15 December 2005 | Rebecca Ellinor
Last chance for recruiters
posted 5:31pm 18/1/06
After just shy of 20 years at Universal (formerly PolyGram) he has seen annual savings go from £50,000 to £1.5 million. He managed to reach areas of spend previously untouched by procurement - a fact demonstrated by Universal's win at this year's CIPS Supply Management Awards.
"It's a job I've always enjoyed doing, particularly at Universal, because they give me the freedom to do the job as long as I deliver," he said.
Richards established the company's first group purchasing department and, in preparation for his departure, he outsourced much of it to buyingTeam in 2002. They will now report to a new manager.
But, like so many others, he fell into procurement by chance.
"I left school with two choices - to get a job or work with my Dad. In Wembley there were three factories, one of which was GEC. I was introduced to the chief buyer who took me on."
Richards believes the job has changed a great deal: "Buyers today are more professional and they've earned the respect of their peers as a result."
He is now looking forward to learning the finer points of golf and travelling with his wife.
Have you been a buyer for longer than Mike, or do you know someone who has? Call the SM
news team on 020 7324 2743. CAREER FILE - Mike Richards1986-2005
Universal Music Group - group purchasing manager
Various temporary assignments including work for Ciba-Geigy
Downs Surgical (Smiths Industries) - chief buyer; purchasing manager; appointed general manager of the procurement division in 1982
Link Paper (Inveresk Group) - operations manager
3M UK - assistant purchasing officer, print and stationery; print co-ordination officer; senior purchasing officer, administration; manager purchasing services
Fuller Electric (Hawker Siddeley Group) - raw materials buyer
Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co - assistant purchasing officer, packaging and print
GEC - Progress chaser, buyer