Put procurement at the heart of your business, says CIPS president

Rebecca Ellinor Tyler is former editor of Supply Management
4 November 2015

New CIPS president Richard Masser is urging the profession to put procurement and supply at the heart of their organisations.

Masser, who takes up his year-long tenure at the start of this month, began his career as a stock controller with the Wolseley Group and is now CEO of Crestwood UK & Asia.

He worked his way through the ranks of lower, middle and senior management, held main board directorships and was the youngest serving director of a public Danish manufacturing company at the age of 30. He has experience in a variety of sectors including retail, distribution, wholesale and manufacturing working for both private and public companies.

Asked how to action his theme and put procurement at the heart of business, he said: “For me, the equation is quite simple.”

The key elements are: Training and development to gain skills and continuing professional development to keep current; a thorough understanding of corporate objectives and participation in setting your own aligned objectives; commitment to ambitious but deliverable targets that push you out of your comfort zone; confidence in your ability to deliver; proactively making the highest level of management aware of what you intend to deliver before you deliver it in order to be seen as a strategic enabler; deliver on your promise to generate results that can be relied upon; share success and recognition for the added value procurement brings; and create tangible value to enable procurement to sit at the heart of your business.

Masser, himself an entrepreneur having set up his own company in 2000, also urges the profession to “harness their inner entrepreneur – or ‘intra-preneur’”.

He said: “The same attributes that make a good entrepreneur are of tremendous value in-house. You might remain in procurement for your whole career - perhaps with a single company - but you can still think and act like an entrepreneur in that environment and add real value.”

Masser said entrepreneurs typically think independently but always listen to others at all levels of the business hierarchy; take individual responsibility, but work in teams; and take controlled risks, whilst at the same time doing everything they can to mitigate them. He describes them as “magpies” who take best practice from any industry if it will work in their organisation and he said they think strategically, laterally and constantly ask ‘how can we improve?’

“These are great attributes for anyone working in procurement. If you can acquire them [and you can] you will begin to think and act like an intra-preneur, and your organisation will benefit.”

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