07 October 2004 | David Arminas
Purchasing is about selling, not buying, according to the group procurement director at drinks giant Diageo.
Allan Burns was set to tell the CIPS conference in London: "Purchasers must be able to sell themselves and their services so internal clients notice them."
Burns, who comes from a sales and marketing background and has been director of procurement for two years, is a keynote speaker on the first day of the conference in London this week.
He was to give delegates a business manager's view of how to engage their colleagues.
"I have been immensely impressed with purchasers at Diageo and their commercial skills," he told SM last week.
"But the one thing I have realised is that procurement does not sell itself often enough."
Purchasers should ask themselves whether their clients are coming to them for help in meeting their objectives, he said. "If this is not happening, purchasing is not doing something right."
For purchasers to engage the business, they must make clients' priorities their priorities.
Procurement should be seeking to add value to product and services, and be innovative and less risk averse, he added.
But purchasers, too, needed to be on the outside for a while to see how procurement is perceived.