Procurement in a remote island nation

Andrea Gregory, group procurement director, FonterraNew Zealand is an interesting place to do procurement. In a nutshell…

• Only 5 per cent of companies have more than 50 people
• It’s an island nation with a small population
It is far from everywhere
Many large companies have branches here but decisions are made overseas
It has an agriculture-based economy, with some very successful knowledge industry and niche companies.

All this means we deal with ongoing issues of ensuring competition and preventing monopolies, ensuring security of supply in the face of long and often complex supply chains, and struggle with the challenge of getting the right kind of talent.

Looking to tackle these challenges head on, EY (formerly Ernst & Young) is facilitating the Procurement Excellence Forum to bring together senior leaders passionate about achieving success through strategic procurement. This forum has created an opportunity for procurement leaders from the public and private sector alike to get together, discuss the issues, share ideas and most importantly, take action to advance procurement in NZ.

The first session in early November highlighted the enthusiasm among NZ procurement leaders for this type of forum. As a result of our discussions we have five key initiatives to focus on, three of which have been given priority;

• Knowledge sharing – procurement excellence, best practice, thought leadership
Capability building – competency database, standardising job titles, capability assessments
Connecting with tertiary institutes – developing a talent pipeline, raising awareness and building excitement in young leaders

The forum has made a real commitment to each of these initiatives with leaders volunteering their knowledge and time to task teams to really drive outputs for 2015.

Senior leaders from all industries and sectors will be working together to address the issues we have been discussing for aeons. The real success behind this forum will be that it is led by procurement people, for procurement people.

I look forward to working with my peers to make a real difference in the (NZ) world of procurement.

Andrea Gregory is director of group procurement at multinational dairy company Fonterra Co-operative Group

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