Back office beat

9 July 2013
Saint Homobonus, patron saint of procurementThe patron saint of purchasers takes a look at the month’s more unlikely business tales. Back office beat There’s nothing like a little extra-curricular bonding to help a business team gel. No doubt that’s one of the benefits being felt by members of ‘Peripheral Vision’ – an all-employee band from technology company Olympus, which has made it through to the final round of 
the 13th annual Fortune ‘Battle 
of the Corporate Bands’. Joining colleagues from IT, quality assurance, finance, collections and web development is John Saggese, who handles travel and fleet procurement. And what role is their purchasing and supply professional playing outside office hours? Background vocals (and bass). More irons in the fire There’s bad news for Morris dancers and Morris dancing fans this issue as we discover that a shortage of ‘irons’ (worn on the underside of their clogs) is causing some to drop the pastime altogether. The scarcity of supply has been blamed on the lack of blacksmiths making them. To tackle the problem the Joint Morris Organisations is apparently approaching the steel industry directly and also calling on members to let each other know where stores can be found. Executive club Who would have thought sandwiches would have their 
own index? Not me, but I 
stand corrected. The CSI (Club 
Sandwich Index) is an annual review conducted by Hotels.com 
to discover the most expensive destinations for holidaymakers and business travellers to order this choice of snack. After crunching and digesting the data, the study found Geneva hit the top of the chart, costing an average of £19.96 a sandwich. Prices ranged from a staggering £34.33 to a just-as-outrageous (in my opinion) £9.27. I don’t see myself chomping through those sandwiches in a hurry. New Delhi came out cheapest, with the average club sarnie costing £5.97. Task masters As jobs become more demanding, bosses are beginning to rely on their employees to do more than just their work. A survey by CareerBuilder said some of the more unusual tasks staff have been asked to do include removing stitches, clipping their dog’s toenails, planning a wedding and…buying a rifle. The study found most workers like to report to their current boss, but only 37 per cent believe they are learning from him/her. I guess 
it depends what skills you hope 
to develop. Cause for thought They get a bit of a bad rep, but British banks may not be as bad as all that. Research revealed in the first Company Giving Almanac, published in June by charity Directory of Social Change, shows the UK financial sector provides the biggest chunk of money given by companies to UK charities and voluntary groups. The Almanac analyses a sample of more than 400 businesses that support UK charitable causes and found that despite the recent economic upheaval, rate-rigging and tax-avoidance scandals, the financial sector dominates when it comes to goodwill, giving around £245 million in cash alone. Mash and grab Potatoes became the new iPad 
as a tech fan was tricked into spending £250 on what he thought was a tablet, but turned out to 
be a box of spuds at Manchester’s Piccadilly station. Police say bargain hunters need to keep 
their wits about them. I say he should have kept his eyes peeled. Fast living If you skipped breakfast this morning you might be feeling virtuous, hungry, or simply light-headed. Not only do studies show that skipping breakfast causes a fall in concentration, but 
the British economy ends up missing out on £300 million a year. Londoners are the worst, with workers missing the first meal of the day more than twice a week on average. Those healthy-living people in the East Midlands (especially those aged 45-54) 
are the least likely to miss it. Those who fail to break the fast of a morning say that they just don’t have time to eat. However, surely spending five minutes enjoying a slice of toast and jam is far 
more productive than missing 101 minutes 
a week due to minimal concentration and 
low-energy levels? Tweet of 
the month #Reduced the cost of the wedding by £4000 today. Crazy procurement skills!! @antonymorley
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