'Make the case for value, not savings,' says CIPS president

Rebecca Ellinor Tyler is former editor of Supply Management
1 November 2012

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CIPS president Paula Gildert, who takes up her one-year tenure from today, says procurement professionals need to change their vocabulary to make their presence felt.

“The procurement performance conversation is hugely dominated by savings. Getting it right first time is obviously the goal, which means you won’t save a cent. Our ‘winning’ strategy, is therefore one in which we will ultimately fail if that is the only thing we are recognised for.

“My personal mission is to re-establish that conversation on a value-basis. We have some fabulous stories to tell but, often, we are not the ones telling them – or at least not in a way that grabs attention.”

Gildert’s plan for her CIPS presidential year is to support the institute’s mission to lead global excellence in procurement and supply. She intends to do that in her day job, through her role on the CIPS Board of Management and by encouraging and inspiring people she meets over the next 12 months.

“Everything about good business is influence and quality of decisions. If we can’t be excellent at that it doesn’t matter how many fabulous category strategies we have, nor how many ideas we have on cost reduction and cost avoidance.

Sometimes, we are stuck in the jargon of our function. We talk about ‘category strategies’ and so on. Business doesn’t want to hear that. They are not the phrases that will grab their attention. 

“We almost have to reinvent ourselves. We have to be the Apple iPod – when that was invented no one knew they needed 1,000 songs in their pocket. Now they can’t live without it.”

Gildert, who is based in Switzerland as global head of development strategic sourcing for Novartis Pharmaceuticals, will help promote CIPS’ development of offices in international regions as well helping to transform UK membership to ensure it remains an exciting and essential prospect.

She will also assist with CIPS’ ambition to raise the profile of procurement among young people as a profession of choice.

“CIPS has a big strategy to deliver and my role as president is to add energy or emphasis to that. I am very proud to be president. It’s an honour and I will do my best to do it justice.”
Read the full interview in the November issue of Supply Management here

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