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PURCHASING OPPORTUNITIES International markets. £billions spent with suppliers worldwide. Complex deals and global negotiations. Everything about Purchasing at Jaguar Land Rover is massive. Every moment is as challenging as it is rewarding. So there really is nowhere better to apply your exceptional influencing and negotiating skills. Join our Purchasing team and your work here will help guarantee our customers continue to enjoy the highest quality products on the market. Right now, we’re seeking talented and ambitious professionals to join us in a range of specialist roles – from Purchasing Managers and Procurement Specialists through to Platform Capacity Planners and Capacity Planning Volume Analysts.

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Whether you’re selecting suppliers and driving value, overseeing procurement across a commodity portfolio, or making sure capacity planning keeps up with spiralling global demand, you’ll be instrumental to our worldwide success. And of course you’ll be a valued member of a peerless team of truly world-class individuals. You’ll hone your talents at the leading edge and experience incredible moments that will define your career. So wherever you want to go, make Jaguar Land Rover your ultimate destination. Discover more and apply at

Scan with your QR code reader to visit the mobile site.

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THE CAREER OF CHOICE WELCOME TO THE GUIDE TO Procurement Careers 2012/13. This guide is aimed at students who are doing or have just finished A-level or graduate qualifications, as well as those who have recently joined the profession and want advice on how to advance their career. For those of you still studying, you’re no doubt wondering: “Procurement, what’s that? And if I work in it, what will I be doing?” What you will be doing is buying things for organisations, be they global companies, government departments, local authorities or charities. This means you could be responsible for the purchase of anything and you can do it anywhere in the world. See some examples of the variety of the work on p8. This guide will describe how a career in the profession will be rewarding, stimulating, enjoyable and – last, but not least – lucrative. As we report (p24), salaries are consistently higher than in similar sectors such as marketing or HR. And it doesn’t matter what you’re studying. Business-type degrees have direct relevance, as do ‘softer’ subjects. The ability to get on with and influence

people is vital. There is increasingly an ethical dimension to procurement, so degrees with an environmental perspective are also relevant. A career in procurement could see you working for anyone from Apple to the United Nations, British Airways to GlaxoSmithKline or Jaguar Land Rover and anything in between (see features on p16-17 and 20-22). And you could find yourself in the City of London, Whitehall, Sydney or Shanghai (see p36). Either way, you are likely to be given responsibility from day one. If you haven’t decided what you want to do, or even if you have, take a look at a career in procurement. And for those who’ve already made that choice, this guide should help you plan an your next steps.

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● For more information, visit, m/careers, om or


Rebecca Ellinor Managing editor, Supply Management magazine


A WEALTH OF OPPORTUNITY Welcome by David Noble, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS)



START SPREADING THE NEWS You will have seen what buyers do on the news – but might not have realised





PROFESSIONAL VOICE Membership of CIPS opens the door to a range of career benefits

TIPS FROM THE TOP Careers advice from Alan Sugar, Michelle Mone and Peter Jones A DAY IN THE LIFE Recent recruits on why they love the job


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POSTCARD FROM... With the growth of global trade, procurement staff are in demand across the world

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STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD If you want to do well in your career, you need to get noticed

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TALENT SPOTTING You’ve graduated – what next? Six organisations talk about their schemes to attract people just like you


MONEY TALK Procurement salaries are strong despite economic woes


STUDYING FOR SUCCESS What are the qualifications you need to become a purchasing professional – and how do you go about getting them?


FOLLOW THE TRENDS Five recruiters tell us all about the procurement and supply job market

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TALKING TACTICS Procurement professionals explain why planning is key to a career

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LEARNING CURVE Combining study with full-time work

LEADING THE WAY How a mentor can help your career WORK IN PROGRESS Experts reveal what top organisations look for when recruiting buyers

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33 EDITORIAL 020 7324 2746 Editor/publishing director Steve Bagshaw Managing editor Rebecca Ellinor Digital content editor Paul Snell Chief sub-editor Samantha Robinson Sub editor Kathryn Manning Design Carol Rogerson, Ellie Rudolph, David Twardawa Picture researcher Akin Falope Production manager Jane Easterman Senior sales executive Rav Kang

Guide to procurement careers 2012-13 is a supplement to the November 2012 issue of Supply Management. Published on behalf of The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply by Redactive Publishing Ltd, 17 Britton Street, London EC1M 5TP. © Redactive Publishing Ltd 2012. All rights reserved. This publication (and any part thereof) may not be reproduced, transmitted or stored in any print or electronic format (including but not limited to any online service, any database or any part of the internet) or in any other format in any media whatsoever, without the prior written permission of the publisher. Redactive Publishing Ltd accepts no liability for the accuracy of the contents or any opinions expressed herein. Printed by Woodford Litho


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aking any career choice or decision can be a daunting prospect, whatever part of your career path you’re on. So we have produced this guide – an indispensable look at one of the fastest growing and highly sought after professions in today’s business world. We’re hoping to help you make the right career choice. At the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS), we’re passionate about procurement – and are focused on making procurement and supply the profession of choice, whether it’s at school-leaving age, a post graduate

decision or a move that occurs later in life. Demand for this integral profession has meant that the opportunities are vast and the pay is rewarding (salaries are outstripping many other professions such as HR, marketing and IT. See p24). The skills and qualiďŹ cations you will achieve will make you a key component of any organisation – and CIPS can help: turn to p11 and p25 for more information. No two days are ever the same, the variety of areas to work in is endless and the opportunities to travel are abundant. Procurement and supply sits right at the heart of any organisation – both in the public and private sectors. As you turn these pages, I hope you’ll get a feel for a fast-moving, dynamic profession that is always on the hunt for talented people. If you have the drive and determination to succeed and want to be a key player in your career, then read on. We really hope you ďŹ nd this guide informative, illuminating – and maybe even life changing. David Noble, CEO CIPS

The latest procurement news straight from your institute’s magazine team to your inbox every working day! Articles on people, organisations and the issues affecting buyers around the world Four news stories, a blog and job alerts




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Experts Recruiting Experts

Experts in Procurement & Supply Chain Recruitment Contact us at or call us 0203 301 6820

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ENHANCE YOUR CAREER IN PURCHASING Weekend MSc Strategic Procurement Management (Level 7) Professional CIPS programmes: Level 4, Level 5 & Level 6 Flexible weekend study starting: November, January & March

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BOUGHT THAT Business celebrities Alan Sugar, Michelle Mone and Peter Jones tell all about procurement and give their top tips for getting on



Two recent recruits explain what they love about the job

SPREADING THE NEWS From buying Olympic horses to transforming NATO policy, procurement is always in the news – but you probably didn’t even know

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START SPREADING THE NEWS Buyers purchase anything and everything. Some source goods from local suppliers, others run international supply chains. You will have seen what they do on the news, but might not even have known it, says Rebecca Ellinor



rocurement is all around you: the university you’re at, the company you work for, the council you get services from – they all need to buy things to keep themselves running. It could be ‘direct’ purchases like jumbo jets in the case of British Airways, or ‘indirect’ goods and services like the computers used to support operations. Every organisation of a reasonable size in every sector in every country relies on purchasing to help run their business or the services they offer. It could be the components to make TVs, energy to run factories or models to appear in photo shoots. Who is responsible for buying the parts that go into building an engine? Who buys the engine that goes into a new car? And who buys the vehicle to be used as a taxi, police car or part of a company fleet? Procurement does. The profession rarely trumpets its own achievements, but its impact on organisations can be enormous. It can make or break a business. You will have seen news stories that are directly about procurement – both good and bad – but might not have been aware of its involvement. Here are some examples of what it does, who it helps and how.



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LONDON 2012 Around £700 million was spent on the goods and services needed to stage the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London this summer. This expenditure covered everything from gold medals, sports equipment (including horses for equestrian events), to the toilet rolls needed for the athletes’ village. “We had to buy 55 horses of equal ability. If a horse could jump

particularly high, it just wouldn’t be fair,” said director of procurement Gerry Walsh. He added: “The eyes of the world were upon us.” The sustainable approach to merchandising taken by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games set new standards and the procurement team is helping the Rio 2016 organisers plan their games.

HAITI It is estimated up to three million people were affected by the earthquake that struck Haiti on 12 January 2010. The Haitian government reported that an estimated 316,000 people had died, 300,000 had been injured and 1,000,000 made homeless. The Disasters Emergency Committee, composed of 13 humanitarian aid agencies, mobilised immediately with other charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as part of the co-ordinated response. Procurement is part of comprehensive plans to deliver and distribute basic commodities such as food, blankets, sheets and tents.

