Saturday, 8 November 2014

November Innovation course cancelled/postponed

Sorry but the 2 day innovation course we were going to run at RE Centre in November has been cancelled because of funding issues.

We hope we can rearrange this for Q1 2015, but that would be as a fee based open course - possibly cut back to one day.  If we can sort this out we shall make it as affordable as possible, because we know people were interested (and had booked) the funded event.

If you are interested then please let me know (no commitment) so that we can see whether we can make it happen in the next few months.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Innovation and NPD 2 day workshop 20 November 2014 and 2nd December

I shall be running a two day Innovation and New Product Development course at the Re:Centre in Bradford on Thursday 20th November and Tuesday 2nd December 2014.
Slightly odd dates, but that was the only way to fit it into this year.
The days are separated so that we can work on the basics and principles on the first day, and then really get down to how to make in happen in the second day.

The event is free if you are an eligible company (if not sure then do contact the Re:Centre to check- if you are based in Yorkshire you are likely to be eligible).

Hope to see you there.
Booking details will be on the Re:Centre website.

Friday, 10 October 2014


For BIP Solutions I shall be running Introduction to Procurement in Birmingham on 22nd October, and then Competitive Dialogue on the 23rd.   Need to confirm the venue, but it will probably be etc Venues, which is very nice and near the statue of the Boy Himself (Tony Hancock).
I don't expect that anyone will go to both (one being an Introduction, and the other being a rather specialised course) but I will be very pleased to see you there at whichever is appropriate.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Procurex Dublin - 30th September 2014

I shall be running some sessions at Procurex Ireleand in Dublin on Tuesday 30th September for BIP Solutions.  I will also have free time between sessions, and hope to meet a lot of Buyers and suppliers during the day.  Hope to see you there.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Procurex Dublin - 30th September 2014

I shall be at Procurex in Dublin, which I am sure will be a great event and a great time.  I will be helping out on the BIP Solutions stand, and doing some presentations - details to be worked out nearer the time.
Hope to see you there.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Pricing Workshop postponed from 14th July 2014

The Pricing Workshop scheduled for the 16th July for the University of Bradford has been postponed or cancelled.  The reason is that there was so much interest in the Public Procurement evening that it is being  built on with another event on Monday

I shall be helping out on that rather than running a lead in to the Pricing workshop, which we hope to reschedule for later in the year (but no promises).

Here are details about the Knowledge Transfer event.
Knowledge Transfer Networks
Business solutions and executive development opportunities from a Globally recognised Business School here in the heart of Yorkshire.
FREE Knowledge Transfer Network Evenings
In partnership with
Bradford Metropolitan District Council
Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council
Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council
Wakefield Metropolitan District Council
‘Working with council procurement.’
14th July 2014
Arthur Francis Lecture Theatre, Bradford University School of Management,
5.30 - 6.00pm registration - 6.00pm Evening speakers - 7.30pm Food - Networking.
After coffee on arrival, the evening offers you direct access to insights on this management theme through our speakers. Later, you can network with people over a nibble (or two) and share experiences. For us it’s not about the networking it’s about the knowledge and the insight we can all develop.
Speaker topics:
Procurement Myth Busters
 Breakout sessions on
Tips for successful tendering
European Union Directives
Social Value
This evening is about finding out what is on the horizon in procurement from your local councils but also about finding out more about how they work, what drives them and correcting some of the myths about process and actions you need to engage in to work with them. The will be plenty of chances to air views and to ask…well the daft questions about what to do and how to do it. There will be some break-out sessions to look at different topic areas too.
For more information or to book on the event please contact

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Procurex North 29 April 2014

On my way.  Will be giving 5 presentations.  I hope to see you there.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The coming Spring: Procurement and the Recovery

The evidence is stacking up that the UK is in recovery mode.  Now there are a couple of points about that. Firstly, it may not feel like a recovery – but my experience is that it never does until the recovery has been going for a year or two.  Maybe more.  Secondly the recovery is never uniform.  Rather like my favourite quote “the future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed” (William Gibson) all recoveries start off patchy before they “float all boats”.  So there are going to be mixed recessionary and growth signals for months to come. 

