Building awareness

10 April 2012
Rebecca Ellinor, managing editor, Supply ManagementWhile long involved in mergers and acquisitions (M&A), procurement increasingly has a role in divestment projects too. As we hear in the April issue, “it’s just doing the exact opposite” to M&A activity and, as one former CPO says, “there are some situations where it may make sense for purchasing to lead a divestment programme”. While it is “the opposite”, there are also similarities as the work requires help from those who hold the relationships with suppliers who understand the implications of a sale for the supply chain and can work with providers to ensure a smooth transition. These projects are another way for procurement to increase its profile and integrate itself into the business. And this, it seems, remains something the profession needs to do. As Heath Davies, a plant manager for Trelleborg, says in this issue’s stakeholder column: “A lot of people don’t know what procurement can do – people think they just set another group of measures they have to comply with.” His view seems to be supported by research that found more than a fifth of senior executives “are not at all sure” of procurement’s role. Davies recommends face-to-face meetings with internal customers to explain how you can help them achieve their targets. “They will want that help,” he told me. “I know I do.” And in this issue’s Soapbox, where we invite a procurement professional to have a rant, Nigel Sussman complains that far from procurement sizing up how it can get the chief roles above CPO, it is still fighting for its place in the boardroom to represent purchasing and supply chain. As he sees it, functional expertise is not what is required at board level, but an all-rounder with a business brain who sees the big picture. He says secondments in sales and operations would help. And finally, a date for your diaries: the Annual CIPS Conference will be held at Kings Place in London on Thursday 4 October. The theme is ‘Building the Profession of the Future’ and the event will include a range of high-profile speakers, category and legal workshops. More details to follow...
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