26 April 2007 | Paul Snell
Canadian telecoms company Nortel is to quadruple the number of procurement staff it employs in China.
The company will open a Centre of Excellence for Global Operations in Shanghai later this year, which it hopes will improve the efficiency of its supply chain.
The centre, described by the company as "fundamental to the transformation of the supply chain", will help the company improve relationships with its Asian suppliers. It has now spent over $1 billion (£500 million) on procurement and supplier relationships in the region and also recently announced two other centres of excellence based in Mexico and Turkey. In 2006 the company's purchasing spend worldwide was around $7 billion (£3.5 billion).
It is set to hold its annual supplier conference for 200 vendors in Beijing, the first time it has been held outside North America. Joel Hackney, senior vice-president, global operations and quality, said: "China's cost-competitive environment provides the ideal climate for increased investment in procurement; the Shanghai centre of excellence will provide essential technical and operational support where it is needed most."
The firm has also appointed a new chief procurement officer, who is set to move to Hong Kong as part of his promotion. Jeff Townley will take up the position immediately, having previously been the leader of the business transformation strategic procurement team.
"Townley is the right person to drive our success in this critical position," Hackney said.
John Haydon, who has been CPO at Nortel for four years, has been promoted to vice-president and general manager, network partner solutions.