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WEST COAST MAIN LINE The UK’s Department for Transport recently cancelled the current competition for the West Coast Main Line railway franchise and put the brakes on all others currently being conducted, over concerns about the procurement process. CIPS CEO David Noble said: “What is important now is to ensure large, complex contract awards are successful and efficient going forward, delivering the best result for the public purse.”

WORLD OF WARCRAFT Vivendi, the parent company of games-making group Activision Blizzard, which makes computer game World of Warcraft, plans to make savings of about ¤500 million (£396 million) by the end of 2014 through costeffective procurement strategies.


THE AVENGERS Trade union the American Federation of Musicians has protested against Marvel Studios over a purchasing decision. It recorded The Avengers film score in Europe because it was cheaper. “They took off to Europe to record the musical score, hurting Hollywood’s film musicians. We don’t think that’s fair,” said president Ray Hair. Marvel Studios declined to comment.

PULP Three of London’s arts venues have formed an energy procurement collective called The Arts Basket to benefit from bulk purchase prices. The National Theatre, Royal Opera House and Royal Albert Hall (below) are teaming up with energy procurement consultancy Power Efficiency to combine buying power.


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JAPANESE TSUNAMI When an undersea quake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale created a towering tsunami on 11 March 2011, it wreaked havoc across Japan. The human price paid was huge. So, too, was the cost for businesses, both Japanese and those across the world as disruptions to the supply chain transmitted the impact to companies in the UK, the US and elsewhere.



Mars has called for the chocolate industry to collaborate to provide the “billions of dollars of investment” needed to ensure sustainability and create positive impacts for farmers. Barry Parkin, Mars global chocolate procurement and sustainability head said in a statement: “We believe that the best approach to cocoa sustainability is to partner with our industry peers, governments, certification organisations and NGOs for the common good.” Mars is running ‘Vision for Change’, which helps cocoa farmers in the Soubre region of Ivory Coast, West Africa, the world’s largest cocoa producer.

NATO A small team of procurement professionals at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) won a major award this year for transforming military policy, saving property, money and, most importantly, lives. Buyers at HQ Supreme Allied Command Transformation designed training that would help armed forces counter deadly improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Their efforts have reduced the number of casualties of NATO forces relative to the number of IED events.

G4S Two executives at security company G4S stepped down following the fiasco over the security contract for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In September it apologised and thanked the police and military for their help in delivering a safe and secure games. The back-up plan to bring in the armed forces was put in place by procurement.


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THE VOICE OF THE PROFESSION The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) is your professional body. Membership opens the door to a range of training and resources to help you in your career – including guides such as this one and a monthly magazine


IPS is the professional body representing the procurement and supply management profession. It has been running for 80 years and, with a global community of more than 88,000 members in 150 countries around the world, it is now the largest institute of its kind. As a professional body, CIPS offers internationally recognised qualifications in purchasing and supply management, such as the CIPS graduate diploma. Completion of the graduate diploma with proven experience of purchasing in the field leads to full membership of the institute and the recognised status of MCIPS, which you can put after your name.

Best practice in action It’s not just about qualifications. CIPS promotes and develops high standards of professional skill, ability and integrity among all those engaged in purchasing, whether individuals or organisations. It does this through its professional qualifications programme and associated membership standard, and by providing public access training programmes, networking opportunities and a wide range of learning resources. Helping organisations achieve and maintain the highest standards throughout their purchasing and supply management operations contributes significantly to their effectiveness. CIPS supports organisations in a number of ways, from educating and training staff to improving their performance through assessment and accreditation of their purchasing and supply methods

Redactive Media Group and is the profession’s main source of news, features and comment about procurement, supply chain and related business issues. In addition to the magazine, Redactive publishes supplements on relevant subjects, produces a daily digital newsletter, runs a LinkedIn readers group for the profession, a jobs site, Facebook page and Twitter feed. Redactive also organises events and conferences. And, of course, there is a website – - which is updated daily with news and opinion. It also has a huge archive of every story the magazine has published since 2000. This and sharing best practice between includes thousands of articles – a hugely peer groups. useful resource. Membership of CIPS recognises your Supply Management isn’t just another professional status and helps you to keep trade magazine, though. In the past up to date with the latest developments few years, it has featured interviews through courses, conferences, publications with Ultimo bra entrepreneur Michelle and networking opportunities. Mone, Lord Alan Sugar and Dragons’ CIPS asks all members to sign up to a Den star Peter Jones (see p14) and professional code of ethics, which is a set published special reports on the Middle of guidance and principles for best East and China. It also incorporates news practice in procurement. and features of particular Read the introduction relevance to the to CIPS qualifications profession in Africa, on p25 – and see how reflecting the truly Visit our website: much extra you can international nature of earn if you have them the profession and on p24. the institute. follow us on Twitter:


Read all about it Supply Management is the magazine for CIPS members and comes as part of the CIPS membership package. It is published monthly by jjoin our group on Linkedin SSee us on Facebook OfficialCIPS

● Go to www. to read the latest news stories and go to jobs. to search for careers opportunities.


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UNIQUE CHALLENGES. UNFORGETTABLE MOMENTS. GENUINELY PRICELESS REWARDS. International markets. £billions spent with suppliers worldwide. Complex deals and global negotiations. Everything about Purchasing at Jaguar Land Rover is massive. Every moment is as challenging as it is rewarding. So there really is nowhere better to apply your exceptional influencing and negotiating skills. Join our Purchasing team and your work here will help guarantee our customers continue to enjoy the highest quality products on the market.

to lead the market. If you’re a Procurement Specialist, you could oversee a portfolio of commodities and enjoy personal accountability for the full spectrum of procurement. Join us as a Platform Capacity Planner and you’ll be instrumental in supplier capacity planning for innovative programmes, based on 12 and 36 month forecasts. As a Capacity Planning Volume Analyst, you’ll play a key role maintaining a crucial demand database.

Right now, we’re seeking talented and ambitious professionals to join us in a range of specialist roles. As a Purchasing Manager, you’ll play a pivotal role in selecting suppliers. Driving optimum value and quality, you’ll ensure we continue

You’ll underpin our ongoing global growth. And in return, we’ll support your continuing development. So wherever you want to go, make Jaguar Land Rover your ultimate destination.

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Discover more and apply at

22/10/2012 11:11

THERE ARE SOME MOMENTS THAT MONEY SIMPLY CAN’T BUY. International markets. £billions spent with suppliers worldwide. Complex deals and global negotiations. Everything about Purchasing at Jaguar Land Rover is massive. Including the opportunities available to purchasing professionals. With two of the most renowned and recognised brands in the automotive market, Jaguar Land Rover is building on a proud heritage. It’s a business that’s always been famed for innovation. The drive to push boundaries and redefine possibilities has never been more evident than today – from the latest category defining models such as the Range Rover Evoque and Jaguar XF Sportbrake, through to incredible successes in the world’s emerging markets. On every continent, the most discerning drivers aspire to sit behind the wheel of a Jaguar Land Rover vehicle. And it’s some of the world’s best purchasing professionals that make all of that possible. Jaguar Land Rover is confident that it has built an unrivalled Purchasing function. The facts of their ongoing growth and pivotal role within an ever evolving, fast-paced and fiercely competitive global market suggest they are right. The business recognises that commercially savvy, people-focused individuals with a passion for quality are at the heart of their success. Quite simply, when the finest design and engineering minds in the industry dream up extraordinary new opportunities, it’s the Purchasing specialists who make it possible to transform those visions into gleaming reality. Ultimately, Purchasing enables the business to obtain the huge variety of goods and services that are necessary to function at the very forefront of the market. Crucially, Purchasing also controls spending, which means Jaguar Land Rover can keep growing while it explores new frontiers. But Purchasing isn’t about simply securing low prices. It’s about building relationships with the finest suppliers around in order to gain exceptional products and services for the best price possible. Due to the array of complex challenges that come with setting new standards in a global industry, Jaguar Land Rover has built a formidable array of seven expert Purchasing divisions. Each team has a compelling purpose and makes an impact on a global scale. Together, they are instrumental in guaranteeing that customers continue to enjoy the highest quality products on the market. Aftermarket ensures genuine parts and accessories are available within the company, whenever and wherever they’re needed. The Business Office makes sure processes and strategies are in place to drive world-class approaches to purchasing. Non-Production Purchasing encompasses the purchasing of facilities, materials and services and looks after the network of National Sales Companies that connect drivers with their ideal vehicle. Meanwhile Production Purchasing are responsible for all items and consumables fitted to vehicles. Programmes Purchasing are the crucial interface between Engineering and Purchasing teams, making sure a broad portfolio of ambitious programmes benefit from excellent quality and value. Then there’s Supplier Technical Assistance, which works to ensure the standard of suppliers is as high as the quality of products. And Value Leadership see to it that the company’s global cost base remains enviably competitive.

