The chicken shortage at KFC was described as an important tender and procurement case study © PA Images
The chicken shortage at KFC was described as an important tender and procurement case study © PA Images

News review of 2018 part one

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
27 December 2018

As the year draws to an end, we take a look at the SM stories that made an impact in 2018.


One of the biggest stories of the year began with the announcement that Carillion had gone bust. The UK government, which relied on the company for a raft of services, vowed to continue providing these services and later drew up plans to deal with similar situations in the future, including more financial checks for suppliers and living wills.

The closure of a factory in China through pollution concerns created a shortage of disposable aprons in the NHS.

There were warnings the world could run out of chocolate due to global warming, as higher temperatures threaten the growing of cocoa in West Africa, where more than half the world’s supply comes from.


The supply chain story of the year was the chicken shortage at KFC, caused by a change in logistics provider that saw restaurants closed across the UK. Commentators said it was a future case study for MBA courses.

H&M said it would be investing in technology to improve analytics and intelligence around retail assortment planning, supply chain and sales following a disappointing set of results.

Research showed pay had stalled or decreased for 42% of procurement and supply chain professionals and more than half intended to switch jobs.


The group procurement director at McLaren provided a fascinating insight into his role at the company, which makes supercars and races in F1.

Apple sacked 10 smelters from its supply chain for failing to comply with audits around conflict minerals.

A furore blew up after it emerged a French-Dutch company would be making the UK’s new dark blue passports, though it was pointed out the tender was subject to EU public procurement rules that prohibit “buy national” policies.


Waitrose said it would be doing away with disposable coffee cups following a consumer backlash, but the company would continue to provide free coffees to loyalty scheme members who produced reusable cups.

Repercussions from the Carillion debacle continued with Whitehall announcing late payers would be banned from bidding for government contracts.

The former head of procurement at NHS Shared Business Services said a purchase-to-pay system was the nearest thing to a silver bullet for curing the NHS’s purchasing ills.


Consultants developed four scenarios for the future of procurement based on the potential of various technologies. Buyers were told to prepare for Procurebot world and Enforcer world.

Ever considered procurement to be like gambling? A professional poker player outlined the similarities.

The role of poor procurement in the Grenfell Tower fire was set out following a review of the disaster.


The movers and shakers in the world of purchasing were highlighted in the inaurgural Procurement Power List.

The thorny issue of paying for marketing services was tackled head-on, with the suggestion that a results-oriented remuneration policy could be created with an algorithm.

The former head of purchasing at NHS Shared Business Services said the NHS needed to improve contract management to boost sustainable cost savings.

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