10 April 2014 | Lisa Gregg
Collaboration is key to procurement success at American Express, says Lisa Gregg, who works closely with the department on “mutually beneficial solutions”.
Describe your relationship with procurement?
The significance of the procurement function within our organisation shouldn’t be underestimated, particularly within the team that I head up, consumer products and experiences. The team’s relationship with the procurement department at American Express is both positive and collaborative. We
recognise the importance of understanding each others’ business objectives and we work together
to develop mutually beneficial solutions.
Has your view of procurement changed?
My view of procurement has always been to see it as a long-standing relationship that evolves over time as the business moves forward. Given the ever-changing economic climate and extended compliance rigour that our industry faces, managing costs and risks has become increasingly important. This has meant that our partnership has grown much closer over the past five years.
Has procurement assisted specific projects?
Procurement was instrumental when we were looking at our global marketing agency roster. We cut our list down by 11 per cent, which was a win-win situation for both American Express and our suppliers. Having a more refined list helps suppliers, as we are now focusing our business with fewer players.
Where does procurement really add value?
Procurement adds value in helping us make the right choices. With the department’s involvement we are confident of our suppliers’ ability to fulfil their promises. I manage a global product team, so it is important for me to be reassured that our supplier base can achieve global standards across the board. The procurement team also works alongside us to maintain continued oversight of our key suppliers to ensure a successful and productive relationship.
Where can procurement provide more support?
It would be very helpful if procurement could continue to offer more proactive insight and analysis, highlighting new and potential opportunities that could benefit and further assist business needs.
Can you quantify the
value of procurement?
Yes. The procurement team has been instrumental in reducing business costs of core benefit partners and marketing
agency expenses through rationalisation, negotiations
and productivity improvements, resulting in year on year reductions in excess
of 10–15 per cent.
Is working with procurement easy enough?
The strong working relationship that we have
cultivated with our procurement department means we have an open dialogue and work effectively together when addressing new requirements and opportunities.
How can the working relationship improve?
The working relationship can improve by continually being clear and targeted on what the mutual objectives are and what the procurement department needs from the business, particularly in this evolving environment.
It is also important to give sufficient lead time to be able to meet each others’ objectives.
☛ Lisa Gregg
is vice president of consumer products and experiences at American Express