19 October 2006 | Steve Bagshaw
Executive purchasers who cannot recall their chief executive's key priorities deserve the low corporate standing about which they often complain, according to a leader in the profession.
Craig Lardner, group manager of supply management at the BOC Group, challenged guests at a purchasing event this month to list only one of the strategic aims in their organisation's latest strategic statement.
"And if you can't, how can you expect to be taken seriously and expect a place at the top table?" he asked.
Lardner explained that while naming one objective was okay, the real question is: could you name three? Some of the slightly shocked looking audience of senior purchasing professionals began making notes as Lardner continued to implore the group.
"You should have instant recall of your company's aims, whether the chief executive's strategic statement was last week or 11 months ago.
"If you don't know them how will you ensure your function can meet the overall aims of your company? More to the point, how could you even lead it to those aims?"
Lardner, who was applauded as he finished, raised the issue at the International Procurement Leadership Forum at Claridge's on 5 October.
The event brought together senior buyers to discuss "What the next generation of procurement leadership means in practice" and "How to build an enterprise-wide leadership capability".
Speaking to SM about his future, Lardner said he intends to return to Australia with his family in January and hopes to take up a CPO role. It follows the merger of Linde and BOC, and the appointment of Christoph Clausen as head of procurement. Lardner will stay until 19 January to assist with the transition.
See feature, 'A step closer to the top'