A helping hand

10 December 2012
Rebecca Ellinor, managing editor, Supply ManagementIt seems to me that procurement professionals are remarkably good at helping each other out. You want to, you enjoy it and, frankly, you’re just an incredibly helpful bunch. And I’m not the only one who’s noticed. Speaking at the CIPS Annual Conference last year, Ellis Watson, managing director of newspapers at publisher DC Thomson and former CEO of Simon Cowell’s company SYCO, said he thought procurement professionals were very good at sharing ideas and best practice with one another and he advocated more of it. “Within procurement there are no new things,” he said. “Just go out and find it. Talk to strangers. We should be a lot more forward, because people will be more direct.” You never know when a favour you pay a peer will be repaid, he added. Gerry Walsh, who has just headed up procurement at the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games and is a former CIPS president, made the same remark to me once. “Pay it forward,” he said. In other words, do the right thing and give your time to help people because the chances are you'll need a favour back from them sometime. But when you’re looking for help – perhaps with a new category you’ve taken on, an overseas market or a particular approach – how do you know who are the best people to ask? Do you use your existing network and call upon those you’ve met? Do you scan your LinkedIn contacts for suitable assistance or do you benchmark the best procurement performers in this particular area somehow? We want to know. If you’ve ever sought help from a peer, Supply Management wants to know how you went about it so we can share your tips and advice with all readers. So, go on, do what you do so well – help each other out by dropping us a reply below or emailing rebecca.ellinor@supplymanagement.com.
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