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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
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.