"My biggest mistake? An incident known as 'paper towel gate'" ©Peter Spinney
"My biggest mistake? An incident known as 'paper towel gate'" ©Peter Spinney

This is who I am: Shamial Afzal

SM talks to Prudential's head of supplier relationships and risk management

How I got into procurement…
Working in operations and change management, I was curious about the reliance organisations had on third parties. A taste of supplier management sparked my interest in getting closer to supply chain management. The opportunity came up for a contract manager role, looking after facilities suppliers. The rest is history.

How I got my current role…
I saw the role advertised in SM. What grabbed me was the offer to shape something new in an organisation undergoing transformation. As I was reading the spec I got a call from a headhunter asking if I’d be interested in the same role – fate.

My average day…
Up early; drive to work; 5k run; review my diary, prioritise the day and go have fun. Make sure I spend time with my team and stakeholders; pick up my three-year-old from nursery. Sign back on at home.

The best piece of advice I’ve received…
Be bold, be yourself and play nice.

My advice to others…
Procurement is not just about buying or negotiating. There are great opportunities across the profession in areas like SRM, third party risk and assurance. Be open to trying different roles and build on those experiences. You never know where you may end up.

The biggest mistake I’ve made in my working life…
An incident known as ‘paper towel gate’. As a cost-saving and environmental initiative I suggested we remove paper towels across our buildings. It caused quite a stir – I had to write to senior people, including the C-suite. I fixed it by suggesting we run a pilot across a number of sites and phased implementation.

The future of procurement is....
Showing the true value-add of procurement and SRM. The profession is full of talented people from all backgrounds. Now is the time to unlock that.

I relax in my free time by…
Being a proud father of two beautiful girls, Safiyah and Sara, who keep me busy. I love reading and am learning how to be an ethical investor.

If I were marooned on a desert island I would take…
Food, a book, a prayer mat.

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