There are only 3 weeks to go until Scotland’s largest free procurement event!

Posted by Jim on May 15, 2024  /   Posted in Blog
Image result for supplier development progrmme scotland

Join SDP, and our headline partners Scottish Government and Scotland Excel, on Wednesday 5 June 2024 at Hampden Park.

Meet the Buyer National is a free to attend event, which connects suppliers with public sector procurement teams, private sector main contractors, and business support organisations. Come along to meet with procurement teams, buyers and supply chains to learn about upcoming projects and tender opportunities locally, nationally within Scotland and across the UK.

Bringing together over 80+ organisations, Meet the Buyer 2024 promises to be our biggest event yet! With a range of exhibitors from Local Authorities, to Construction, Education, Transport, and so much more, there is something for every business. View the full list of exhibitors here. 

Alongside networking, you will be able to hear from a range of speakers, including: Nikki Archer, Deputy Director, Head of Procurement and Commercial Policy & Strategy at Scottish Government, Councillor Ruari Kelly, and Joseph Drugan, Social Value Manager at hub South West Scotland, as well as many more…

In addition to this, you will also be able to have your questions answered by representatives from all four of Scotland’s Procurement Centres of Expertise: Scottish Government, Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges (APUC), NHS National Procurement, and Scotland Excel, during a panel discussion. View the full agenda here

If your business can attend just one event this year, make it Meet the Buyer 2024!

Book your free place now!


Contact us

Supplier Development Programme

·    E:

·    W:

·    A: Council Offices, Almada Street (Beckford Street annexe), Hamilton ML3 0AA

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Access to the old eTenders website is ending soon

Posted by Jim on April 17, 2024  /   Posted in Blog


Gov - project logoIn 2023, the national electronic tendering website eTenders, switched to a new service provider. To enable ongoing access to past procurement competition data that was hosted on the old website public buyers and suppliers have been able to access the old) eTenders website. This is changing soon, and access to the old website is ceasing in May 2024.

Public procurement buyers should take action now to make sure that they keep the procurement competition data they need.

What changes are taking place?

The national electronic tendering platform eTenders switched to a new service provider in May 2023, marking the first time in a decade that the system had changed to a new provider.

The national electronic tendering website eTenders switched to a new service provider in May 2023, marking the first time in a decade that the website had changed to a new provider.

While eTenders was never intended to be used for long-term record keeping, for some public buyers, the old eTenders website may have been used as part of their approach to meeting their record keeping and data retention obligations. However, the national public procurement guidelines clearly state that “eTenders should not be used as a storage facility and that all relevant documentation records should be maintained off the platform by the contracting authority”. On that basis, and due to scale, complexity and associated risks to data integrity, past procurement competition data could not be transferred from the old eTenders website to the current eTenders website

To facilitate access to past procurement data during this changeover period since May 2023, the previous eTenders website has remained online and accessible to buyers and suppliers. However, access to the old site will end for all users in May 2024, and the OGP is encouraging public procurement buyers to take action now to make sure they retrieve the procurement competition data required from the old website in advance of this date.

What files and data will be affected?

Any data associated with past procurement competitions that was published on the old website will be affected. In the majority of cases, this will mean any procurement competition that was published before 15 May 2023 (before the launch of the current eTenders website).

What action do I need to take?

There are three key steps public buyers should take to retrieve data associated with past procurement competitions from the old eTenders website :

• 1) Close: Close any procurement competition on the old site that you want to retrieve data for.

• 2) Archive: Closed competitions can now be moved to the Archive area on the old eTenders site.

• 3) Download: Once a procurement competition has been closed and moved to the Archive area, you can download the Archive file to your designated local storage location.

You can find a more detailed guide on how to download files from the old eTenders system below.

Will I be able to access the files on the old website after May 2024?

No, you will not be able to access any files that were stored on the old system after May 2024. Access to the old website will cease in May 2024.