The work is incredibly varied. According to a Purchasing Manager within the NonProduction Purchasing division, her team has investigated hiring everything from celebrity chefs to a historic castle for a marketing event. Even down to the occasional hire of space within a bustling airport to showcase a new vehicle model, the challenges are always far from routine. One message that comes through loud and clear is that a purchasing career within Jaguar Land Rover is full of extraordinary, unforgettable moments. Everything can change at a moment’s notice. Every moment balances challenge and reward. And every person is expected to make the most of every moment, to capture every possibility. The kind of moments we’re talking about are those that can define careers. And there are plenty of exciting moments to come. Jaguar Land Rover has ambitious plans for further growth. Which means they’re actively seeking talented individuals with a passion for their brands to join the Purchasing Function. They say they’re looking for a very special combination of skills for most roles. Naturally, candidates will need to be excellent with figures, with a keen eye for detail. Commercial savvy is crucial. And with sales now reaching over 170 countries worldwide, a global outlook will clearly be an advantage. Equally important to a successful career in Purchasing at Jaguar Land Rover is the ability to connect with people. It’s very much a ‘family’ environment. And as well as collaborating with talented colleagues, many Purchasing professionals will also be expected to work closely with suppliers. That may well involve the challenge of negotiation, so the ability to motivate, persuade and influence change could really set you apart. One thing that will certainly set you apart within the profession is the opportunities Jaguar Land Rover can offer for ongoing personal and professional development. It’s a business with a well-deserved reputation for investing heavily in its people. And that’s because it recognises the unique contribution they each make to its successes. There’s a comprehensive training offer, plus all the benefits you’d expect from an industry leading international business. You might find yourself working in the UK or overseas – or simply extending your skills within a different specialist division. What’s more, there are often very good relocation packages available. So wherever you plan to go in your purchasing career, Jaguar Land Rover could well be your ultimate destination. You can investigate purchasing




Scan with your QR code reader to visit the mobile site.

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TIPS FROM THE TOP What do business celebrities Alan Sugar, Michelle Mone and Peter Jones think of procurement and what advice do they have? Rebecca Ellinor finds out

ALAN SUGAR Alan Sugar says procurement professionals should know what they’re talking about, be honest, but remember that suppliers have a living to make as well. Lord Sugar, star of The Apprentice, who has been dealing with members of the profession for more than 30 years, says procurement is the third most important element to any business. “First is the product, the second is the selling and the third is buying,” he says. He also describes how long-term supplier relationships are the only way to do meaningful business. “You have to build supplier relationships… so that in good times and bad times you have support.” While some believe buyers could learn some valuable lessons from salespeople, Sugar cautions against believing their conjecture: “Take no bloody notice of them,” he says. “You’d end up bankrupting your company if you start purchasing materials and products on the basis of sales forecasts. So you want to keep those people well apart.”

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MICHELLE MONE Buyers should be creative and full of ideas if they want to get noticed by the board of their company, according to Ultimo bra entrepreneur Michelle Mone. The co-owner of MJM International, which includes the Ultimo, Bra Queen and Adore Moi brands among others, says: “As the world changes, the business has to change with it and not be afraid to do so. Be proactive, bring ideas to the table and don’t just do the same mundane things every month. Think of new opportunities or places the business hasn’t gone before. Be creative – that’s what chairpeople and chief executives look for.” Mone adds: “I don’t want boring people around me, I want people full of ideas to move the business forward. There are plenty of people out there and I want the best for my business.” Mone, who left school with no qualifications to get a job to help support her family and was running Labatt Brewing Company’s sales and marketing team five years later, said being positive was also important. “Be upbeat, not all doom and gloom – there’s enough of that in this world.”

Peter Jones, entrepreneur and star of BBC TV show Dragons’ Den, says purchasers should inspire young people. Jones, who has set up a series of enterprise academies for business-minded teenagers, says students liked hearing from businessmen and women with the best life stories to tell. “Our students love these honest masterclasses because they are inspirational and personal. I would encourage the heroes of procurement to make themselves known and get out there and meet more young people. Tell them, through honest personal accounts, what it means to procure services for amazing things like, for example, London 2012 – that’s a great way to make the story of procurement ‘sticky’ and engaging, in my opinion.”




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Two graduates who joined procurement training schemes explain how they got into the profession and what they like about it

CALLUM CURRIN PROCUREMENT EXECUTIVE – FUEL, BRITISH AIRWAYS How did you get into procurement? After studying BSc geography at Kings College in London, I decided to take a year out to travel, going from Melbourne to Tokyo the long way round. I decided to look on the internet while in Japan at the graduate recruitment schemes. The BA procurement scheme jumped out at me and I decided to do the application one evening in a Tokyo internet café. After five months – and many hoops – I started as a graduate buyer at British Airways. I have been working towards my CIPS qualifications ever since and am looking forward to a long career in procurement.

If you’re at a party and someone asks what you do, how do you explain it?

urrin Callum C

Anna Car affi

Most people do not really know what procurement involves so I tell people that I am a buyer at British Airways, which is always followed with:

“Oh wow, do you buy planes?”. My job is all about getting the best commercial deal for British Airways – it may not always be the cheapest as a number of variables can affect the total cost of ownership. I am heavily involved in negotiation, contract management and contract drafting, but the role offers many different tasks, from assisting in recruitment to conducting presentations on the role of the procurement department to the rest of the business.

What does an average working day involve for you? I have already had two roles within BA, as a fuel buyer and a customer product and catering buyer, and both had very different average days. That is the beauty of being in procurement – it’s the same job, but the tasks are miles apart. The role involves a lot of engaging with internal stakeholders, suppliers, tender participants and colleagues. I draft contracts and compliance to ensure BA is protected and a fair process is followed. My work can involve meeting suppliers worldwide.


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What do you like best about your role? I like the variety and the responsibility it brings. We can directly affect the performance of the company and many of the things we buy are visible to the customer. Last year, I was buying the quarter bottles of wine for economy and the champagne for business and first class – it’s great to get on a plane and see the result of all that work. I have been involved in projects offering challenges and providing variety, which makes me glad I chose procurement.

What’s been the highlight of your role to date? Working for such a large organisation, there are a number of opportunities. I have been lucky enough to work on some high-profile projects including catering and BMI integration. My highlight to date has been signing my first contract. Projects often take months to complete and when you sign the contracts you really feel you have achieved something.

Do you have a career plan? If so, what is your long-term aim? In the short term, I want to see as much of BA procurement as possible and pick up knowledge in as many areas as I can. Becoming MCIPS is also a priority. I would like to be known as a hard-working individual who consistently delivers results on time. The best thing anyone can hope from their career is to succeed and have variety in their role.

In hindsight, is there any advice you would have given to yourself when you graduated? There are so many jobs out there that you will never have

hea d o heard off orr tho thought ough u t abou a about, b t, bou t so o expand your horizons and apply for everything you think looks interesting. Also, being academic is only part of the story. Interview questions require breadth and depth so do as many extracurricular activities as possible: jobs, volunteering and travel give you that little bit extra that gets you the job offer.

Any other points? Buying comes in many different forms and there is something for everyone in large organisations. Tenders vary from logistics to computer software and a graduate scheme allows you to see lots of these areas. You may stumble across something you love, but had never thought about.

ANNA CARAFFI PROJECT MANAGEMENT, GSK How did you get into procurement? During my degree at Bath University, I took an industrial placement year working for Kraft Foods at its coffee manufacturing plant in the business development department. I worked closely with many other functions, including procurement. This gave me my first real

u und understanding err tan ers an ndin ding o off what what procurement was all about. I liked the idea of working and building relationships with suppliers as well as internal customers.

which I c which compile into a presentation for the CPO and workstream leads.

What do you like best about the role?

In short – I’m a buyer! In my last job, I supported the carton category for UK, Ireland and France within the paper packaging team so I would explain it as: “I buy cardboard”!

My current role is extremely interesting because it gives a new perspective on the procurement organisation within GSK. My previous roles have been commodity focused, whereas this job has given me exposure to the high-level view of procurement and the direction the new CPO is taking it.

What does an average working day involve for you?

What’s been the highlight of your role to date?

