Procurement is about instilling a ''cost conscious culture''

21 October 2011

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21 October 2011 | Adam Leach

It is the responsibility of a procurement team to promote a cost conscious culture within a company – delivering savings is a given.

Speaking at last night’s CPO Agenda Question Time-style debate, Patrick Dunne, group procurement and property director at Alliance Boots, told an audience of buyers that purchasing’s role requires them to go further than just generating cost savings.

“I like to see it as instilling a cost conscious culture,” he said. Illustrating the danger of focusing solely on cutting costs, he added: “If all you do is eat, you die.”

Dunne made his comments in response to a question about whether procurement should be focused on delivering short-term savings or working towards longer term objectives. Pontus Bjornsson, vice president account management, Capgemini Procurement Services, said the two are not contradictory. “A lot of the short-term focus is around identifying savings, but the long-term strategy needs to be about realising them (savings).”

Andrew Vaughan, group procurement director, BDR Thermea, said in order to deliver more expansive benefits to an organisation, procurement needs to be made up of people with commercial sense and strong interpersonal skills. “Commercial is definitely number one, but my people regularly meet with stakeholders so they need to have communication skills.”

Panellists also highlighted the increasing importance of change management. Daniel Baun Christensen, procurement platform manager at Lego, said procurement must help its stakeholders find effective suppliers. “Guide them to the right supplier so it’s not seen as bureaucratic, otherwise you'll be viewed as a procurement function that cracks the whip.”

Following the panel discussion, held at One Moorgate and sponsored by Capgemini and SAP, panellists and the audience enjoyed canapés and a glass of wine while they continued to debate and network.

On Thursday (27 October), CPO Agenda is hosting a webinar entitled Spend management: How to do it and how to optimise it. Panellists include head of UK procurement at HSBC Bank, Martin Street, and Robert Hindman, senior manager, BPO procurement at Capgemini Procurement Services.

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GPA Procurement
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