Diversity brings 'richness of ideas' for Holcim buyer

posted by Angelique Dingle
9 July 2018

Diversity is the most precious thing you can have within an organisation, according to the head buyer at Holcim.

Kelly Irwin, head of procurement at Holcim, speaking at the CIPS Australasia Conference, said: “It brings a richness of ideas and cross functional collaboration and tolerance.”

During a panel discussion on diversity, Rob Halsall, head of procurement for Westpac New Zealand, said: “For me, diversity is about multiplicity, it’s diversity of thought and diversity of skill set and mind set. It’s collective thought, country of origin and culture.”

The impact of millennials on the workforce was seen through the eyes of Chontelle Kelly, a supply chain graduate for Nestlé, who said she brought a different perspective to her team, based on her level of experience and usage of technology.

Kelly had a range of suggestions for how to attract diversity to the procurement and supply chain industry.

“It’s very hard to attract something to someone if they do not know it exists,” she said.

“Awareness is the number one problem that I see in attracting diversity to procurement. Procurement and supply chains are not mentioned as career choices in high school education and they are very rarely mentioned in tertiary education.”

Kelly explained that there is only a handful of universities in Australia that offer supply chain at an undergraduate level and that people often fall into the career rather than pursuing it.

“I think CIPS has a lot to do in getting out to high schools and the community and partnering with industry as well,” she said.

“So within your own organisations, if there is a role in your team that can be considered as an entry level role, consider advertising that directly to a university job board.”

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