Procurement must be 'sold' as profession of choice, event hears

19 January 2015

There is a need to ''sell'' procurement as a profession of choice both within Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group and the wider industry, according to its head of procurement.

Jon McKeown told the Birmingham audience at CIPS’ ‘Be More Procurement’ event in November that procurement within Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group has increased in profile and with that has come an increase in expectation. “We need the ability to attract new personnel to an area not recognised as a ‘hotbed’ of aerospace activity,” he said.

“A changing skill set is required – a blend of commercial, financial, projects and business development. A greater focus on rotation of roles within the business is also needed.”

Soft skills, such as influencing decisions, understanding programme risk and improved stakeholder management are also required, he added. One way the aircraft engineering and support solutions company is hoping to do this is by offering appropriate personal development for procurement personnel through its support to the industry/CIPS jointly developed Aerospace & Defence Academy.

Procurement at Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group sits within a typical matrix organisation as a team of 100 embedded project and core dedicated professionals providing bespoke solutions for tactical procurement and logistics, supplier management and warehousing and material movements.

Deployed personnel are also located for individual customers, for example at RAF Brize Norton to support first-line maintenance and management of components for the RAF C-130 Hercules’ through-life support contracts.

“Embedded procurement personnel and key members of the team provide the interface between the project team and supply chain, negotiating and managing support contracts and ongoing supplier relationship management,” McKeown said.

The company faces a number of challenges in balancing openness and transparency with a commercially sound contractual position, protecting investment in intellectual property and acting as the “commercial conscience” of the project team for supply chain matters.

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