Who can I contact if I have any issues?

if you encounter any issues relating to closing or archiving competitions on the old eTenders website you can contact EU Supply, at 021 243 9277, or email

National Manufacturing & Supply Chain Exhibition and Conference 2024

Posted by Jim on April 16, 2024  /   Posted in Blog

National Manufacturing & Supply Chain Exhibition and Conference 2024

Tuesday, 28 May.

RDS Simmonscourt

Simmonscourt Road Dublin 4 Ireland

The National Manufacturing & Supply Chain Conference & Exhibition will now be run over two days at RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin on May 28th & 29th 2024.

The conference will be of interest to senior management, established practising engineers and researchers together with those that are much earlier in their careers.

Delegates have registered from leading food, pharmaceutical, medical, chemical, electronics and engineering manufacturing sectors.

Manufacturers small and large from across the country will gather to challenge political decision makers to deliver a business environment which manufacturing deserves. Delegates attending the conference will:

– gain industry insights to help their business plan ahead

– share good practice and learn from each other’s experience

– connected with senior business leaders to find new business opportunities

– meet with key technology providers in the dedicated exhibition area

Visitors are free to move between the different events.

Northern Ireland Manufacturing & Supply Chain Conference & Exhibition 2024

Posted by Jim on April 16, 2024  /   Posted in Blog


Thu, 12 Sep 2024 09:00 – 16:00 BSTNorthern Ireland Manufacturing & Supply Chain Conference & Exhibition 2024

Thu, 12 Sep 2024 09:00 – 16:00

Join us at the 2024 Northern Ireland Manufacturing & Supply Chain Expo is being held in the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast on 12th September to hear from an impressive line-up of manufacturing leaders, academics and government agencies who will engage in a stimulating blend of key note addresses and debates.

Creating an Innovative Manufacturing & Supply chain Ecosystem

New approaches and technology have been introduced in recent years that have created significant organisational and process improvements. The aim of the conference is to showcase such innovative approaches and to disseminate the cutting edge research that underpins them.

The conference will be of interest to senior management, established practicing engineers and researchers together with those that are much earlier in their careers.

Delegates have registered from leading food, pharmaceutical, medical, chemical, electronics and engineering manufacturing sectors.

Manufacturers small and large from across the Northern Ireland will gather to challenge political decision makers to deliver a business environment which manufacturing deserves. Delegates attending the conference will:

Key Topics included:

Procurement, Lean Manufacturing, Control & Automation, Supply Chain Optimisation, Information Technology Logistics,Energy Management & Sustainability, Project Management, Automation & Robotics

Resource Efficiency Capital Grant

Posted by Jim on April 10, 2024  /   Posted in Blog

Heads up to all clients-if you are an InvestNI client then this new Resource Efficiency Capital Grant may be the way to help with the cost of investing in resource efficient technologies that will drive savings and business productivity. The next call for applications will open on Wednesday 10 April and close at 17:00, Thursday 16 May 2024
This project is part-funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Call 2 of the Digital Transformation Flexible Fund (DTFF) will open for expressions of interest on 4 March 2024 

Posted by Jim on March 01, 2024  /   Posted in Blog

The DTFF aims to help small and micro businesses in Northern Ireland to invest in advanced digital technologies. It establishes a grant fund to support eligible businesses with investments in capital equipment that is critical to achieving their digital transformation ambitions.

The focus of the fund is on innovative technologies, such as:

  • smart environments and the Internet of Things
  • simulation, process automation and additive manufacturing
  • big data and analytics
  • immersive technologies
  • artificial intelligence and machine learning
  • blockchain technologies and more

To be eligible, capital investments must enable business transformation rather than simply digitisation of existing business models or operations.

Funding is available between £5,000 and £20,000 for an investment project. If eligible, the grant can fund up to 70% of the cost of the total value of a project. Applicants must match-fund a minimum of 30% of the overall project costs.

Register for the DTFF online pre-briefing session

Potential applicants can register to join the online pre-briefing session for Call 2 on 4 March 2024.

