'You need the whole of your business with you for procurement excellence'

Rebecca Ellinor Tyler is former editor of Supply Management
22 October 2014

The road to procurement excellence is paved with challenges and you can’t act in isolation, said Kevin McCafferty, group manager, strategic procurement and supply chain at Fortescue Metals Group.

Addressing delegates at the CIPS Australasia Conference this month, McCafferty said: “You can’t do it alone, you need the whole of your business with you. Involve your internal and external stakeholders at all times.”

In a session entitled ‘Tales of transformation from a master storyteller’, McCafferty, who has a wealth of experience delivering transformations, shared what he has learned. He said the core requirements to achieve procurement excellence were teamwork, stakeholder management, honesty and integrity, the right culture, a clear vision, courage and resilience.

He said procurement excellence meant you had 100 per cent of spend under management, a well developed supplier base, good risk management, were leveraging innovation, had tight cost management and were a ‘price maker not taker’.

With regards to vision, he said to transform procurement you must know where you want to get to. He said Fortescue Metals Group’s vision was to be the safest, lowest cost, most profitable iron ore producer. He said a ‘behavioural toolbox’ helps to make up its values, which drives everything the company looks for in its supply chain. This behavioural toolbox includes enthusiasm, empowerment, family, safety, frugality, generating ideas, integrity, determination and the setting of stretching targets.

McCafferty added that acting with honesty and integrity is key. “Always say what you are going to do – and do it.”

He warned the audience that courage and resilience were must-haves when it comes to transforming and improving your procurement function. “You will have many obstacles to overcome. And even when you think you can’t do it, you must keep going,” he said.

McCafferty was named ‘CIPS Australasia Procurement and Supply Chain Management Professional of the Year’, at the gala awards evening that followed the first day of the conference in Sydney. 

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