My current role is in the project management office (PMO) for a large savings project within indirect procurement. As a result, I sit in daily meetings with the rest of the PMO team and the chief procurement officer (CPO). We highlight any issues and wins, as well as escalations e esc sc c to the CPO that ttha at c could prevent us achieving ac ach a c ch hie ie our target and a nd d we also discuss ongoing ong o n initiatives. I sspend some of my day da d a talking with the lleads le e of the identified workstreams within w tthe th h project to offer any an ny support with n ttheir th heir he h i savings levers. I also collate the weekly we w e update from tthe 11 workstreams,

Highlights include negotiating directly with suppliers and delivering incremental savings to the business. In my new role, it is being part of a project due to deliver large savings before December 2012.

If you’re at a party and someone asks what you do, how do you explain it?

Do you have a career plan? If so, what is your long-term aim? My career plan is coming together as I come to the end of my time on the graduate scheme. The short-term plan is to find a permanent job within GSK’s post-graduate scheme. The longer-term plan is to gain further experience in different procurement teams (direct and indirect procurement) with the intention of moving into a managerial role in four to five years.


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CAREER PROSPECTS MONEY TALKS Salaries in procurement are staying strong, despite economic woes




TOP Qualifications you need to become a purchasing professional

You’ve graduated and you’re raring to go. Six organisations talk about their schemes to attract people just like you

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TALENT SPOTTING Now you’ve graduated, where do you go from here? Rebecca Ellinor finds out how six organisations attract graduates



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OPTIMUM PROCUREMENT DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS (DWP) THE UK GOVERNMENT’S DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS introduced a ‘Procurement Management Development Scheme’ (PMDS) in July 2007 to recruit high-calibre graduates to become its procurement managers of the future. The scheme has three components: ‘training for a procurement qualification’, where trainees are supported to study for the CIPS graduate diploma, ‘practical experience’ – gained through placements, and ‘management and interpersonal skills’ training and development. There is also a series of supplementary events designed for trainees that cover mentoring and new developments in procurement. The aim is that after three years the programme will result in a professionally qualified procurement manager who has a range of skills. This gives them the potential to advance quickly to senior positions within procurement and it enables the department to ‘home-grow’ qualified procurement specialists who are in the meantime making a valuable contribution while training. Those with a 2:2 degree in any subject can apply to go through a selection process to get a place. Dave Welch in the finance and commercial directorate says the emphasis is on the individual taking responsibility for their own development, supported throughout their training by the scheme. The PMDS encourages a trainee to think creatively and suggest methods for meeting their development needs themselves.

SINCE 2008, JAGUAR LAND ROVER (JLR) HAS HAD MORE THAN 1,000 graduates join the business. Around two thirds who are accepted each year work in engineering, while the rest do corporate roles, including 15-25 in purchasing. The company accepts applications from graduates with at least a 2:2 degree from September to December each year. Ellie Pittson, who has recently finished the two-year purchasing scheme, applied after doing a psychology degree and a year in a purchasing role at a small business. She spotted the opportunity on the website and completed psychometric tests before being invited to an assessment day. “I wanted to work in a business environment and purchasing stuck out as something that would suit my skills,” she says. Pittson is now part of the Manchester recruitment team that attends careers fair days to explain what purchasing is to potential new recruits. “Students appreciate speaking to people who are doing the job,” says Laura Wigley, HR consultant for graduate recruitment at JLR. Graduates are offered a permanent position and spend the first two years on the scheme, which includes general training (business behaviour, placements in plant and with dealers), as well as specific training according to their role. In purchasing, that includes negotiation, time management and quotation analysis training. And some are now invited to apply for CIPS training. Retention is high and Wigley says that because JLR is a big company, individuals can have a really varied career. JLR also offers three- and 12-month placements to undergraduates.

“I wanted to work in a business environment and purchasing stuck out as something that would suit my skills”



THE GRADUATE SCHEME AT OPTIMUM Procurement is as new as they get. The first recruits recently joined the company’s 35-strong team. Over the next two years, they will get to work in all three areas of the business – procurement outsourcing, procurement advisory and fleet management outsourcing. To set up the programme, chief executive Peter Rushton approached the Liverpool Business School at John Moore’s University to form a partnership. And now Optimum is one of a number of organisations that competes for the cohort of around 20 students who have done a business degree and specialised in procurement as part of it, including taking the academic element of MCIPS. “We’re tapping directly into people who want to be in our profession,” says Rushton. He presented to the students to explain what a role in services procurement involves and had a good response. “The calibre of people is very impressive,” he says. Since his business is small, it took on two graduates for two years, by the end of which he expects them to take on a “category manager role as a minimum”. Optimum is also offering a one-year placement for undergraduates doing their sandwich year as part of a four-year degree, which means it has early engagement with potential graduates. “We have the pedigree of a big company and the culture of a smaller business – we can be more agile and it’s more personal,” says Rushton.


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CAREER PROSPECTS PROXIMA UK POWER NETWORKS A PROCUREMENT GRADUATE PROGRAMME WAS SET UP AT UK Power Networks in 2004 after the business requested it as a means of attracting bright students to work in purchasing. It then evolved into a full-fledged scheme and last year was developed into the Business and Commercial Management Graduate Programme. Graduates are allocated a ‘home base role’ and then have a series of mini-intensive placements throughout commercially focused areas of the business to develop their company knowledge. And in recent years they have been given their own projects to lead and bids to tender for. After a year to 18 months in their first supported role, graduates are able to apply for any position within the business they have an interest in. Audrey Bevan, recruitment advisor at UK Power Networks, says: “They are very popular within any team they move to because they have a great passion and willingness to learn and as we now recruit graduates with a business-focused degree, they are far more aware of the commercial sector than in the past. “Having business graduates benefits us massively. They look at things from a different perspective and are full of new and creative ideas.” The company finds candidates by advertising directly at universities and on specific job boards. It also runs soft skills sessions on campus to encourage students to apply. UK Power Networks is now looking at setting up an internship programme to attract candidates at an earlier stage.

ROLLS-ROYCE AS A GROWING GLOBAL BUSINESS, ROLLS-ROYCE SAYS IT requires a “high-quality pipeline of talent”. It has run the ‘Purchasing Professional Excellence Programme’ for more than two decades. The company offers a programme that lasts for about 18 months, but is flexible in duration to take into account the prior experience of individuals and their development needs. Various rotations last for around three months and are chosen to make sure they offer the breadth of functional knowledge and experience needed, with graduates expected to undertake attachments in the following roles within the company and its supply chain: buyer, production control, value improvement, processes and business development. In each attachment, graduates are expected to gain an understanding of the key accountabilities of the job, the process and tools used in it and how it interfaces with other roles. “At the end of the scheme, graduates are likely to transition into a professional role within the function with the expectation that they will have an accelerated trajectory into the first line management roles, such as regional purchasing manager or global commodity leader,” says Julie Broad, graduate development manager. It markets the scheme in 34 universities in the UK, Europe, US and Asia. Campus recruitment typically starts in October and continues through to the following March, and applications are made via The company continually reviews its programmes to ensure they are fit for purpose according to business requirements (internal and external challenges, the talent it has and the management positions it needs to fill) and make any necessary changes.



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FOR THE PAST 10 YEARS, procurement outsourcing business Proxima has encouraged strong graduates with an interest in procurement to join the company. It offers summer placements, year-long placements to undergraduates and a two-year graduate training scheme that rotates around four attachments. The first year is spent at Proxima’s Support Services centre in South Wales, learning about market research, tender management and moving on to spot or transactional buying. The second is as a procurement analyst delivering solutions as part of a client team. Graduates are expected to manage projects, engage with client stakeholders and work with at least two different clients. “We believe in giving our graduates responsibility as soon as they join us. That way, they can learn from real-life scenarios and we can benefit from their skills and input,” says Clare Harris, head of procurement operations. Like other businesses, it works alongside key universities offering procurement as part of their degree programmes to find candidates and some who have been on its scheme have gone on to become senior employees. The organisation benefits from their creativity and enthusiasm and where a graduate has shown a keen interest in other areas of the business, for example sales and marketing, Proxima has gained fresh insight by involving them in certain projects. Kirsten Boyd, procurement analyst at Proxima who is studying at Loughborough University, says the placement offers variety, (she’s worked on spend areas from fire extinguishers to wine), responsibility (she has run her own projects with support) and the consultancy skills training sets it apart from other roles. “These skills will certainly be called upon throughout my future career,” she says.


