The Twitter forum is a space to ask questions about procurement © Getty Images
The Twitter forum is a space to ask questions about procurement © Getty Images

'Time is right for #ProcurementHour'

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
24 July 2019

Purchasing professionals are being encouraged to take part in a new forum to share knowledge and solve problems.

The Twitter forum, with the hashtag #ProcurementHour, is the brainchild of David Kershaw, an agile procurement interim, and Mark Culley, senior procurement manager at Milton Keynes Council.

Kershaw told SM the aim was to create a democratic space where buyers, suppliers and stakeholders from any sector can ask questions, and while he and Culley act as administrators, he does not want the forum to have ownership.

“The biggest problem I see in procurement at the moment is everyone’s a boss of somebody and we’re trying to move that out of the way and reduce the hierarchy so people feel free to ask questions,” he said.

The next #ProcurementHour is due to take place on Thursday 25 July at 8pm BST, and Kershaw envisages the event taking place fortnightly with different themes such as legal, supplier relationship management, market engagement, spend analysis and data.

During the first #ProcurementHour issues discussed included procuring outcomes, how to get value for money, and lifecycle costs.

“There are so many things that people are desperate to know about from a supply chain point of view, but also young people people in procurement who sometimes feel they can’t ask these questions in the workplace,” said Kershaw.

“When I was junior and desperate to learn stuff, I wish this was around then.”

Kershaw said opportunities to learn in procurement were generally limited to courses and networking events, both of which cost money.

“It’s free so why would you not do it?” he said.

The #ProcurementHour grew out of a procurement “unconference” Kershaw ran in June. An unconference has no fixed agenda and instead attendees suggest topics and form groups to discuss them. Whoever pitches an idea runs the session and makes notes.

“Especially in the public sector we talk about open, fair and transparent procurement but if I say to my colleagues, ‘Do you have a Twitter account or a blog talking about your procurement’, the answer is, ‘Oh no we don’t do that because it’s locked in a cupboard’. Well how is that open? Surely you should use the internet to be more open,” said Kershaw.

He added: “I am sick and tired of people saying procurement is slow and doesn’t deliver. I’m part of a profession I know can deliver.”

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