Archives: June 2015
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23 June 2015 - 10:27, by , in Blog, Comments off
The need for robust Risk Management in Procurement is just the same as it is any other field of commercial activity. That does not mean it has to be a Big Deal or that you need to study for years to become proficient. At its core, Risk Management is simply gazing into the crystal ball that you keep in the third drawer of your desk (you do, don’t you?) to determine everything that might go wrong and planning actions should the worst happen. In reality, you look around at the experience that others have had for that particular category and/or supplier and draw on their experience to augment your own skill and judgement. This is not to belittle or ignore the particular risks, especially those of legal challenge and audit accountability that public sector procurement professionals face in their every tender process. It does require a clear need for specialist knowledge and awareness that the private sector does not suffer. New Zealand has had more than its fair share of natural disasters in recent years, from the terrible 2011 earthquake in Christchurch to adverse extreme weather. NZ sits atop the Pacific Ring Of Fire, which is akin to a war...
23 June 2015 - 10:17, by , in Blog, Comments off
The May 2015 late spring bank holiday weekend saw anti-austerity protests in Manchester’s Piccadilly Gardens. One cannot help but suspect that it will be the first of many that we will see up and down the country. The Town Hall is the public face of harsh government-enforced budget cuts and it’s they who must bear the brunt of anger and outrage when services have to cut back as a result. Manchester was particularly hard hit by the Dec 2014 budget cuts, losing 5.1% of its spending power compared with a nationwide average of 1.8%. Councils have no choice but to make do and get on with it. The money must be stretched even further. Every thousand pounds saved goes to prop up the core vital services for the vulnerable, the underprivileged and the genuinely needy – every council’s top priority. One of the emerging paradigm shifts within the public sector in recent years is the trend towards greater collaboration. This can be seen in action in the North West where 10 unitary councils have come together under the banner of AGMA since 2011. The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities is a partnership whereby authorities co-operate to exploit ways of improving...
23 June 2015 - 8:07, by , in Blog, Comments off
Collaboration can be complex, involving new frameworks or merging of services. Or it can be as simple as making a phone call to achieve significant results. The prize is reduced spend; cost savings that squeeze more out of your budget without significantly affecting service levels and efficiency. Andrew Coulcher, Director of the Business Solutions division of CIPS, stated “There are significant savings to be made if you can go to the market with a single voice,” on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show. He was stating the obvious to underline a point but it is the essence of collaborative procurement. The most basic level of collaboration is for two or more public sector organisation to pool their requirements for a specific service. So, instead of a supplier being asked to tender for 100 oranges, the value of the contract is now 5,000 units, which demands a significantly lower unit price. The illustration is deliberately simplistic to emphasise the central point that can get lost in a quagmire of distractions and excuses, ranging from overarching frameworks to mere lack of precedent in an organisation’s procurement process. It is not difficult to organise. It requires only two things: 1 – a spark...
2 June 2015 - 14:14, by , in Blog, Comments off
Agile is the new soundbite keyword, and we will probably hear it ad nauseam in the coming year. So best to get our heads around exactly what it means. The term has gained popularity in software development circles. It helps to understand the progression over the decades to where Agile is an accepted and approved approach. In IT software development from way back in the 1970s, the way projects were approached is now called Waterfall. That’s because each stage (requirements gathering, specification, development, testing etc.) was completed before the next stage began, like a series of waterfalls on a river. A project was estimated in its entirety at the outset. A large proportion of the total effort and cost was invested at the beginning to investigate and agree requirements, translate those into technical specifications, and then plan every stage right through to roll-out and post-implementation support. Not surprisingly, estimates were very difficult to get right. Sometimes they were way off target, which was the sorry history of many Government IT projects. To illustrate this point, the author was a software development manager with a secret formula for estimating close to being in the right ballpark. Very simply, I obtained estimates...