A word from our patron saint

15 March 2011
Saint Homobonus, patron saint of procurementWelcome, dear readers, to my first column for SM. The editors of this esteemed publication have graciously allowed me a monthly opportunity to pontificate about the profession of which I am the patron saint (shoemakers and tailors have yet to extend me the same courtesy). I was a merchant from Cremona in Italy who was known for my honesty in business and donated much of the money I made to the poor. I died in 1197, but my spirit lives on and my head is kept in the Church of St Giles in my home city. Luckily my position as a non-corporeal being will allow me to travel all over the world (with no carbon footprint) to bring you chapter and verse on the world of purchasing. Auction stations First to Conwy in Wales, where the council’s buying team has been flogging unwanted items on eBay. It began when they tried to sell a mobile exhibition trailer back to the original supplier. “They offered us what was, quite frankly, a derisory sum,” Mike Halstead, head of audit and procurement, told the BBC. So the authority turned to eBay. Since then a Victorian bookcase, gym equipment and a Toby jug have all gone under the (electronic) hammer. And who says buyers can’t do sales? The council has had 100 per cent positive feedback. The dog ate my headline Website careerbuilder.com has provided some of the worst excuses used by employees for arriving late for work. They include:
  • “The car was inhabited by a hive of bees, and I couldn’t use the car for two hours until the bees left.”
  • “My Botox appointment took longer than expected.”
  • “I didn’t get any sleep because my boyfriend’s wife threw me out of the house.”
  • “I’m not late, the company clock is wrong.”
No such thing as a new idea Is your supplier the leading provider of flexible, cutting-edge and innovative solutions? Well, they aren’t the only one. A study that examined 3,000 press releases published over a 24-hour period found the word “leading” appeared 776 times, “solution” 622 times and “best” 473 times. There were 282 instances of something being “unique”, 245 of something being “great” and 473 with “innovate”, “innovative” or “innovator”. On Her Majesty’s Secret (replacement bus) Service The Queen is recruiting a travel manager to organise the travel for her royal visits, including her helicopter and the royal train. Requirements include commercial experience of travel and logistics “in an environment where safety and high standards are of paramount importance”, and negotiation skills with experience of managing contracts and costs, which should be fine for most SM readers. The other mandatory requirement – civil or military experience as a pilot of a fixed wing aircraft – perhaps not. And if any of you do fit these rather narrow criteria, I’m sorry to report that the deadline for applications was last Monday. An end to Baku-handers While alive I was known for my scrupulous business practices, but for others a bad reputation will follow them to the grave. And in Azerbaijan it can even pursue you beyond that. The government has proudly launched an anti-corruption campaign to convince the public of its commitment to tackling the problem. Unfortunately for them, the Bizim Yol newspaper discovered some of the names published on a list of government staff recently sacked for corruption belonged to retired and dead civil servants. Azerbaijan’s president has described corruption as a “great tragedy”. And it is even more so if you are dead, I would imagine. Tweet of the month - stakeholder engagement at eurostar Fiona_Bee @eurostar your head of procurement is currently buying sandpaper not loo paper – pls pass on mssge thx Eurostar @fiona_bee Hello Fiona thank you for the tweet we will pass this on. You can follow me on Twitter too - @sainthomobonus
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