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.