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Despite the current economic crisis, salaries in procurement remain strong, says Paul Snell


here has been pressure on pay marketing and sales. Junior buyers saw throughout the economic pay grow by 6.7 per cent to £32,000 a downturn. Recent research by year. Salaries of middle managers were the Association of Professional around £40,000 and senior managers Staffing Companies revealed the were £50,000 on average. At the highest average graduate starting salary fell by echelons of the profession – chief 13.2 per cent compared with the year before. procurement officers and procurement But despite this, remuneration in the directors – pay can be between £100,000 procurement and supply chain profession to £250,000 a year. has remained high, fuelled by strong David Noble, CEO of the Chartered demand and Institute of Purchasing a shortage of & Supply (CIPS), says: Average starting skilled candidates. “The news continues wage for graduates “Top candidates to be good for working in the with a commercial procurement and supply edge, the ability to purchasing profession professionals as we see generate long-term not only a demand for sustainability and more purchasing deliver robust business expertise in business solutions are in high and in governmental demand, but are often purchasing but the in limited supply,” says rewards for excellence Andrew Whitehead, are also rising.” operating director – procurement and There is also a premium for those who supply chain at Michael Page. have the right qualifications (see next According to figures produced by page). CIPS members are paid an average Broadbean Technology, the average of £2,000 more a year than non-members. starting wage for graduates working in Of course, certain regions and sectors the purchasing profession was £36,340 offer better rewards. The highest wages – a rise of 4.6 per cent compared with 2011 and above the median of £32,577 Annual salary of chief across all professions. procurement officers and It highlights the robust nature of procurement as a career choice, where procurement directors wages have continued to grow even during the tough times. The latest CIPS/ Croner Salary Survey, published in March 2012, again found those working in procurement continue to be paid more than their counterparts in other professions, including IT, finance, HR,


are found in London and the South East. And those in the financial services sector have seen pay rise by 5 per cent at a more a year time when than nonsalaries in other members industries remain stable. “The past six months of eurozone turbulence has added a fresh urgency to efforts to reduce costs and this is leading to a noticeable increase in new procurement jobs in this sector, which is pushing up wages,” according to Christina Langley, managing director of Langley Search & Selection. Those candidates with special expertise also continue to be in demand. Recruitment firm Michael Page predicts there will be demand for experts in buying logistics, utilities, energy and marketing. This is also evident from the results of the inaugural Institute of Travel & Meetings’ Salary Survey 2012, which looked at the remuneration of travel purchasers. It found the average salary for those specialising in this category was £50,588, increasing to £60,464 when bonuses and other benefits were included. In the pharmaceutical sector, the average remuneration package for travel buyers was as high as £87,730. And again, there is extra money available for those who are CIPS qualified. Purchasing’s reputation as a global profession (see page 36) means demand is not restricted to the UK, with companies worldwide looking to attract the best and brightest. In Australia, according to recruitment company Jigsaw Search, the average salary of a regional procurement manager is between AUS$280,000 to AUS$330,000 (£179,704 to £211,790). Buyers in the US earn an average of $102,218 (£63,760) and in Canada the average is CAN$82,800 (£52,745). In Africa the best wages are paid to those working in purchasing in support services, followed by the construction sector. Search for positions by salary, location, seniority and sector, upload your CV, receive jobs alerts by email and browse career advice. Visit




CIPS members are paid an average of


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STUDYING FOR SUCCESS What qualifications do you need to become a procurement professional – and how do you go about getting them?


his can be a tricky subject. It’s true that there are no pre-requisite degrees required to join the procurement profession – but what do you say if an employer asks: “Are you qualified?” More and more, those entering the procurement profession are finding themselves needing to be qualified. There are many different approaches individuals can take to procurement qualifications, from specialist undergraduate and post-graduate degrees to studying for your professional qualification while working. Obviously, business-related degrees are going to offer major benefits when starting in the corporate world, but people enter the procurement profession from all different backgrounds. Whatever you’ve studied, it shouldn’t be a barrier. Here’s a quick guide to understanding the qualifications landscape in procurement.


Professional qualifications Professional qualifications are generally awarded by professional bodies – such as CIPS. In some areas, such as law, professional qualifications are mandatory before you can practise. However, for procurement, sitting the professional qualification is deemed as demonstrating understanding of the profession as well as academic rigour. Although pursuing a professional qualification is voluntary, individuals are often asked by their employer to study part-time alongside their job, which often means that the employer will provide funding.

and indirect procurements ● E-procurement and purchase-topay systems. There are various ways you can study for your CIPS qualifications. Many still choose to study via the traditional study centre route, attending sessions in the evenings or on a day-release scheme. There are a variety of study centres all over the world offering CIPS courses. There are also modular and flexible learning approaches, including self-study options and e-learning. After completing the CIPS qualifications, To study and take examinations for students can use a CIPS qualification, you need to the letters MCIPS register as a studying member, which means you’ll be able to access a range of benefits and study support.

CIPS qualifications


CIPS offers a range of qualifications in purchasing and supply management. When all levels are completed (along with three years of work experience), the individual is able to use the designatory letters MCIPS after their name. Topics covered by the qualification are constantly reviewed to ensure they remain current. New changes coming in 2013 will introduce areas such as: ● How effective supply chain management creates improved business outcomes in cost reduction, quality improvement, time to market, innovation and sustainability ● Offshoring and sourcing from low-cost countries ● Detection of breaches of ethical practices and compliance ● Category management for direct

Before embarking on your CIPS qualifications, it’s worth considering if your own studies and qualifications may overlap with the CIPS syllabus – possibly gaining exemptions from CIPS study units. You will need to evidence these, showing their relevance to specific units within the CIPS qualifications.

Accredited degrees At both undergraduate and post-graduate levels, a number of specialist degree programmes have been accredited by CIPS, offering an alternative route to full membership of the institute. To find out more about how and where to study CIPS qualifications, and for a full list of accredited degrees, visit

STOP PRESS: CIPS is launching new qualifications, available for study from March 2013. To find out more, visit: NOVEMBER 2012 | WWW.GRADUATEPROCUREMENT.COM

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FOLLOWING THE TRENDS Five recruiters tell us about the procurement and supply job market. While they agree it is increasingly recognised as a vital function, they disagree about the availability of graduate schemes

JOBS Upload your CV and receive alerts by email via

PAT LAW PORTFOLIO PROCUREMENT ORGANISATIONS AND INDUSTRIES THAT ARE PERFORMING WELL generally look to increase staff, while those that are not might reduce headcount or simply maintain current levels. While these trends are often short term, careers are not. The challenge is to track opportunity and maximise your personal contribution to your employer. Organisations that have embraced procurement and been influenced internally and externally as to its value will invest in it. Where procurement is still seen as ‘back office’, it risks being viewed as expendable. Organisations looking to cut costs may look to procurement to deliver savings, but not headcount reductions. This gives procurement the opportunity to make itself critical. By delivering what is required and a little more, you are increasing its reputation – and your own. Some recent highlights include continued cost control in public services, activity in the business process outsourcing sector and more recognition of procurement’s value. The manufacturing sector has been troubled, but enjoyed an upturn this summer. The challenge is to maintain it because the value of a strong manufacturing base goes beyond the industry itself. If you are seeking a new career with challenge, responsibility, visibility and progression, get on board. If you are already in procurement, ensure you are maintaining your personal development, meeting targets, delivering projects and acting as an ambassador for the profession. The best talent will always be in demand.


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NICKY TABERNER DIRECTOR, HAYS PROCUREMENT & SUPPLY MANAGEMENT DESPITE A TOUGH ECONOMIC climate over the past few years, procurement has an increasingly important role to play in organisations. A successful procurement team can add value by making cost savings that impact the bottom line, as well as delivering greater efficiencies and sourcing better products and services. The fact that procurement now often has a voice on the management board and the appointment of more chief procurement officers shows the influence procurement can have on overall strategy and growth and puts the function firmly in the spotlight. This is all good news for graduates

looking for a career in procurement and those early into their careers looking for progression because it means organisations need the right talent to deliver their expectations. Encouraging new talent as well as developing home grown professionals is high on the agenda of many firms. We are seeing an increase in the number of higher education courses in procurement to encourage people with a wide range of abilities and experience to join the profession with, for example, MScs, MBAs and various diplomas available. This is certainly helping to raise the profile of procurement as a career of choice among graduates.

NEIL SYRED PROCUREMENT AND SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGER, BADENOCH & CLARK PROCUREMENT IS NOT A BUSINESS process, but a value-adding business function. Many executive teams now understand what procurement adds and this will continue to grow, particularly as it improves profitability. Procurement is therefore set to increase in stature over the coming year and there is an increasing trend for its professionals to be viewed as strategic advisors to internal stakeholders. To achieve this, procurement teams need employees who take it upon themselves to add value by creating successful supplier relationships and identifying financial exposure from potential disruptions to production. Procurement teams are increasingly outsourcing tactical, costly transactional work to specialist

companies, but maintaining hands-on control of strategic operations, such as managing supplier relations, so there is high demand for these skills. There is movement in the market. Many procurement specialists with a certain level of experience are considering a move to senior roles in other organisations. The result is a gap opening for entry-level employees and those with one to two years’ experience. Procurement practitioners need to be skilled in operating at director and cross-functional level to influence key business buy and/or make decisions. Develop your influencing skills – especially with internal and external stakeholders – be professional, flexible and engaging with a persuasive manner, enthusiasm and passion.

