Purchasers are 'seizing the moment' during downturn

8 June 2009

09 June 2009 | Martha McKenzie- Minifie

Buyers are trying to advance their long-term careers by taking on more professional responsibility as challenges rise in the downturn, the latest SM100 poll has found.

Of the survey respondents, 67 per cent said they were trying to develop their future prospects by adding to their duties.

Of those who were not, many said they were already under too much pressure to consider doing more. "At the moment it's difficult to manage the existing challenges we have without trying to take on extra responsibilities," wrote one.

Another replied: "No - in fact I am having to justify my position, despite saving tens of thousands of pounds."

A spotlight on procurement as a function has been frequently cited as a beneficial spin-off of the downturn. The poll sought to uncover if there were opportunities for professionals at a personal level and if workers were exploiting them.

One candid respondent, who asked to remain anonymous, said they were seeking more professional responsibility partly by looking for a new job.

Gary Moore, procurement performance manager at BAE Systems Insyte, said buyers' jobs did not change in the downturn but the perception of them might.

"All procurement practitioners, regardless of sector and market, will be feeling their profile has risen. Naturally the more ambitious will be seizing the moment," he said. "The cliché applies - don't see problems, see the opportunity."

Among those seeking additional work was Philip Dews, contracts manager, central procurement
at Interserve. He was "ensuring that people at all levels within the business are aware of me and what I do".

He looked to CIPS to enhance his profile by attending more events and joining the Construction Procurement Group committee.

Malcolm Madeley, purchasing manager of Sears Seating, has extended his role from being purely procurement-focused to take on more responsibilities. He is now the company "champion" to identify and implement government funding incentives in any area within the business.

"With people [in general] either being made redundant or leaving without replacement, it is a fact of life," he said.

Yvonne Kemsley, managing director of procurement and sourcing specialist Eden Consulting, said: "In this climate there is a real need to be flexible, not only to survive but to do so successfully."


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