Rich Sains: My journey to Strategic Procurement

I’m a child of the 1980s and it was clear from an early age that I’d go into tech. I was very curious about how things work and I would walk off whilst at the shops, ending up in the window display after following power cables. Getting my first Sinclair Spectrum at home and working with BBC BASIC at school got me into coding – it was a very manual and frustrating process but ultimately very rewarding to see basic images appear on a screen based on your instructions.

After spending time in retail (Somerfield – working in store stock management) and travelling (Australia and South-East Asia), I fell into Procurement and specialised in technology. I found that it fed my interest in technical progress with the added bonus of building relationships, innovation and negotiation to improve the value realised from the investment.


Many of my early projects focussed on retail and ecommerce – great user experience was the mantra and a key differentiator for the retailers I worked with. In many cases, the competition wasn’t just with your direct competitors, but a fight for digital attention and screen time in a very busy ecosystem. Being easy to use was vital and extra clicks meant lower conversion.


But this message hadn’t got through to procurement technology. I worked with some fantastic, forward-thinking procurement leaders with a great vision for a truly strategic procurement capability – but this vision was time and again held back by poor, clunky systems and manual procurement activities.

I am a digital native, but was using manual processes to buy hardware, software and services to create a high tech world. 


I wanted (and still want) Procurement to operate at a more strategic level. Over 10 years as a Tech & Digital Procurement leader, I found myself asking the following questions:

How can we:

I spoke to many procurement teams who had similar questions and some had even built their own solutions to solve. This got me thinking that rather than waiting for someone else to create something, it was really down to me. I quit contracting and visited Silicon Valley to get some inspiration on what to create. This was a massive inspiration and helped me realise that technology can do so much to help procurement.

I founded Acada with a mission to make life easier for procurement people and to help them to answer these questions. We do this through easy-to-use tools that have a razor focus on exceptional user experience.

We are the antithesis of traditional procurement technology.

Our approach is to make life easier for procurement professionals and in doing so create greater visibility of procurement activity and delivery.




It’s a really exciting time to be in the procurement technology space at the moment, as the tech catches up with the needs of procurement and helps to drive it forward. There are many great people and companies in this space ready to take procurement to the next level.

If you’d like Procurement to become a truly strategic business discipline and think you could be doing more with technology, drop me a message and let’s talk.


Comments are closed.