Procurex 2017

My day at Procurex

The day started at 6:50am. “Why so early?” you ask, because I live close a station where the train takes an hour and a half to get to Glasgow and they only run every hour. It was still dark when I left the house.


After a really pretty train journey watching the sun rise, heading into the heart of Glasgow I arrived at 8.45, 15 minutes after the planned arrival. I legged it across Central station and down to platform 17 as the next train was due in 60 seconds. I make it to the platform, no train. Have I missed it? Nope it’s delayed…..oh wait it’s not stopping at the Exhibition Centre. No worries, I’ll just get the next one. It’s delayed…..oh wait it’s not stopping at the Exhibition Centre. No worries, I’ll just get the next one. It’s delayed…..oh wait it’s not stopping at the Exhibition Centre.


Panic! Do I recognise anyone on the platform? Should I start to walk? Do I get the bus? Where am I in relation to where I need to be? (A question a normally ask myself every 6 months about my career.)


The train arrives, this one is stopping at the Exhibition Centre, or is it? The screen isn’t clear. Everyone is getting on the train. Stuff it, I’m getting on. Let’s go on an adventure!


Thankfully I arrive at the Exhibition Centre. It’s 9:30, I need coffee but plan A has me at the Professional Procurement Skills Training Zone for “Brexit – Opportunity and Challenges” starting at 9.45, at the other side of the centre.


Coffee wins out, and I move to plan B.


I have a quick catch up with some colleagues at APUC, and some that have moved onto Scottish Government, University of Edinburgh and Stirling Council before heading over to the Procurement Reform Training Zone.


10.20 – 10.50 Tackling the global issue of modern slavery together across the European public sector


With the growing demand for cheap products, free labour is quickly becoming the answer. Slavery is a big issue in the world, bigger than it’s ever been. I thought this would a really interesting topic and I was hoping for some tips for questions I could include in tenders, and advice on how I could ensure I wasn’t purchasing anything from a risky supply chain.


Electronics Watch work with factories in high risk countries to tackle slavery, they are worker mandated. This means that if the workers can contact them it will trigger an investigation into the factory where they can meet with workers off site and away from management, they can review the conditions in the factory and help the companies that are using the factory to create the products to take action.


How can we help prevent slavery in our supply chain? Through transparency and social responsibility and by questioning pricing that appears lower than expected.


10.50 – 11.20 Digital Services – Dynamic Purchasing System (DPS): A new agile approach to procuring services in a digital ICT market


This was a great introduction to the DPS and how to use it. The DPS operates in a similar way to a framework, however, it is an entirely electronic process and suppliers can apply to join the DPS at any time.


Buyers can then call off from the DPS to invite suppliers on the lot to tender. It looks like it will work great with PCS-T and be clunky with PCS.


11.20 – 11.50 How modular construction and lean procurement can meet the ever increasing needs of Scotland’s public sector estate


This was fascinating. Construction isn’t something I’ve been closely involved with tendering but I do have an interest in it. You can literally build palaces out of paragraphs (Hamilton, the musical).


Portakabin (other suppliers are available on the framework) were able to provide a turnkey solution to an Edinburgh school, which had been closed down to due structure issues, by building classrooms in 4 days. Wow! Modular construction projects can be completed 50% faster than normal construction. This is something I’ll keep in mind if I ever have to tender for a modular building or for some additional classroom space.


11.50 – 12.00 I popped over to the Ppot stand to see if could help out. The stand was hoatching with people asking about Ppot and the PDN. Everything seemed to be going ok and with the thinking of too many cooks, I scurried over to the main conference.


12.00 – 12.30 Listening, Negotiating, Getting Results


I caught the last few minutes of The Art and Science of Procurement from a Seller’s Perspective, this looked like it would have been a fascinating presentation and I was sorry I missed it. The presenter Tim Jenkins from Wheelspinner was very funny and engaging.


Kirk Kinnell, Former Head of Armed Policing & Hostage Crisis Negotiation - Police Scotland, was a brilliant speaker. Also very funny and engaging. He explained that success in a negotiation can come from listening to learn a person’s values and their agenda without asking too many questions to derail them into your own agenda. I’m excited to try this.


12.30 – 13.30 Lunch, finally! I had planned to spend a quiet moment studying for a fast approaching CIPS exam but ended up catching up with some friends instead.


13.30 – 14.00 Networking and a wander around the supplier stands. I am now the proud owner of a cherry tree. The supplier was giving them away to give back to the environment as they use a lot of paper.


14.20 – 15.10 Breakout Session 2 - Procurement as an enabler for the circular economy


Zero Waste Scotland showed a fascinating slide of the Periodic Table of Endangered Elements. Silver is due to run out in 20 years. Let’s take some time to absorb this. In 20 years there will be no new silver. That’s in our life time. I was shocked, I’m still shocked. We need to start recycling our precious metals and find alternatives.


The circular economy is where everything has value and nothing is wasted. It’s about new business models, products designed with their whole life cycle in mind, remanufacturing and reprocessing to create new products from old, and re-using and repairing – all to keep products and materials in the economy for as long as possible.


We need to start thinking about reuse more and encouraging use of second hand products so they remain in the supply chain or thinking about different packaging solutions so we’re not sending waste to landfill.


There is a computer company that is currently using mushrooms in the same way as you would use polystyrene.




15.10 – 15.40 One last loop around the conference centre, a quick check of the days emails and I am done.


Train journey back was less of a stress fest and I was home for 17.30.


Procurex 2017 Conquered!

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Emma Nicholson 4 Years Ago

Great blog Vicky!

Lisa Bain 4 Years Ago

Really good to hear all about your experience at Procurex Vicky; sounds like it was a busy but fruitful day!