Buyers should become science and politics buffs

Adam Leach is a freelance business journalist
30 May 2013

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Procurement professionals who aspire to move up to the highest echelons of their organisations should develop a broad range of knowledge encompassing subjects such as science and politics, according to a buyer-turned-chief-executive.

Babs Omotowa, managing director and chief executive officer of Nigeria LNG, advised purchasers to read up on subjects outside of their discipline to enable them to communicate better with other parts of their business. He proposed that those whose view was heavily or entirely centred on procurement would struggle to gain traction throughout the wider organisation.

“If you’re only concerned with procurement, no wonder other parts of the business don’t listen to you. Go beyond your profession and focus on big issues,” he said.

Omotowa, who was previously general manager of supply chain at SNEPCo (Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production), identified a narrow knowledge base within areas of the procurement profession as one of the things holding it back from taking its place as a strategic function.

Further to this, buyers should measure how much time they spend on transactional procurement and how much time they spend on strategic procurement. By measuring this, he said, buyers could work to tip the balance more towards adding strategic value.

He also advised members of the profession to ask themselves what they can achieve as an individual and to identify where they believe the profession should be. He also stressed the importance of “being at ease” with technology for the modern buyer.

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