Image conscious

10 May 2010
The glamorous reputation – or otherwise – of the purchasing profession was a hot topic at this year’s Institute for Supply Management conference, held last month in San Diego. Steven Miller, senior vice-president of strategic sourcing and procurement at the Walt Disney Company, must have one of the more enviable roles in the business. “Before anyone asks, I have met Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie,” he said. Sadly, though, “I haven’t met Johnny Depp, and sourcing/procurement isn’t responsible for negotiating with any of them.” As if in consolation, however, he did add that Disney has the largest single-site laundry in the country. One man evidently not destined to make many friends at the conference was economist Jason Cummins. Recalling a conversation he had at a different event for purchasing and supply managers, he said: “I introduced myself as an economist and the guy said to me, ‘That’s interesting, because you guys are so boring.’ And I thought: ‘The supply managers have just told me I’m boring. I’ve achieved a new low.’ ” Maybe he could consider branching out and pepping up his offering. Then he could hand out interesting business cards like the one HT was given, which read: “Seminars in supply management, supply management consulting, nature photography – so all your purchasing and wildlife picture needs neatly rolled into one.” It’s all about identifying the market.
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