So what does this mean for procurement?  Well it requires a bit of thinking and a change of behaviour. 

When your popcorn is ready to eat the rate of pops drops, but if you wait for them to stop altogether you have overcooked it. If you wait for all signs of recession to be gone you will be in the midst of the boom.  The number of suppliers going out of business will drop, but some will still fail even though the finish line is in front of them.  Continue to be careful about the financial health of suppliers.  The recovery can finish off some companies because of the need to increase capacity, hire new staff, and rising input prices which is hell for the Cashflow.

The recession was all about forcing down prices, and costs out.  This often meant wage freezes and hiring freezes.  So there is no pent up demand for wage rises, which will eventually have an impact on prices.  Suppliers are going to be much less willing to agree bottom rates in return for guaranteed work – a long contract could leave them exposed.

A lot of suppliers mothballed or closed capacity during the recession.  This means firstly that they have to invest to re-open that capacity, and secondly that there might be supply shortages.  Both of these will also tend to increase prices, but availability might be low.  Suppliers will sensibly bottom slice their lowest margin business, so if you are still in “recession mode” pressing for the lowest possible price then you might struggle for supply.  Once survival is guaranteed suppliers are going to look for the “fat” to put on their bones for next time.

Many suppliers ran staffing at minimum levels.  As the recovery develops the job market will open up, and staff will be looking for promotions just as suppliers need more personnel to cope with increasing demand.  So again there are likely to be price rises and gaps.

And suppliers may no longer be quite so keen on your work.  If there is more to go round, they can be more selective.  If they have a limited supply and can get good prices wherever they go, then they will select customers on other critieria – like how you treated them during the recession.  It’s a bit late to worry about the consequences of that now, but you might want to find ways to apologise for beating them with a big stick for the past 5 years.  Or of course to remind people about your support of them during hard times.

So, just remember that things are changing, and change is dangerous.  Make sure you are not stuck in the mind set of the past five or six years and suffer as a result.
(The cherry blossom in Leeds always told me that Spring was on the way or here already)

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Course: Guide to Public Procurement, London Thursday 13th March 2014

Apologies for the short notice, but I shall be in London on Thursday running the Guide to Public Procurement, and Passing the PQQ stage (2 separate half day events).  Details are here.

Looks like there would be room for one or two more delegates, but no more.  So if you are interested please get in touch asap.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Course: Advanced Purchasing Management in KL

I am due to run a 5 day course on Advanced Purchasing Management in Kuala Lumpur from 24th March 2014 to 28th March.   I am told that there are still places available, so if you are interested then please get in touch.

In this course I try to go beyond the basic principles of Purchasing and of Management to look at how to motivate your team to get great results, and how you can advance your career by ensuring the role of Procurement is valued and recognised in your organisation.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Procurement Risk and Scottish Independence

First of all I should declare that I am genuinely interested in the topic of Scottish independence.  My wife is Scottish, and so is my daughter (though her twin brother is English – don’t ask).  My personal preference is for a continued Union, but we need to recognise that there is a considerable percentage of the population of Scotland that seeks independence.  Regardless of the desirability of independence, it is a possible outcome of the referendum in November 2014, and so businesses should be considering the impact on their businesses.  Procurement and Supply Chain personnel in particular should be drawing up outline contingency plans.
Standard Life has drawn up a contingency plan to move its operations to England in the event of independence, and this has predictably created a political storm.  However it is only sensible to consider the options, whether or not the consequences of that are politically sensitive.

Given that one of the parties in the government is committed to an in/out referendum on membership of the European Union in 2017, some of the same issues will need to be considered ahead of that.  3 years till a referendum, and 5 years or so till a Brexit (as it is called) may seem like a long time, but it should still be a factor in long term supply chain considerations.
What are the issues?  Well, some/all of the following, and probably some more I have missed.