Dates for the in-person pre-briefing sessions across each council area will be published on the DTFF website soon.

Call 2 of the DTFF will open to expressions of interest on 4 March and close at midday on 29 March 2024.

Posted by Jim on January 17, 2024  /   Posted in Blog

Calling all Growing Businesses!

Have you thought about joining a consortium co-operative (with at least two other partners) to enable you to bid for larger contracts?

Cooperative Development Scotland (CDS) wants to talk about this opportunity in its webinar The Consortium Model of Bidding for Bigger Contracts.

The free webinar runs Thursday 29 February 2024, 2-3pm.


About the Webinar

The webinar will cover:

·    The key characteristics of a consortium co-operative

·    Benefits of joining a consortium co-operative

·    How the model is used for tendering

·    The support provided by CDS to businesses seeking to formally collaborate as a consortium co-operative

About Consortium Co-operatives

In a consortium co-operative:

·    Members work together for a common goal while retaining their own brands, identities, and control

·    Members can be limited companies, partnerships or individuals

·    A consortium co-operative works best for three or more businesses (due to the democratic voting nature of a co-operative)

About CDS

·    CDS works to provide support to companies and community groups who want to adopt employee ownership or co-operative business models

·    Co-operative Development Scotland is part of the Inclusive Models Team within Scottish Enterprise

·    This model acts on behalf of all Scotland’s Enterprise agencies (Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and South of Scotland Enterprise)

A retiring consultant’s advice on consultants

Posted by Jim on September 06, 2023  /   Posted in Blog

How to manage the snake-oil salesmen

From the Economist 06/09/23

A man shaking hands with a management consultant who has tentacles for legs
Dear robin, I was delighted when you commissioned me to prepare this report for you after our discussion at the club. As a newly appointed chief executive at a Fortune 500 company, a thrilling yet perilous adventure awaits you. I commend your wisdom in choosing to hire a management consultant to guide you on your way.

I, naturally, would have been ideally positioned, given my many years of experience serving your company’s principal rival. Alas, the time comes in every man’s life when he must hang up his hat and retire to his home in the Bahamas. As my swan song, I have thrown together, as requested, a few thoughts on how to handle my kind. I hope you find the attached 120-page PowerPoint presentation useful. Below you will find a brief summary

Be ready for the “bait and switch”: Do not be fooled by the eloquent veterans who will turn up to your office to plead for your business. The work will mostly be done by clever but pimply 20-somethings, armed with two-by-two matrix frameworks recycled from client to client. What they lack in wisdom will be made up for in long hours. You need not feel sorry for them. They are cocooned in a shell of fancy meals, lavish hotels and private drivers—at your expense.

At first you will find them to be of no use at all—detrimental, even—as they harry your management team with endless questions and urgent requests for data. Eventually, they will win you over with their brains and gumption—or be quietly replaced. Meanwhile, those grey-haired senior partners will pop by from time to time. Beware.

Watch out for “land and expand”: We consultants are masters of the clandestine sale. If you hire us for a two-month project, it will assuredly take 12. By the time it ends, our tentacles will have spread. Ask for a new company strategy, blink, and we will be cutting your costs, fixing your it systems and tinkering with your supply chain.

Like many other bosses, you may one day tire of our eye-watering rates and decide to poach the cleverest consultants for yourself. We will happily oblige. The most reliable missionary for the merits of consulting is one of our own. The more senior, the better. Hire them, but do not give them the cheque book.

Question everything: Every self-respecting consultant knows that big recommendations demand big numbers. As a rule, divide everything you see by two. Never trust a benchmark; I made up most of mine. And carefully read those endless notes at the bottom of charts. That is often where the dirtiest secrets are buried. Be doubly dubious of any consulting reports your underlings happen to commission, especially when they recommend a bigger budget for said underling.

