of course I am commenting on other blogs!) and had to prove I am not a robot by filling in Capatcha.

Recently I have struggled to buy things online because of Internet Banking Security (I didn't notice I had caps lock on, and ended up blocking my card), and at an ePOS machine (didn't have my glasses on so didn't realise until too late that I was using the wrong one of 2 nearly identical cards).

It makes me wonder how long it will be before the Spam and Hacking bots are better at getting through Internet security than the average person. And then what are we going to do?

(The first person to say I am getting old will be correct)

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Digital and Marketing Mixer 21st Feb 2013

After we have finished with the Connecting Manufacturing event at the Shay in Halifax on 28th March 2013 (still taking bookings if you are interested), we shall be running a Marketing and Digital Industries mixer event at the same venue on 21st March.

Contact me for details, or wait until I can put them on this site.

Monday, 11 February 2013

The future of training and consultancy

Here are a few notes on the future of the training and consulting industries that I wrote for some of my colleagues in industry group.  I would be very interested in other people's views.

I know that on-line learning is becoming more prevalent but at least on a time scale relevant to us (say 20 years) I don’t think it is going to kill off face to face training.
I am not being complacent but have the following views;
1.      Online training sounds good but needs strong self motivation  - I know I am not doing as much on my on-line Arabic course as I should
2.      People have different learning styles and the interaction at physical events is appropriate to some – others will be happy with reading
3.      The time away from the office allows learning in a focused environment
4.      The time away from the office allows from a jolly day away from the office (a big thing in the Middle East!)
5.      It is not easy to codify all the relevant experience and knowledge
6.      Presenters can tailor material to audiences (currently) better than on line systems
7.      The interaction with other delegates is often beneficial
8.      Training is often quite a lot of fun – more than an online version
9.      The advantages of e-learning are cost, ease of delivery, and consistency of delivery.  However we often irrationally value things we pay more for more than cheaper things, and the ease of delivery may make it easy to put it off, consistency can mean a “one size fits all” approach – which as we know means it actually fits very few.

The same discussion can also apply to consultancy  - why don’t people just read a book instead of bringing in an expert?  In future will they just go to expert systems?  Many of the thing we consult about are actually known concepts – you can get them from a book – but there is (at least currently) an advantage to bringing in an external advisor.  In future it will be easier to get the data, but the knowledge of how to apply it will reside in individuals for a while.

So over time I expect there will be a big shift away from individuals to on-line resources, and the opportunities for people like us will come in developing and testing innovative ideas and potentially academic research (assuming students are also mainly being taught on-line).  But that is probably beyond my timeline.  The key differentiators then would probably be profile (people will pay for a world leading consultant), contacts (people will hire people they know), style (people hire “people like us” and people they like), and innovation (something new to give them an edge in a world where everyone has the same basic information).

William Gibson said “the future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed”.  I feel the same about knowledge, and see our role as helping the distribution process.  Books (paper or online) are not enough.

Your views may differ.