CHRISTINA LANGLEY MANAGING DIRECTOR, LANGLEY SEARCH AND SELECTION ORGANISATIONS ARE PLANNING for the downturn to be ‘business as usual’ and cannot wait to find new people. Boards are recognising the benefits of good procurement to the bottom-line, efficient operations and limitation of risk. For graduates, there is less competition to get into procurement than other areas. The number of companies taking on graduates and with graduate schemes has risen by about 5 per cent in the past year. There is recognition we need a good pipeline of candidates coming through, echoed by CIPS. The prospects for a career in procurement are good. With more firms outsourcing and going back to their core operations, relationships with suppliers are key. There is a shortage of high-calibre candidates and if you are one of these your career progression can be quick. The road to getting qualified is easier than, say, for accounting, and there are different routes that can suit different circumstances. The market for procurement interims is well developed in the UK. Overall recognition of the need for skilled procurement people has risen during the recession. As a ‘destination career’, it would seem to be well paid, exciting and interesting.

JACK CORNELIUS OPERATIONS MANAGER, BARCLAY MEADE THE MARKET FOR YOUNG AND dynamic procurement professionals is at a premium for companies hiring in the current climate. Regardless of whether they are a small enterprise or global blue chip, every organisation wants to attract the stars of the future into their procurement and supply chain function. As the procurement agenda rises up

the priority list with the board, the niche pool of candidates has become scarce. Coupled with the reduction of graduate schemes over the past three years, firms are now missing the influx of new blood and are turning to the idea of capturing talent from the competition. The result: a new war for talent and a hike in salaries for the sought-after ‘second job’

generation. The attraction to this strategy is the ability to secure resource that is well on its way to development. The idea is great in theory, but how many graduates are even aware of procurement as a possible career? Barclay Meade is working very closely with CIPS to attract the next generation to the world of procurement.


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23/10/2012 09:09


THEY WANT What are blue-chip

companies looking for when hiring purchasing staff? Experts explain how to make yourself more employable



Buyers are in demand across the globe

TACTICAL MANOEUVRES A little bit of forward planning will help you get the most from your career. Procurement professionals tell you how

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To get what you want from your career, you need to do some forward planning. Procurement professionals explain how to make sure you end up exactly where you want to be


hen it comes to career planning, there’s a clue in the name – you have to plan it. Recent research shows a little over 43 per cent of those working in the UK do not have any career plan. The study by Office Angels found only 5.3 per cent planned six to 10 years in advance. Steven Kirkpatrick from the company says many workers take a short-term, unstructured approach to career planning in response to recent job market uncertainty, which means it comes “as no surprise that over a third feel they are falling behind in their careers”. First, you need to know what you want and plan how to get there. As Supply Management magazine columnist Nicola Bromby, head of commercial management at Heathrow Airport, puts it: “You wouldn’t go into a negotiation unprepared, so why take that chance on your career?” Take a step back and ask yourself where you want to go, where will you add the most value and what roles most excite you, she says. “There’s nothing wrong with changing direction and seeking out alternative routes, but it is important to know where you would like to end up,” she adds.

Build your brand Ian Bolger, head of the managed procurement service at Thames Water, seconds Bromby’s advice. He says people should understand what they’re good



TALKING TACTICS and not good at, build their brand and deliver with style. Bolger has 20 years of experience in procurement and supply chain across various sectors including oil, brewing, heavy building materials and now utilities, including 10 years in directorlevel leadership roles. He suggests people decide what lifestyle they want first and work backwards from that. “Think life first, then career and how much you have to earn to get it,” he says. He says those who think they want to be a CEO should try spending a day in the life of one “because it’s hell”. “They don’t have a life, it’s with them all the time and nothing is clear, everything is grey.” Bolger believes procurement is too quick to beat itself up that it’s not at the top table when the CPO role is already a really big one. However, he argues too many purchasers are one-dimensional. “We talk about what’s important to us – savings – but the business is focused on

competition, customers, product and brand. To be relevant the higher up a business you go, you need to talk less about procurement and more about business. CEOs want people who are good CPOs, but could also be good in other roles. Many procurement professionals lack breadth – people stay in their comfort zone.” He suggests procurement professionals build networks and alliances, get to know the key recruitment professionals, are honest with themselves about their strengths and weaknesses and seek positive and negative feedback about both. He also suggests people don’t rely on HR to help and don’t wait for things to happen. “Get trained and if you want a senior position keep moving on and challenging yourself.”

Gain support A recent poll of buyers carried out by Supply Management magazine found three-quarters of procurement professionals are given support from


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organisation, where the most senior sour, negative attitude. I can’t deal with purchasing/supply chain person was not that. The people who can’t step up have at a level of seniority to influence the to step out.” senior stakeholders. This led to a degree Carter at Network Rail adds: “Become of frustration and resulted in me leaving.” a problem solver within your Victoria Nicholson, demand manager organisation. No manager likes at Omega Pharma UK, is being passed problems.” another buyer who receives Bosses also caution: support. “Our culture and don’t just concentrate on values drive ownership and the urgent at the expense ● Make a plan – what are promotes the growth of of the important. It is the your strengths and what individuals,” she says. “It long-term goals, the do you want? conducts regular talent strategic, value-adding ● Pick the right company reviews to ensure talent work you do that will – and boss and ambition is recognised define you and advance ● Get a mentor and supported. The your career. company supports Senior buyers – often ● Make the most of opportunities available my professional the ones on the other side to you development by enabling of the interview desk – me to attend external also suggest: know what ● Address skills gaps industry-recognised you want and make it courses and seminars.” clear. If you tell your boss Bolger says he has been fortunate to what you want to do at your company in have had some excellent bosses and future, it makes your intentions obvious recommends you don’t accept a job (and hopefully helps them to consider unless you’ve met your future boss. you if such an opportunity comes up). “There are people in the market who It also gives you time to prepare because are leaving in their droves if your manager thinks you’re not ready because they have chosen for such a post, you can ask what you the wrong leader.” need to do to be ready and focus on Jim Carter, head of achieving it. contracts and procurement Harris agrees. “It’s up to you to find operations at Network Rail, ways to develop the capabilities and skill advises people to join sets that will allow you to attain your companies they believe in. career objectives,” she says. “Feeling you’re contributing to You might consider trying to get a something worthwhile can carry you secondment elsewhere in your business through the challenging days.” to develop your capabilities and raise Mentors can also assist in your success your profile. and one tip is to ask someone in the Carter suggests people think of the business you perhaps don’t get on with competency profile of their ideal role, to help you. “It’s a great compliment so and structure their learning and people rarely say no and that way you development to address any gaps. “Build can build a relationship with them,” relationships internally and externally. says Bolger. Procurement is a small world,” he adds. Leandra Harris, executive vice And MBAs may not be the answer for president of human resources previously everyone, says Paula O’Reilly, head of at Randstad Canada, also says this is practice, procurement at recruitment key. “Seek out allies and mentors in company Purcon. “They can differentiate the workplace and make the most of you as a job candidate, but theoretical these relationships.” knowledge must be backed up with practical experience.” Be prepared for challenges She says for those who hope to head Bolger says he’s a fairly hard boss to up their own teams in future, it’s work for, but he cares about those who important to understand the skills in the work for him and those that survive do team before making changes, such as well. “I’m proud that a lot of people hiring former colleagues. who’ve worked for me have gone on to She adds: “Do not jump into taking do great things.” the next step up the career ladder even Talking about a past situation in which if it is a bigger salary. Getting depth of 30 per cent of his team left or got fired, experience in each role adds he said: “The 30 per cent who went had a weight to a promotion.”


“You wouldn’t go into a negotiation unprepared, so why take that chance on your career?” their companies to help them develop within the profession. Richard Merry, supply chain co-ordinator (UK) at Nuplex Resins, says for example: “The company runs a talent awareness programme, which basically looks at individuals to assess whether they are better suited, and might prefer, to be used in another section. Additionally, they help with funding for further education to give employees a step up within the company.” Barry Carson, head of supply chain at B&W Mechanical Handling, says he is getting the support from his current employer, although he has worked for companies where that has not been the case. “My current organisation is very supportive in my career progression. However, other organisations I have worked for have been far less supportive. Purchasing and supply chain was historically deemed as an administrative function, merely processing orders for all other departments. “There was also a plateau within the


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the time you put aside to complete your studies is almost always at the expense of work or, more likely, your own leisure. In the same way you put aside your own personal interests and commitments for that time, you also need to put aside your professional ones. Doing that requires discipline, strength of mind and clear rules of engagement.

