05 January 2006 | Rebecca Ellinor
Guy Allen, former director of procurement at Abbey, this week joins business services company Fujitsu.
Allen, who spent almost four years with the financial services firm, will take up the new post of director of procurement and supply for Fujitsu Services Europe.
His remit will be to examine the processes of the procurement and supply chain teams, which sit in different departments.
"I will look for synergies, because where we buy from and how we deliver to our customers has a relationship. I will raise the profile of procurement," he said.
Allen's appointment at Abbey in March 2002 led to a number of changes. First, his post was moved to the director group, which he said gave the department more credibility.
"I did a lot of work with senior management representing procurement at the top level which they didn't have before," he said.
In addition, tough financial times - with the company experiencing huge losses in 2002 and 2003 - created a "burning platform" for procurement and helped to raise its profile throughout the business.
To take advantage of the opportunity to showcase the team's ability, Allen set about increasing the skill set and confidence of staff. He arranged a "procurement with attitude" workshop in 2004, which helped buyers to address proposals to the board.
Allen said: "The average skills level was higher than I expected but they lacked focus and direction. I pushed them to believe in themselves and their credibility with the business."
He said that, previously, procurement was asking to be involved rather than approached for its expertise. But now buyers are involved with projects at an early stage and follow them through to ensure good delivery.
He also succeeded in leading the team to deliver its procurement savings target - £71 million over three years - six months ahead of schedule.
In 2004 Abbey was bought by Banco Santander, Spain's largest financial group, for £9 billion.