02 December 2004 | Cara Whitehouse
Damon Jones plans to give procurement a bigger role in driving business change at the recently merged security solutions company, Group 4 Securicor.
As the firm's first group director of procurement, he has gained influence over nearly £1 billion of group-wide expenditure.
Jones, previously procurement director at Securicor, told SM the real gain for both organisations was that the merger lifted procurement into the boardroom.
He said the function was actively promoted and had daily communication with the executive board.
"Security is traditionally a no-go zone for procurement and we have broken in there," he said. "Twenty per cent of the synergy benefits in the merger relate to procurement. It was an influencing financial driver in the deal."
Jones repositioned procurement from a tactical back-office activity into a strategic business management function at Securicor. In addition to making multi-million pound savings that were recognised as "tangible and substantive" by the company, he said the transition had put the team in huge demand.
"Experience tells us that the bulk of business benefit comes through business change rather than simply smarter buying. Procurement has a place in this client-facing activity."
A three-year savings programme set at double-digit millions aims to bolster the benefits already felt when Securicor and Group 4 merged in July.