16 October 2003
SM reports from other sessions at this year's CIPS Premier ConferenceBigger not always wiser
Purchasers involved in mergers and acquisitions should not think that just because they work for the larger company, they have a monopoly on best practices.
Ron Jarman, global procurement director, indirect, at drinks giant Diageo, whose brands include Guinness, told seminar delegates at "inspiration2action" last week: "Forget who is buying who. Take the best processes from wherever you find them."
But to do this, a purchaser will have to know how to persuade people inside and outside the function to think similarly, he said. People's futures can be in doubt, so make sure plans are clear as soon as possible.
Appeal for confidence
Purchasing needs "sexing up", delegates at a workshop session were told.
Consultant Christopher Barrat said purchasers were held in awe by salespeople but treated badly by their own colleagues.
In a session called "Sex and purchasing power", delegates agreed that purchasers needed to be more confident but not arrogant.
Michael Hellemann, vice-president for sourcing and procurement at Danish facility management consultants Novo Nordisk, said: "People look at purchasing as the underdog because we've always had a whining culture.
"But it will stay that way until we change it from a whining culture to a winning culture."
'Go out on sales visits'
Purchasing and supply managers should go out on sales calls if they want to add value, advised Craig Lardner of industrial gases firm the BOC Group.
Meeting customers, and potential customers, could "impress the socks off the buyer your salesperson is trying to sell to", he said. Attending a number of such meetings was one annual objective for all supply managers at BOC, Lardner added.
"Customer intimacy" and the ability to work effectively with colleagues in other departments were among the key abilities used to make recruitment and promotion decisions.