'Develop your own brand to get ahead in procurement,' says top CPO

Paul Snell is managing editor at Supply Management
4 June 2014

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5 June 2014 | Paul Snell

Purchasers should develop their own brand and style of working to reach the top of the procurement profession, says a leading CPO.

Alex Jennings, CPO at global can manufacturer Rexam, was talking to SM on how to get ahead in a career in procurement.

He said he had worked with and learnt from good people throughout his career, and advised people to take the positive elements from those they work with in order to establish their own style.

“You need to develop your own brand and think about your core beliefs and your behaviours, and fit your style to suit that. If your belief is one thing but your behaviour is another, that inconsistency will come out,” he said. “Who are you? What are you? What do you believe in? That is something people need to consider.”

Further suggestions for professionals looking to advance their careers included:

• Learn on the job. "There is nothing better in procurement than time served and learning through the mistakes. Learn with smaller commodities so you don’t make them when you are managing a £2 billion contract,” said Jennings.

• Make the most of CIPS. Take advantage of the assistance the institute provides and attend branch events.

• Surround yourself with good people. “Don’t be frightened of having people who work for you who are going to push you,” Jennings added. “If you feel threatened by someone who works for you - who could potentially take your job or who is better than you - you will never be successful.”

• Engage with the business. Don’t be a transactional buyer sitting in an office. Develop a style so stakeholders will come to you for assistance and then involve them in the process, he advised.

• Find a company that matches your beliefs. “If you find a company that has the same beliefs, style, and culture - and you work hard - then everything else will come, because you fit with that.”

A full interview with Alex Jennings will appear in the June edition of Supply Management

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