Sacred time


Brodie Smithers has help for those aiming for CIPS qualifications while working full time


ou know the feeling. You’re reading a book and your mind starts to wander. Your eyes keep scanning the text, but your mind is lost in distracted thought. Then the spell is broken and you have to go back and re-read the words you didn’t properly absorb the first time round. Not much harm done when it comes to reading the latest Dan Brown novel, but what about when it comes to studying? And what if the distracting thoughts are those of your job role? On countless occasions over the past three-and-a-bit years of self-study through the CIPS qualifications, I’ve found myself distracted by thoughts of work while I have been trying to learn. For example, I could be making my way through a chapter detailing a method of supplier management. There is perhaps an exercise to complete in which I am asked to imagine said method is being implemented in my place of work and I have to draft a letter to a supplier or some such similar task. Halfway through this exercise, I find


First, treat your physical study time as sacred. In the same way you turn off your phone or ban the family from your study space, you also need to shut down work calls, emails and other distractions. Make sure your study time is about study only. Thoughts of work and applying theory to your job role should be acknowledged, but not indulged. Make a brief note (one sentence) of your idea or thoughts, then immediately return to the books. This list can be referenced later at a more suitable time. Treat it like you would a meeting that keeps slipping off the agenda. Bring yourself back to the task in hand. Setting a clear deadline for completing a study exercise or a chapter and disciplining yourself to adhere to it is a good incentive and will help you stick to your study plan. If necessary build time into your study plan for making notes.

Harnessing inspiration

It can also be helpful to schedule some time at work to go through these notes and ideas at a later date. That way, the inspiration you had can be harnessed and potentially used. The benefits of your Applying experience study and newly gained knowledge can Before I know it I’ve ‘wasted’ valuable then be applied on an on-going basis in study time by making notes for myself or a structured manner and not as a sending an email to someone in the distraction to your studies. office, or worse still, making extensive Christopher Columbus said: “By notes and a feasibility spreadsheet on a prevailing over all obstacles and particular subject. Now, I know it’s distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at somewhat inevitable while studying his chosen goal or destination.” If this about a specific subject you are familiar approach helped him traverse the with to naturally apply your own Atlantic Ocean and arrive in his chosen experience to help destination of the understand it. I’m also country we now call aware it’s not the worst America, then it’s a problem to have in the sound enough blueprint Treat study time as sacred, world. Being inspired for achieving mentally and physically by study matter and an MCIPS When ideas arise, make brief applying that energy qualification. notes then immediately return for the benefit of your to your studies organisation is surely ● Brodie Smithers Stick to a strict study the holy grail of CPD is a procurement plan, including time for managers worldwide. officer at making notes for work However, when Edinburgh’s you’re self-studying, Telford College

myself thinking about the possibility of actually implementing this method and of turning theory into practice.

TOP TIPS 1 2 3


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LEADING THE WAY How can a mentor help your career? And how do you find one? Victoria Nicholson, demand manager at Omega Pharma, tells her story


he first time I realised I already had a mentor was during my first year as a demand planner, where I experienced a real hunger for connection with a job and I was further inspired by the people around me. I had been working with the European demand manager who took me under his wing and became a great role model for how I would think about mentoring people in the future, by sharing his knowledge, questioning my assumptions and challenging me to go beyond my comfort zone. I soon realised that although no formal agreement was in place, we had taken on the roles of a mentor and mentee. Another mentor during my studies was my CIPS lecturer, who helped me with career planning – often something you can seek from a mentor,

using their experience of going through the same process during their career. A key point I gained from this particular mentor was an understanding that you must always have plans in life – and without a good plan little is achieved. When I mapped out my career aspirations, I decided I wanted to be a European demand manager or business lead within five years. That was when I created my five-year plan,


1 2 3

Know yourself: analyse your skills, strengths and interests Make a plan: ask yourself where you want to be in five years’ time Identify a mentor: be honest about yourself and what you want to achieve

which was two years ago and I am on track to reach my goal. A mentor, continued professional development and hard work are a key combination to sustained success in your career. But before engaging with a mentor, as a good mentee you should be clear about what you want to achieve and how you think your mentor could help you with these goals. Mentors are people we recognise as having qualities we would like to learn from – and they can be from inside or outside of your business.

Identify your ambitions Before engaging with a mentor: ● Do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis on yourself, including areas such as experience, skills, education and flexibility.

● Think about roles and sectors you would like to work in. ● Map out your five-year plan and what you think the steps are to get there. ● Identify a mentor and arrange a meeting with them. Share with them the work you have done on yourself and set out what you want to achieve by them being your mentor. ● Be honest. They need to understand your character and what drives you. ● Be clear about what you would like from them. ● For a mentor, it is about giving back and helping the mentee reach their true potential. It is not about power, but influence, encouragement and guidance. ● A mentor should be a thought-provoker and a critic. They should be willing to share their experience, but make you do the work. They should help you review what future career decisions could mean to you personally and what commitment you would likely need to make.

A long-term influence I recently overheard a senior manager, who I respect as a visionary leader, referring to a discussion he had with his mentor and the guidance his mentor had provided. It reminded me that behind every great leader is a great teacher. Now more than three months into a new role, I understand what drives my ambition and I make decisions and choices in life based on this. For me it is about being inspired, inspiring others and working with great leaders. During my interviews for my current role, I met the managing director and marketing director and thought about how I felt they would lead the company. I decided I would feel inspired by working with them – which is a great reason for joining a company.


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What are blue-chip companies looking for when hiring procurement staff? What should you highlight when applying for a job and how can you make yourself more employable? Procurement professionals and a recruiter provide their views

GARETH HUGHES Head of procurement, Legal & General

The key is understanding what an organisation is about, what it aspires to achieve and how it wants to achieve it. Blue-chip organisations are often easier to understand in this sense as there tends to be more information available. View your next career opportunity as a marketing campaign: ● Insight Look at the company website and read about the organisation, including the careers and corporate social responsibility elements. This will tell you whether this is an organisation you will fit into, enjoy working for, or succeed in. Read the trade press and historical news.

GNFR purchasing director, Kingfisher I look at three broad aspects when assessing candidates for purchasing roles. First, can they do the job? Second, will they do the job? And third, how will they fit into my team and the dynamics of our company? The question of ‘can’ is about technical procurement skills and business experience. This covers strategic procurement capability as well as negotiating great deals with a high attention to detail. I like to find out what major achievements have been made. The second question of ‘will’ is about the candidates’ motivations, their passion for the job and tenacity to make change happen. The fit is about their experience in multi-business-unit international companies, as well as the ability to get on with people. Candidates should work out what type of organisation they want to join. Purchasing functions have different remits depending on business requirements, from structured organisations with full control and command, to more entrepreneurial environments where adding value has to be consistently demonstrated.

● Proposition What have you achieved that will contribute to its objectives for the future? Think not only about the result, but how you achieved it and the challenges. ● Communicate Whether it’s in your CV, LinkedIn profile or an interview, be concise, clear and confident. The best way to achieve this is to prepare so you know your CV and the context inside out, applying the insight you have gained, whatever the question, scenario or role.


