Conference On University Purchasing 2017
‘Positive change through sustainable procurement’ was the theme at this year’s Conference On University Purchasing (COUP), held at Swansea University. The conference was filled with opportunities for both delegates and suppliers to network with each other and enjoy entertainment both during the day and in the evening. The conference as a whole was a great success, with many wanting to return in a couple of years’ time.
With a supplier exhibition running throughout the day on the Wednesday and Thursday, COUP presented a great opportunity for delegates to meet and catch up with existing and potential suppliers. The exhibition was available to everyone over the two days, and was held in a large marquee during the breaks between keynote and workshop sessions. With over 50 exhibitors present, opportunities to network and catch up were plentiful.
Sarah Dickins from the BBC kicked off this year’s proceedings as the first keynote speaker on the Wednesday, sharing her existing knowledge of procurement, as well as touching on the significance of Brexit to British communities and sharing her life experiences. This was followed later on in the day with Andy Davies (LUPC) and Angus Warren (APUC) discussing modern slavery in Britain in particular, raising some very important points for modern society and how we should work collaboratively in HE to monitor activities all along the supply chain.
Memorable keynote sessions on the second day of the event included an appearance from Russ Huxtable of Swansea University (formerly RAF), who discussed procurement as a force multiplier, highlighting the work towards safety of students on campus with new technology changing the capabilities of this in particular. This was followed entertainingly later in the day with the final keynote session of COUP: Wynne Evans, known widely for his role in Go Compare advertisements. Wynne shared his life experiences of Wales, London and Sydney in a very comical session that rounded off the conference, as he touched on embarrassments during opera shows, with rock band Led Zeppelin, and of a certain rugby shirt malfunction during his appearance at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
As well as the keynote sessions occurring throughout, workshops took place in between. These sessions were covered by speakers from a number of different industry backgrounds. As a result, many different tastes were available over the two days, including responsible procurement, energy buying and lessons learnt from recent court cases, alongside more general workshops covering a range of topics such as the art of negotiation, how to achieve customer service excellence, and developing procurement talent. Each session was very informative and well put together by the session leaders, with everyone taking enjoyment from them and gaining the maximum value possible. We will be able to share slides from keynote and workshop sessions when they become available.
Evening entertainment was a highlight of COUP 2017. Following the first day of the conference, a drinks reception was held at the National Waterfront Museum, a lovely location overlooking the Swansea canals with access to the wider museum available for everyone to enjoy. This was followed by the Gala dinner in the Great Hall on the final evening, including a three course meal, followed by a band and DJ taking the event late into the night. There was something for everyone, as delegates and suppliers had the choice of joining the dancefloor or chatting in the bar area.
NEUPC would like to thank Howard Allaway for his hard work in organising the event, our members who were able to attend, and also the suppliers for their continued support of COUP and the HE Purchasing Consortia.
NEUPC are excited to be hosting the Conference on University Purchasing 2019, and hope to be able to confirm the venue in October. Watch this space!