I never cease to be amazed at the power of Mr Smith’s brain. No – not you Peter – the other Mr Smith – primary agent and antagonist in The Matrix who morphs in and out of situations and timelines, controls his surroundings, keeps order by hunting down rogue systems to restore stability … the one whose greatest power is his ability to absorb knowledge from his environment. Oh hang on – you do have similarities! But there they end, I don’t think Peter has yet learnt to ‘dodge bullets flawlessly, punch through concrete with his bare hands, or jump impossible distances,’ but who knows!
If we look at the OED definition of Matrix, it’s the ‘cultural, social, or political environment in which something develops’. And so to Peter’s Procurement Compendium. It is a collection of some of his procurement-world observations from culture, society and politics, written during his years at Spend Matters as a source of knowledge in the industry. Each short article is re-printed in full, and flicking through the 270-odd pages you will come across his individualistic take on: Being a Procurement Leader, Technology, Current Affairs, Public Sector, Advice and Good Practice, Fraud, and Solution Providers.
Two of the sections, Cerebral Whimsy and Random Observations, containing scenarios which can only be described as ‘whimsical’ and ‘random,’ are treated with Peter’s distinctive ability of seeing humour and satire in almost any story or situation. They are presented in a way that draws on his talent for script writing, but still manage to offer pearls of wisdom for any customer, buyer or supplier. How on Earth does he manage to extract valuable procurement-related insight from top-secret Anglo-French aircraft carrier meeting minutes, or Father Christmas’s seasonal logistics nightmares, or an overheard conversation on a train about communicating with your cleaner? You’d have to read the articles to find out about this power of our Agent Smith.
It’s been 2 months since Amazon started stocking a ‘Procurement Compendium‘ and it has accumulated a fine set of testimonials:
“Peter’s vast experience across the whole spectrum of procurement is entertainingly captured in this collection, and it comes highly recommended for all who are involved in both buying and selling.” George Owens, CIPS European Procurement & Supply Chain Professional of the Year 2017 and Director of Procurement, Manchester Airports Group.
“… Peter has crafted a must-have manual for those tasked with an organisation’s procurement activities. With fascinating notes from some of the most complex and challenging projects, Peter has written a text which reads one-part entertaining autobiography, one part ‘dummies guide’ and one part ‘exposé’ of procurement management practices – the good, the bad and the ugly! The anecdotal description of events that pepper the book are entertaining as stories by themselves, but they go beyond this and have real value for the reader… Hidden in the narrative are genuinely useful lessons, generously shared to help managers quickly acquire the necessary wisdom to avoid potential pitfalls and issues with almost all procurement scenarios.” Paul F.
And on Good Reads, James Marland of SAP Ariba appreciated, among other things: “… the chapter which gave guidance to solution providers like my own company, SAP. Some great advice on how to “Get into the field of visibility” of a busy CPO, and a valuable section on how to write content for a procurement audience.”
As a disclaimer, I must point out that having worked with Peter for many years and was probably involved in editing some of these articles, I freely admit that I am biased when it comes to his writings. But I believe most people would agree that he is a compelling and engaging author, and somewhat of a mentor when it comes to procurement – but you can find that out for yourself here.
And in keeping with the Agent Smith theme, do read his alter-ego “James Pond – Licenced to … Buy?” By the way, my favourite satirical article isn’t in the book, so let’s hope there’s a Part 2 containing his later works to come. In the meantime, do you still have a procurement-related Secret Santa present to buy?