Discussion Highlights: Making an Impact at a New Company

The roundtable theme was challenges faced while integrating into new companies while simultaneously assessing – and impacting – the purchasing teams.  After the roundtable discussions, APD shared a short presentation on best practices for purchasing leaders upskilling their team. 

Highlights of the roundtable discussion are summarized below. 

  • Managing Director of Indirect Procurement at a growing recreational marine company summarized the challenges they faced in their new company a:
    1. The company has grown through acquisition and is currently transitioning procurement from site-based to an enterprise function
    2. They had previously managed direct materials and found the transition to their first position managing indirect materials to be “shocking”:
      • Prioritization is key with over 1,000 vendors, a large tail spend, and not as many repeat purchases 
      • Less structure to the indirect purchasing processes 
      • Many acquired small businesses being integrated into a large corporation
    3. With starting at a new company, they found the lack of familiarity with processes and mindsets, and lack of established relationships, challenging
  • Director of Commodity Management at an fast growing exhaust system supplier shared that they have worked on aligning purchasing strategies to support other functional leaders’ strategies, while simultaneously educating other functional leaders about procurement.  Since joining, they have expanded the purchasing team from 1 person to 8 while growing the supply base from one domestics supplier of stainless steel to 8-9 international mills.
  • Strategic Sourcing Director at a HVAC and refrigeration manufacturer shared that they joined the company while it was in the midst of an aggressive cost reduction drive.  They were immediately tasked with negotiating contracts with suppliers despite not having time to build their knowledge of the processes and people, or being able to gauge the quality of the spend data provided.  Since joining, they have been working to build relationship with different sites and different businesses and emphasizing negotiation preparations with their team.
  • Supply Chain Director for a manufacturer of agriculture storage systems shared that they have been tasked with centralizing the procurement function and establishing a category management process.  They are focusing on reducing suppliers to leverage spend while getting buy-in from the site purchasing managers.  They are in the process of visiting all 20 manufacturing locations and helping the local team identify cost savings and other value-add tasks.  One of the challenges they face is different ERP systems among the sites – they are moving to a common ERP systems, but it expect it will take 5 years to fully implement.