In February we launched a new key initiative as part of our partnership with YPO – a series of breakfast events – ‘Bids and Procurement LIVE!’ with our first event in London.
The events are mini-conferences for people with an interest in bids and procurement. They bring together both sides of the story in one place to drive greater mutual understanding and sharing of best practice and current insights.
The speakers and panel members are drawn from UK industry across both the public and private sectors. The first event sold out, with an audience from a wide variety of organisations of all sizes.
The panel themes for the event were Social value in pursuits and bids, What do procurement departments really want? And WBIAP a new initiative all of which provided a platform for some interesting discussions and viewpoints both between panel members but also the attendees.
Bids and Social Value
During the social value panel we found a consensus that when focused correctly – more than 20% added value can be created for communities through the way that services are delivered, but that the client and their procurement professionals have to set the contract up for success – shaping the service specification and requirements to deliver the benefits of social value, rather than just asking some unconnected questions in the tender. Maximising the outcomes requires thought and alignment. We also discussed how suppliers must align their service delivery with clients issues, views and policies on social value and how measurement and quantified evidence is important, but that telling stories of social value examples can make a fairly grey government policy a bit more human.
What Procurement People Want
In the ‘what procurement people want session, beyond some great debate on the usual compliance issues, suppliers focusing on themselves and not the clients issues and using the clarifications process properly – we found that the challenge facing procurement functions at a basic level is the constraints on their ability to deliver the service through austerity. They are under pressure to do something different to generate savings while not having the resources to do it. Generally, procurement professionals are not able to spend enough time with suppliers to understand their categories to deliver greater efficiencies and more robust procurements. Interestingly, there was a clear view that there is a need for the market to come forward with ideas and innovation to change the game, engaging with clients early to understand their drivers and shaping future procurements so everybody wins. Easier said than done perhaps, but an admirable aspiration.
Women in Bids and Proposals
The third element of the event was an interview with my friend Charlotte Rees, talking about the Women in Bids and Proposals (WIBAP) initiative that she leads, in the run up to the annual conference they put on in March. You can listen to an interview with Charlotte reviewing her conference and talking about the initiative on my podcast, The Red Review, that I do for a bit of fun with my friend Mike Reader. Available on Anchor, Spotify, etc.
The next event
The next Bids & Procurement LIVE event is taking place on the 12th of June in London. This time we are holding the event at Brigade Bar + Kitchen in London Bridge, an initiative that is close to my heart.
Brigade is powered by Beyond Food – a community interest company and charity that works with people who have been at risk of or experienced homelessness. By providing culinary training and other support, Beyond Food motivates and inspires people to gain meaningful, long-term employment.
Our interview segment at the event will be with Simon Boyle, an award-winning Chef who leads Beyond Food. We’ll be discussing how the public and private sectors can leverage social enterprises into procurements and bids to generate a lasting impact.
Our two panel discussions are on tech in bids and procurement, sponsored by Hobs Repro (who will have some of their tech to play with in the coffee area) and on building and leading great teams. We’ve got speakers including Julian Wathen MBE, former BD Director of ISS, and Kerry Jarvie who leads pursuit teams at PwC. We already have attendees signed up from WSP, Mace, PwC, Pick Everard, Willmott Dixon, Santander, NG Bailey & Morgan Sindall.
We will be holding a further event in London in September and will be expanding nationwide in Q4/19 with an event in Birmingham in November.
Tickets for our events can be found here: https://thebidtoolkit.com/events/