Brits on the road

12 March 2013
Saint Homobonus, patron saint of procurementThe patron saint of purchasers takes a look at the month’s more unlikely business tales. Brits on the road I caught up with the Bradshaws, a family who are buying British for a whole year, to see how they are doing with their Easter planning. They tasted chocolate from House of Dorchester: “We tried the hot cross bun chocolates and they are absolutely delicious,” they report. They are travelling by rail for the Easter holidays, but also hiring a car, so have helpfully listed British cars on their website. These include such makes as Bristol Cars, Morgan, McLaren and Lotus. 
I suggest buying a British-made megaphone and blasting out Land of Hope and Glory while driving, for extra British vigour. Local industry It seems the above concept of 
‘local sourcing’ has some suppliers in a bit of a spin. While talking to one catering contractor, Kat Thorne, head of sustainability at University of Greenwich, discovered some people’s idea of buying local produce was getting it from 
the shop down the road. She patiently explained local sourcing 
is not about buying from your 
nearest supermarket. School’s out After last month’s report of a US employee outsourcing his work secretly to China, the idea seems 
to be catching on – even among children. A cheeky Chinese 
12-year-old persuaded her dad to outsource her homework to his employees, discovered the Qianjiang Evening News. One employee said: “We stayed up late for two nights. The girl was quite demanding.” He said staff were asked to provide a video, an essay and transport. It seems that ‘risk’ was not considered in this outsource, however. “We do not encourage this sort of thing,” her teacher scolded. “We will have a thorough talk with the parents.” Clip service An unnamed buyer changed the face of the paperclip industry in the US when he slipped a line into a US Department of Defense tender document that said all paperclips must be made from 100 per cent recycled materials. This took suppliers by surprise and forced them to innovate. The result: as 
well as being beneficial for the planet, it cost less. So even if only buying paperclips, procurement 
can always change the world for 
the better. Battle of the sexes Controversial studies are coming in pitting the sexes against each other. Recent research from the Harvard Business Review and others suggests firms without women in high-level leadership positions are missing out. And the Ponemon Institute reported how women were more productive and less distracted than men. But this may be the fault of the Daily Mail, which says that men who spend more than six hours sitting each day at their desks are at higher risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. No wonder they are leaping out of their seats. Power ballads I remember when SM’s careers page used to include a ‘favourite song’ option. Indeed, there is nothing more useful than going into a difficult negotiation with a theme song in your head. We are the Champions springs to mind, or Money, Money, Money if you are focusing on cost, or maybe We’ve only just begun if it could be the beginning of a beautiful partnership. I heartily recommend blasting a few bars of your chosen song on your iphone before your next meeting – report back to me with results/suggestions if you wish. Easter inspiration That’s it! I’ve had it! The whole world is rife with supply chain corruption and riddled with lies. Horse meat has been found in our beefburgers, donkey in my salami, and now even the Pope himself, after feeling the strain (and possibly as the final straw eating a horse burger), has resigned. What we need is some Easter cheer, and quickly. In fact, what we need most is chocolate. Are you building up your egg supplies in a squirrel-like fashion? You must. Pretending it is for children is fine, they can never eat the squillions of eggs they get anyway. And to continue with the feeling of Easter goodness, how about making sure this chocolate is child friendly in other ways? Check with stopthetraffik.org that your eggs don’t use cocoa from suppliers associated with child trafficking, that the packaging is recyclable and buy Fairtrade – which Nestlé’s two-bar KitKat recently signed up to. Guilt-free scoffing ahead. Tweet of 
the month “Sitting in a four-hour procurement training course, watching colleagues compromise their dignity through role play. 
Freaking out” 
@Soraya Shabs
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