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22/10/2012 16:22

RICHARD DENNEY Procurement director (interim), Aviva Shared Services

There is plenty of advice available about how to present your CV so it highlights strengths and experience relevant to the role for which you’re applying. This is important as it is all the hiring organisation will have to base a shortlisting decision on. The recruitment process will seek to test a blend of technical competencies alongside non-technical competencies, so it’s important to draw attention to the ones you feel are relevant and to be ready to have them tested. Blue-chips will want to look beyond procurement experience – which, to a large extent must be a given – to your non-technical qualities. When recruiting externally, we look

for those who demonstrate great customer-centricity, both internally and externally. We also look for strong leadership qualities, whether leading yourself as an individual contributor to the organisation, or leading teams. We also look for individuals who are proven to be versatile, resilient and who have performed strongly in a changing environment. Key facts 1. Consider your fit with the company and your fitness for the role 2. Present your CV in a manner that highlights your strengths and experience relevant to the company


Keep your skills current, identify your future path and make sure you communicate it to others, advises Kathi Jobkar, manager, strategic sourcing for Allegheny Technologies. Much of the advice involves asking yourself a series of questions to discover where you are, where you want to go and what you’re capable of. “Know who you are, your skills and shortcomings and what makes you feel fulfilled,” she says. She suggests professionals write a list of their strengths and weaknesses and seek input from friends and family. Next, she says, write a one-page biography that explains what you do today and what you’ve done in the past, including career highlights and credentials. If you have a second degree, highlight it on your business card: “It’s your calling card, it should speak for you to some extent, and you’ve earned it,” says Jobkar. Next, write a list of your preferences and priorities – what sort of environment do you like to work in, do you like people around, whereabouts in

the world would you like to be situated, what perks do you want and what commute will you put up with? Once you know what you want to do, ● Apply for jobs you have a chance of getting Jobkar recommends people research – if the post requires specific category the industry and speak to those in it. experience, make sure you have it. “Network and take some courses if ● Make it a no brainer that your CV will be necessary to bring your skills up to read – highlight the most relevant experience scratch.” She says people should you have that meets the job specification in market themselves by making it easy your covering letter. for others to find out about their ● Those seeking procurement staff put capabilities and get contact details. stakeholder engagement skills top of the list of requirements. Also, she says: “Get a friend to video ● Give hard evidence of achievements, for you being ‘interviewed’ so you can see example savings against percentage of spend, how you perform and build a portfolio but don’t give specific information that could to take to interviews that includes breach confidentiality. examples of your achievements.” ● Show commitment to the recruitment If you want to develop in the role process by giving information promptly and you’re already in, Jobkar advises being available for interviews. people to write an ‘advancement plan’. “Increase your value to the company by preparing – understand what the drivers of success are and find ways to contribute to them. Offer to take on more responsibility, expand your skill set, communicate your goals to your boss, observe what critical functions other members Rachel Lee, CPO at FM services provider of your team are doing and Norland, said she’s been really disappointed consider doing them, too.” with CVs she’s seen of late. “What would your ideal life look like?” she asks. “Eliminate excuses and get out there. Progress is made in inches, not miles at a time and every experience you have, good or bad, prepares you for the next thing.”


“Let’s not promote ourselves on our CVs as just doing cost savings. What else have you done?”


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nternational travel is now a frequent part of a job in purchasing. You could be visiting vendor factories to check working conditions, meeting to negotiate a deal or organising the logistics to ensure your supplies make it from the factory in Shanghai to the office in Sheffield. Companies in emerging regions are looking to take advantage of the expertise of UK purchasing professionals, who are in demand thanks to their qualifications and experience. The Middle East is one such region with a history of bringing in experts from abroad to raise the level of capability in the region. The offer is attractive, tax-free salaries offering wages as much as three times higher than an equivalent post in the UK, in addition to great weather (if you like it hot). The view from expats working in procurement in the region is it can be an enriching experience, but there are challenges to overcome, including differences in culture, working practices and laws that will not suit everybody. Such is the demand for quality purchasing professionals in Australia and


New Zealand that they have added procurement to the list of specialist professions, making it easier for buyers to obtain a working visa. According to the Robert Walters Global Salary Survey 2012, Australian companies are looking to cut costs and want procurement analysts and category managers to turn this analysis into results. With many of the major emerging economies located in Asia, that region too is looking to boost skills and expertise by attracting foreign purchasers. In 2006, IBM relocated its chief procurement officer from New York in the US to Shenzen in China to be closer to suppliers. But – as if to illustrate the requirement for purchasers to be constantly aware of shifting global trends – at the end of 2011 the technology company moved him to Budapest in Hungary, to be closer to increasing numbers of vendors located in Eastern Europe and Africa. Other companies are also moving their procurement offices overseas – not to be closer to their suppliers, but to benefit from a more favourable tax regime. But


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before you p pack ack k your ur sui suit suitcase, itca tcase tcase se, dr d dream dreaming ream eamiing ing of a new career in the Cayman Islands, the reality is slightly different. These tend to be locations with other benefits, such as good transport connections or nearer to the supply chain. So the more likely destinations include Switzerland, Luxembourg and Hong Kong. Moving abroad or being ‘on the road’ a lot will not suit everyone, but there are a number of considerations for those to whom it does appeal. Keith Molloy from PA Consulting has experience of both working and living abroad and suggests a number of things to think about before making the decision to relocate. He advises seeking advice from others who have lived and worked in the region or country, be aware of your immigration and tax responsibilities, observe and adopt local customs where appropriate, and take time to develop social connections in your host city by joining clubs and other groups.


With the growth of global trade, buyers cannot afford just to look at suppliers in Derby or Dortmund when a better deal could be found in Dalian or Delhi, writes Paul Snell

Procurement professionals are in demand in Hong Kong (below) and New Zealand (above)


22/10/2012 16:25


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22/10/2012 11:16




ne way to stand out is to put yourself forward to be named the ‘CIPS Young Procurement and Supply Chain Management Professional of the Year’, which is open to individuals aged 30 and under. This year, that accolade at the CIPS Supply Management Awards went to Chris Morgan from BAA. Responsible for more than £1 billion in spend for the construction of the new terminal two at Heathrow, he has already delivered more than £10 million in savings after settling disputes over baggage contracts. He has also developed the working relationship between BAA and its suppliers, in particular through his work chairing the ‘Intelligent Client Leaders Action Group’. His then boss Steven Morgan (no relation), who was executive director for capital programmes at BAA, said Chris was a “superstar” adding “we greybeards need to watch this guy, if for no other reason than to get out of the way”.

Judges said they looked forward rward to watching his career reer and seeing him become ecome the next CPO of a leading ading organisation. In 2011, Lisa Callow from drinks inks manufacturer Global Brands ands clinched the title. She was as described as having a skill ill set, professionalism and d influence within the company mpany that “exceeds that at which is usually expected pected of a professional of this age”. Winners of this award demonstrate emonstrate impressive achievements hievements and the attention they ey get as a result boosts their career. The Th competition titi will ill launch l h again in February 2013 with entries due in by April, so make sure you start preparing yours now. Amanda Earnshaw, vice president, cash management core processing at

Four tips from Rupert Gaster, director at Procurement Heads



Raise your profile in your current organisation and don’t be afraid to use tactics to influence senior people


Don’t downplay your soft skills and think documenting cost savings is always more important than leading colleagues


Make use of commercial skills, which are always highly sought after


Remember it’s not what you’ve done, for example in your category, but how you’ve done it


P38 Getting 38

JP Morgan and a CIPS fellow, says in addition to opportunities in the profession profession, those with a procurement and supply chain skill set have transferrable knowledge and experience that can also be used in another part of the business. “Recently I approached th the business with a different agenda,” she says. “Not to ssell my department’s offering, but b my own. I asked if they would wou be interested in giving me a job, having only ever worked in procurement, and suggested skills I could brin bring. The response was very promising.” promisin Sh She says th thatt th the skills kill th thatt she learned in procurement were considered very valuable, particularly her project and supplier management experience, contract knowledge and commercial awareness. “Supply chain management should be perceived as an important steppingstone in developing the skills and knowledge to join that elite management layer. Procurement professionals need to spread their influence far and wide both in terms of their role in procurement and by taking their skill base with them to other positions.” And not only does she intend to return to a procurement position in future, she argues the profession shouldn’t be afraid of losing stars to other departments, but embrace the positive effects it will have over the longer term.


If you want to do well in your career, you need to gett noticed


22/10/2012 16:43

Aspire... Whatever stage you’re at in your career, it’s never too soon or too late to broaden your horizons and increase your knowledge. As a CIPS member the qualifications you achieve will be internationally recognised and help you achieve a higher salary*. You can also expect networking with like-minded professionals, a monthly magazine with the latest news and hot topics, plus help to find the right level of training or qualifications to support your career.

Join us now and find out what we can offer you *CIPS Croner Reward salary survey 2012

SGU.11.12.039.indd 39

Leading global excellence in procurement and supply

22/10/2012 10:47

Come to our open day on

21 November 3pm – 7pm and start your qualification in January/April

Study at ou r Cent re of E xcelle nce Foundation, Advanced and Graduate Diplomas in Purchasing and Supply

Start in November, January or April

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To find out more about our courses and your study options come to our open day Wednesday 21 November 3pm – 7pm.

Register to attend at

Foundation, Advanced and Graduate Diplomas in Purchasing and Supply Part-time study at Ealing (evenings) or Slough (one afternoon and evening on the same day per week). Courses start from January 2013 and are taught by highly qualified staff, many of whom are practising professionals. Students may achieve an MCIPS in two years of part-time study.

For a brochure on our CIPS qualifications please e-mail beryl.matthews

*The Guardian University Guide 2013

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22/10/2012 10:47

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