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What is it like to be a procurement expert at PA Consulting?

Written by: Jennifer Jackson
Published on: 5 Dec 2019

PA Consulting

Insider insight from Cady Allen, procurement expert at PA Consulting, about what it’s like to work there and the procurement job opportunities available.

PA Consulting is a major global innovation and transformation consultancy. In the past few years, it has done everything from delivering a system that detects explosive devices, to implementing the infrastructure for the roll-out of smart meters. 

For Cady Allen, feeling trusted, empowered and invested in are just some of the factors that make PA a ‘wonderful workplace’. In an exclusive interview with CIPS Procurement & Supply Jobs, she tells us more about the team culture, what makes a great procurement professional and the exciting career opportunities on offer.

Cady Allen
Cady Allen: “PA offers more than a job. We offer a career in consulting, a stake in our firm, and an environment where individuals and ideas matter.”

Cady, tell me about PA Consulting and the work you do

PA Consulting is an innovation and transformation consultancy with over 3,000 specialists in consumer, defence and security, energy and utilities, financial services, government, healthcare, life sciences, manufacturing, and transport, travel and logistics. We operate globally from offices across the Americas, Europe, the Nordics and the Gulf.

What is your vision and mission?

We believe in the power of ingenuity to build a positive human future in a technology-driven world. Our diverse teams of experts combine innovative thinking and breakthrough technologies to progress further and faster, and achieve enduring results together with our clients.

What exciting procurement projects are you working on?

The client I’m currently working with plays a vital role in supporting our armed forces and has an annual spend of c.£3bn. Their commercial function is a key enabler to its success. I’ve been supporting my client’s procurement transformation journey to become a strategic and value-adding function. 

PA has introduced a customer and category led management structure; completely redesigning the operating model and rapidly increasing their resources. We have published the client’s first commercial strategy and procurement plan, which has allowed our clients to collaborate better with industry. 

Concurrent with the transformation, I’ve been working hand in hand with PA teams that are delivering a varied portfolio of procurements on behalf of our client.

What roles are you recruiting for and what do they involve?

PA is actively recruiting for procurement people at all levels of experience. The roles include an exciting mix of delivering strategic procurements with our clients, and transforming organisations so they can buy better for their customers. 

Although I work within defence and security, PA is hiring across the business for procurement consultants that operate in both the public and private sectors. We want to build a diverse team of people with a full breadth of experience across the procurement lifecycle.

PA offers more than a job. We offer a career in consulting, a stake in our firm, and an environment where individuals and ideas matter.

Apply now

What do you think makes a great procurement professional?

It goes without saying that procurement professionals need to be driven, detailed and engaging to extract value from the suppliers they manage. However, procurement is evolving, so strategic thinking, with the ability to see the bigger picture and embrace change, is now key. 

Our clients are increasingly requiring their leaders to have the ability to drive ethical standards and govern the supply chain to prevent exploitation and drive social value, innovation and sustainability. With the rise of technology in procurement, digital skills are becoming inherent, whilst human elements such as collaboration, engagement and negotiation are becoming even more important to control the business change.

Why would someone want to work at PA Consulting?

The scale and complexity of the procurement projects we work on are significant, which keeps us at the forefront of consulting. We’ve done everything from rapidly delivering a system to detect explosive devices, to supporting the letting of contracts worth £2.4 billion, and putting in place the underlying infrastructure for the roll-out of smart meters in Britain. You have probably used one of the outputs of the services or products we have procured - from a new passport to premium bonds. 

PA invests in developing its people’s capabilities with core consultancy skills and professional accreditations, including funding and support to achieve MCIPS. We empower our people to come up with new ideas, encourage diversity of thought and recognise and reward their achievements.

What makes a ‘wonderful workplace’ for you?

A wonderful workplace for me is somewhere the time doesn’t pass slowly, because the work is so interesting. I feel trusted, empowered, invested in and supported. I’m doing what I love. I have opportunities to try new things and feel challenged. I am making a difference, not just to my clients but as a leader of the firm. I am surrounded by a team who share my passion, inspire me and are supportive of each other.

What is your procurement team’s culture like?

Our culture is driven by our six core values:

 1.    Passionate about people
We are proud to be part of a brilliant team and passionate about supporting each other.
2.    Prizing our ethical approach
With integrity and honesty, we strive to do ‘the right thing’ rather than ‘the easy thing’.
3.    Inspired by client value
We are committed to creating visible and sustained value for our clients.
4.    Seeking to excel
We aspire to continually enhance our learning; we are ambitious to grow our innovation and insight​.
5.    Creating commercial success
We take personal responsibility for our commercial success, sharing and reinvesting our rewards.
6.    Achieving success through shared endeavours

We work collaboratively in diverse teams, shoulder-shoulder with our clients. We achieve more together than we could alone.

Sum up what it’s like to work at PA Consulting

It’s exciting, fast paced and challenging. I have worked on a variety of projects across different geographies; a particular highlight has been a major international procurement project working with a supranational governmental organisation. The career progression at PA supports ambitious and driven people. The opportunities that PA makes available to you are endless and you have a real opportunity to shape the future of the firm. 

Explore procurement jobs with PA Consulting