CIPS Conference 2011 in review

7 October 2011
Yesterday's CIPS Conference was a great event, with plenty of excellent presentations from a host of top speakers. Here is SM's round-up of the day's action, and if you would like to relive the whole day in full, you can view a replay of the live blog, by clicking here. David Noble likened the procurement profession to a solid Premier League football team, but one that currently lacks the top stars. He said now is the time for purchasing to develop young people so they can be the superstars of tomorrow. The event's chairman Faisal Islam explained that buyers were the gears of the global economy, transmitting the financial crisis into economic reality for companies. Government Procurement CPO John Collington said there were now two main policy drivers for public sector buying – value for money and increasing access to contracts for SMEs. And he reported that good progress was being made in both these areas. New technology leaves you open to a new set of risks, was the message from Field Fisher Waterhouse lawyer Belinda Doshi. She provided advice on how buyers could mitigate them. Take control of your own career was the advice of a former CIPS professional of the year, Ian Bolger. He also had some excellent tips on how to be a good boss, and how procurement can move up the business agenda. Is procurement's focus on savings a millstone around the neck of the profession? Our panel of top CPOs certainly believed so – but they also had some valuable insight as to how buyers can shake it off. Kath Harmeston, Royal Mail's group procurement director, provided a great case study of how to transform an institution under great commercial pressure and in the face of resistance. And the day's final speaker, Ellis Watson, spoke of the need for procurement to display more passion when dealing with stakeholders. He said that change doesn't have to be feared, but can be "really bloody exciting".
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