Both parties can win when working together, agreed Laura Faulkner and Patrick Dunne  ©ADeverill
Both parties can win when working together, agreed Laura Faulkner and Patrick Dunne ©ADeverill

Collaborate, don't compete, buyers told

1 November 2018

Buyers at rival companies should collaborate rather than compete, according to procurement bosses at Nationwide and Sainsbury’s.

“In regulated industries there is little lost by working together,” said Laura Faulkner, director of supply chain management at Nationwide. “We work with the other banks because we always ask the same things of our suppliers and customers.”

Speaking at the CIPS UK Conference in London, she added: “Where you get the competitive advantage is what you do with the information when you take it back inside your own organisation.”

Patrick Dunne, director of group procurement and cost base transformation at Sainsbury’s, said even in the highly competitive world of food retail, collaboration was paramount.

“Whether you’re at Tesco or Asda, Sainsbury’s or Morrisons, we talk and share. If you learn from one another it’s a win-win. It’s not like innovation or design.

“Even in the oil and gas industry there are platforms set up for rival companies to share information about safety on oil rigs.”

Oliver Cock, managing director at Foodbuy, said: “We’re all asking the same questions anyway so you might as well collaborate.”

Caroline Levitt, former vice president of global procurement at telecoms company Inmarsat, said the next step for procurement professionals was to have more trust in vendors, as well as each other.

“Procurement people are great at collaborating but I think we could do more with our vendors. We have a natural distrust that vendors are telling us the truth,” she said.

“If we can bring our own guards down around the vendor base we can collaborate with them more. That would be a big step forward for the procurement industry.”

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