Take none of the blame: As a freshly minted chief executive, you are undoubtedly brimming with ideas. Many of them are terrible. Some may prove catastrophic. Among the valuable services offered by management consultants is the human shield. Make sure your board knows it was they who recommended the disastrous new product line or the overpriced acquisition. You always had your doubts, but trusted their illustrious reputations. Equally, your consultants may, from time to time, stumble upon a good idea. You thought of it first.

Experiment with polygamy: Your consultants will do their utmost to woo you into exclusivity. There will be much talk of “long-term partnership”. Yet it is a one-sided monogamy they seek. Fidelity is not in a consultant’s nature. Chances are they are already advising your competitors, with only the thinnest of Chinese walls between teams.

Follow their example and hire their rivals, too. Ideally, sit them in adjacent rooms at your offices. Consultants are fiercely competitive, and nothing will better spur them on to even longer reports than seeing their nemeses wandering the halls of your company. If bored, invite representatives of two warring firms to a meeting and watch them tussle for your favour.

As I look back on my career, I am not too proud to admit that I have occasionally fleeced the odd firm. But I maintain that my profession is a noble one. “Impact”, after all, is our industry’s watchword. (Admittedly, I never was quite clear what it meant, but you cannot deny it sounds lofty.)

One final thought to conclude: there is never a problem too big or small for a consultant. That I can confirm from experience. Your bill, including expenses, is attached. Good luck. 

Read more from Bartleby, our columnist on management and work:

A man shaking hands with a management consultant who has tentacles for legs

Enterprise Ireland: Support for firms on the green transition journey

Posted by Jim on September 04, 2023  /   Posted in Blog

Alexa Toomey

Irish Independent

Enterprise Ireland backed Strong Roots and its founder and CEO Sam Dennigan
Mitigating the impact of climate change and addressing environmental issues requires a whole-of-society approach.

Sustainability is a core pillar of Enterprise Ireland’s strategy, and we believe it is now a pivotal time for companies to consider how their operations impact the environment and how climate change affects their business.

Businesses supplying large private and public sector clients are increasingly finding that to win contracts and sales, they must be able to share their sustainability plan and explain how they are putting it into practice. Many businesses we work with selling directly to consumers also find customers have increased expectations around sustainability and want to buy from companies that can demonstrate what they are doing in this space.

Businesses now need to develop a sustainability plan covering everything from resource efficiency to supply chain, and this must be supported with an implementation roadmap.

The transition to a low-carbon economy and greener future is a journey and not something that will happen overnight.

If you are a business owner or entrepreneur, no matter what stage of the sustainability journey you are on, whether it is initial planning or implementation, Enterprise Ireland is ready to support client companies on their green transition.

We have developed a new Green Transition Webinar focusing on decarbonisation’s opportunities, challenges and benefits.

This eight-part series starts on September 6 and will focus on several aspects of the sustainability journey – from initial planning and capability building – to investment, research and innovation, and developing new products and processes.

The first webinar will focus on ‘What does a climate action journey look like?’, and attendees will hear from Paul Murphy of Climeaction, an industry expert with extensive experience in industrial energy efficiency and decarbonisation of manufacturing organisations. This discussion will offer advice and insights from his work with some of the world’s largest companies across the food and dairy, beverages, manufacturing and life science sectors.

The second instalment will focus on SMEs, particularly those at the beginning of their sustainability journey, and participants will learn about the SME Climate Hub, a one-stop shop where they can get free tools to measure emissions, take climate action and report progress.

The series will focus on other important topics, including green finance, green skills, sustainability reporting ESG, becoming a B Corp and the circular economy. We will look specifically at the policy, regulatory and business focus on net zero emissions by 2050.

Each webinar will hear from industry experts such as Brian O’Kennedy from Clearstream Solutions and Ingrid de Doncker of Future Planet and will also feature an Enterprise Ireland client company, such as Urban Volt and Strong Roots.

Enterprise Ireland is ready to support client companies in developing innovative responses to meet the demands and opportunities that sustainable business offers. For more information about the Green Transition webinar series, visit

Alexa Toomey, head of Sustainability, Renewable Energy & Agtech at Enterprise Ireland

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