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23 May 2013 | Adam Leach in Accra, Ghana
Buyers must develop a comprehensive strategy around their initiatives if they are to maximise the value and contribution that their team can make to their overall organisation.
Speaking at the CIPS Pan African Conference in Accra, Ghana yesterday, Nat Maelane, procurement director at paper and packaging business Sappi Southern Africa stressed the importance of developing a comprehensive plan that underpins how an initiative or project will deliver value. Furthermore, he said that by establishing a plan before taking action, factors such as its alignment it to the wider business are taken into account.
“You must have a strategy. It sets the tone for everything you want to do with procurement. It [also] aligns you with the rest of the organisation,” he said.
He also stressed the importance of having the right “enablers” in place to help buyers achieve success. In particular, he identified processes, systems and skills as vital factors.
Maelane also told the audience of buyers from across Africa that he was in the privileged position for a procurement professional of reporting directly to the CEO and sitting on the board. He explained that in addition to making it easier to get buy-in for procurement activity, his life is made easier as a result of hearing what other parts of the business are doing at an early stage. “When you report to them, life becomes easier,” he said.
He revealed that Sappi had brought in CIPS to act as a “dipstick” and measure the maturity of its procurement function, finding that progress had been made, with further improvements to come.