Reflection and New Beginnings


By: Dr Kath Ringwald, Director, The Procurement Best Practice Academy- CSCOPE

As Christmas approaches and the end of 2013 is in sight, it is traditional to look back over the year and reflect on the highs and lows that have occurred.

For procurement professionals this year started with a bang – the horsemeat scandal which broke in January put supply chains and global sourcing on the front page of every newspaper and website. Suddenly everyone was interested in supply chains – particularly those that started in remote abbatoires in Eastern Europe and ended up in the freezers of British households, including the Queen’s own kitchens. Now, 11 months on, there have been no prosecutions or fines and we still do not know how the horsemeat found its way into our weekly shop. Enquiries and police investigations continue, but as one MP said this week ‘We are no further forward that we were 10 months ago’. Oh dear! It appears that transparency and trusted supply chains still elude the food industry.

Throughout the year we have had reports of impending doom because everything from oil and water to the precious metals needed to make our essential gadgets and gizmos are in short supply and only a technical revolution can save us from rocketing prices and rationing.

As the year ends we are receiving news that some companies are reversing outsourcing policies and bringing manufacturing back to the UK, particularly at the high end of the market spectrum like Gaziano & Girling who make shoes costing up to £6500 a pair. Others like Jaguar and the Weir Group are investing in plants in Brazil and Malaysia to take advantage of low cost supply chains and developing markets.

The public sector across the UK continues to face savage budget cuts and looks to the Procurement specialists to deliver cost reductions that will release much needed money to front line services. In November the Welsh Government launched its National Procurement Service which will ‘buy once for Wales’ on behalf of over 70 public sector organisations to deliver an estimated £25 million in savings. This flagship development is attracting some of the brightest and the best procurement talent in the principality and will be ‘one to watch’ in 2014.

In these dynamic and challenging times, The Procurement Best Practice Academy has been established to identify, disseminate and celebrate the very best  in Procurement and Supply Chain Management practice. Launched on the 11th November by Jane Hutt AM and Dr Jane Ellis, the Academy’s membership is growing nationally and internationally. If you are not already a member, please visit fill in a Membership Application to become part of a community of practice that can make a real difference.

The PBPA team would like to thank you all for your support and wish you a very merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

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