Buying rules from A-Z

16 July 2008
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17 July 2008

A new-look procurement organisation is now in place at AstraZeneca (AZ), six months after the arrival of its new CPO Jon Kirby.

The restructure means purchasers at the pharmaceutical company will now work more closely with their customers.

Kirby, who joined at the end of January following his previous role as buying chief at Barclays, made the internal announcement this month.

In an exclusive interview with SM, he said it was clear change was needed: "There were some good patches of practice, people were doing some good things but not doing them consistently. We were fairly bureaucratic, more focused on strategy and process than delivering results.

"Now procurement is aligned with the business areas, it is embedded and close to the businesses which is really important."

He said while procurement, together with the company's entire 67,000-strong workforce, understood what AZ is in business to do, there was a need to clarify what that meant for purchasing on a "day-to-day basis".

"In the past one thing AstraZeneca, and especially procurement in AZ, had was a myopic view: 'this is my job, this is what I do in the business'."

He said the "voice of customer" would now drive everything procurement does, it will desist from using "procurement speak", back up discussions with facts and data, and "deliver on promises". He also explained that the working culture of purchasers would now follow a 2-1-2 methodology: "two days a week with customers; two days with suppliers; one day at our desks."


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