 -     Currency of transactions £/EU/£S – and exchange rates
-      EU membership (Scotland and Britain)
-      Legal basis of contracts (already an issue - are you aware of the differnce between English and Scottish business law?)
-        Formal barriers to trade
-        Soft barriers to trade e.g. Buy Scottish/ Buy English campaigns
-        Interest rates
-        Transport/customs
-        Infrastructure/cost of doing business
-        Personnel/skills movements  - the brain drain vs. immigration
-        Resentment/politics
-        Refocusing of market efforts
-        Decline of “UK national” coverage
-        Time zones
-        Interest rates/cost of living
-        Economic impact
-        National and nationalist politics
-        Procurement legislation (as set by the EU, and applied by different national governments, and as guidedd by the WTO agreement on public procurement 1996, and re-negotiated in 2011)

Thursday, 27 February 2014


This is one of those things that seems simple until you start to think about it.  Or maybe you always think it is difficult.  Either way it is one of the keys to success for any organisation.
I am going to do a couple of events about it later in the year - an evening event for Bradford University School of Management on Monday 14th July which will be free.  A couple of days later I shall run a full one day workshop on Wednesday 16th July 2014.

More details to follow.  If you are interested in either event then let me know and I shall make sure you have all the information.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Bidding and Tender Writing Course 17/18 February 2014

I am running the 2 day Bidding and Tender Writing course again on Monday/Tuesday 17/18 February 2014 in Bradford.
This event has been very well received in the past, and I have added some more practical exercises to make it even more helpful in writing your own bids.

This event is already full (sorry), but if you are interested then let me know and it will increase the chances of us running another event later in the year.  The event is run by Bradford University School of Management Knowledge Transfer Network, and there is a fee for attending.  However if you are in Bradford or Calderdale the University does try hard to find alternative funding to cover the costs - no promises though.

If there are enough people interested in your organisation we can run the event in-house (wherever you are) as a cost effective way of improving your bid writing skills.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Procurex North 29th April 2014

I am pleased to annouce that I shall be speaking at Procurex North in Manchester for BIP Solutions.
Always an interesting event, and I'm not the only speaker so you won't get bored!
Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Working with Procurement - Monday 10th February 2014

Further details as promised;

'Working with procurement’

10th February 2014
Arthur Francis Lecture Theatre, Bradford University School of Management,
5.00 - 5.45pm registration - 5.45pm Evening speakers - 7.15pm Food - Networking.

After coffee on arrival, the evening offers you direct access to insights on this management theme through our speakers. Later, you can network with people over a nibble (or two) and share experiences. For us it’s not about the networking it’s about the knowledge and the insight we can all develop.


Paul Wright
Managing Director
PAWA Consulting

Jamie Ashton
Managing Director
Projex Solutions Ltd

This evening will examine strategy and purchasing within an organisation and also provide pointers on how to effectively engage in the tendering process, making the best of opportunities that present themselves to your business (particularly in dealing with larger businesses) and how to deal with them. Jamie Ashton will talk about the experience of SMEs working with larger  businesses and offer some thoughts on the best way to engage in supply chains and tendering opportunities.

For more information or to book on the event please contact:                                                                                                                      

Business solutions and executive development opportunities from a Globally recognised Business School here in the heart of Yorkshire.

Number 1 Business School in the North of England (Financial Times).

In partnership with FSB

Monday, 20 January 2014

Monday 10th February 2014 - University of Bradford School of Management

I should be talking for free that evening about Purchasing.  I say should because my co-presenter has had to drop out at short notice, and until we have sorted out the replacement things are a bit up in the air.

More information as it comes available at;

Monday, 13 January 2014

Life balance

I know that I am far too late on this to have any influence, but I wish we could start talking about Life Balance, rather than Work/Life balance.

When you think that your  work is something other different to your life,  you immediately have a problem.

What we need to be doing is balancing the elements in our lives, or which work is one.