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Record number of delegates attend action-packed #Fusion2019 event at MOSI

We delivered the latest instalment of our annual Fusion event on the 15th May 2019, at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) to a record number of attendees.

Over 80 people came to the exciting event, with delegates hailing from some of the best-known brands in the country, including: Coventry Building Society, Ricoh UK, Center Parcs, LV, Wildhearts, MTR Crossrail, Belron UK and many more.

The event provides our clients and prospects the opportunity to hear how we plan to develop web3 in the coming months. It’s also our clients’ chance to point out the things they think web3 needs to help make their procurement-related tasks easier to manage.

Fusion is much more than a chat about our products and services though because we also host sessions from the brightest and most talented people in the industry – and this year was no exception.

With such an action-packed agenda, we found it tough to pick out these highlights, but you can read a breakdown of our top moments below:

How Rachel Barr got to the top of procurement

Rachel Barr, talking about her career

We invited Rachel Barr (née Lasisi) to give us her story on how she got started as a procurement professional. She’s head of procurement at Coventry Building Society, the UK’s second largest building society and has worked hard to get to where she is today.

By her own admission, Rachel never set out to get into procurement – but got experience for the role after realising she wanted to work in an office. It was her time with an IT company, buying equipment, that gave her a taste for procurement. Rachel found the allure irresistible as she continued to earn more experience by joining globally renowned confectionary company Cadburys.

This got her working across the globe, where she thrashed out deals in India and other nations. Eventually, this experience took her to Coventry Building Society, where initially she was brought onboard to help transform their IT infrastructure through smart purchasing activities. She proved what an invaluable asset she was to the business and earned a promotion as head of procurement.

The key takeaway from all of this is that Rachel felt is that if she can do all of this, then so can you.

Here are her tips on how to get to the very top:

  1. Believe in yourself
  2. Push yourself
  3. Always challenge the status quo
  4. Be decisive
  5. Don’t fear the unknown

Buying for good, social enterprise in procurement

Daniel Ball at Fusion

Daniel Ball, our Business Development Director hosted a panel discussion on the positive impact purchasing can deliver through the support of social enterprise.

The session featured Colin Downie from Wildhearts Group, Kieron Thompson from NFU Mutual and Karl Poulsen from LV.

Over the space of the 40-minute session, the speakers covered a wide range of topics, including some fascinating statistics from Colin Downie. The key details:

  • 66% of social enterprises are supporting people from disadvantaged groups, and 44% are employing them
  • 28% of social enterprises operate in the most deprived communities in the UK
  • Only $15 billion is spent on CSR between UK and US Fortune 500 companies, compared to $23 trillion spend on global trade in goods and commercial services.

We also got to see a video illustrating how buying from social enterprises can help do good in our communities. Micro Tyco is a month-long entrepreneurial training programme that helps participants to learn and practice fundamental business behaviours in a safe environment.

We saw examples of people that have yielded the benefits of Micro Tyco such as then 16-year-old Jamie Maguire, who turned £1 into £1,500 and earned the opportunity to work for Arnold Clark as a mechanic.

You can read the full story here.

Finally, all three panellists agreed on the positive impact ethical procurement can have on your business. Here are the headline statistics mentioned by the speakers:

  • 84% of customers believe that companies should do more for society – Ipsos Mori
  • 20% increase can be achieved in revenue as a result of a CSR strategy – Babson Social Innovation Lab and IO Sustainability
  • 86% of workers believe it is important that their employer is responsible to society – Ipsos Mori
  • 50% reduction in staff turnover by implementing Corporate Responsibility effectively. Improvements in Corporate Responsibility have the same effect on retention of staff as an increase in annual salary of £2,400 – Babson Social Innovation Lab and IO Sustainability

Brexit and beyond with KPMG

We asked our partner KPMG to give our attendees an update on what’s happening with Brexit. Unfortunately, because of the volatile situation at Westminster at the moment, it was difficult for our speaker Jon Hughes to say what Brexit could look like right now.

He also mentioned that while we do have a deal, like most commentators in the business, there is little detail in the 26-page political declaration to indicate what trade, regulations and the economic relationship with Europe will look like post-Brexit.

However, he did speculate there are three likely scenarios right now. These are:

  1. The UK will sign the withdrawal agreement before 30th June and enter a transitory period. There will likely be a leadership contest at the top of the Conservative party to see who will lead us through the next phase of negotiations
  2. Refuse to sign the withdrawal agreement and there will be a sustained period of uncertainty until the 31st October, the deadline imposed by the EU for the UK to ratify the withdrawal agreement
  3. As with 2. refuse to sign the withdrawal agreement resulting in a summer intervention from either the EU or the Conservatives

Jon then took the audience through a fascinating risk analysis of Brexit on UK businesses. He identified businesses that could be at risk from moving from the UK and outlined strategies to mitigate this.

Winning at life with Joe Thompson

For the final session of the day, we invited ex-professional footballer Joe Thompson to talk to us about the struggles of becoming a professional football player, as well as how he survived cancer twice.

It was the most enthralling 40 minutes of the day, with the entire conference room fixated on Joe’s awe-inspiring tale of courage, determination and fortitude.

In the talk, Joe took us on a whistle-stop tour of his life, ranging from how he grew up in a troubled home, dealing with the heartbreak of being released by Manchester United, to quite literally fighting for his life twice in the space of four years.

Joe’s session was very warmly received by attendees. We’ve pulled a selection of tweets from delegates below:

You can find Joe on Twitter here.

Roll on Fusion 2020!

We just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone that attended #Fusion2019. We can’t run these events without you showing up, and we appreciate you taking the time out of your day to come down and hear from us.

We’d like to especially thank our partners that came down to speak at sessions for us – your contribution makes Fusion just that little bit more appealing for attendees.

Just a quick reminder that we’ve still got a few more events lined up this year, with the next Fission event coming soon.

Did you attend #Fusion2019? What did you think of the event? Will you be coming to Fusion 2020? Give us some feedback over email or drop us a message on our LinkedIn or Twitter account.