Behind the Scenes – Graeme, Senior Manager

by Hawtrey Dene

The second in a series of internal interviews behind the scenes at Hawtrey Dene with one of our Senior Managers, Graeme.

What’s your background and what led to your career in procurement?

My early career was in quality control, which led to a Supply Chain role within a Pharmaceutical manufacturing business, where direct contact with suppliers and management of SLA’s was a key part. This led into commercial discussions, around the supply of pharmaceutical ingredients;, and from there a career in Procurement and Supply Chain was born.

How does the world of directs differ from indirect, aside for the obvious way?

I think the main difference with directs procurement is the dual focus and partnership with Supply Chain to ensure continuity and the optimisation of supply, along with the direct management of the overall supply base, much of which happens after the contract is awarded. This requires a strategic longer-term approach to both the supplier base, with a multiple / contingency sourcing approach, as well as effective management of the internal stakeholder relationships.

What challenge does Brexit bring in directs?

With the majority of directs procurement relating to the physical supply of key components & ingredients for manufacturing or the supply of physical goods required to deliver a service, e.g. medical consumables, the biggest challenge is how to optimise and guarantee appropriate UK stock levels, of imported materials in the lead up to 29th March 2019. For example, do we assume long delays at all borders and if so for how long? Aside from stock building and refinement we have needed to explore the other mitigation levers that can be deployed. One, UK sourcing, is an option that is not always possible or feasible so it’s a balance between a number of levers and factors, like alternate methods of delivery, airfreight vs sea, to find the ideal mix that removes as much risk as possible. We covered some of this in the article Scott contributed to recently, which can be found here.

What’s the most unusual thing you buy and why?

Although I don’t buy it anymore, as I’m now working in the food industry, the most unusual thing I’ve ever bought is Fetal Calf Serum, harvested from abattoirs, for the cloning of human cells as part of blood grouping agent manufacture. It was even more unusual, as I also need to manage supply through the original outbreak of ‘Mad Cow Disease’, which presented its own challenges and a need for decisive and immediate risk mitigation actions.

How have you adapted to a career in consultancy based procurement from the in-house model?

For me the transition from an in-house team to a consultancy hasn’t been difficult, as I am still pretty much managing the same categories, dealing with the same suppliers and the same stakeholders,; the main difference being it’s now for a ‘client’. Being part of Hawtrey Dene means I have the support of many new colleagues, all with different procurement experiences and backgrounds but also with similar day to day challenges and I both share with and look to them for support when needed.

Where do you see the procurement world moving in the next few years, what will be the biggest challenges?

I think that as the value of procurement, as a function, continues to become more understood and accepted by business in general, demand for procurement professionals will continue to increase. The challenge will then be, as it is to a certain extent already, the recruitment of the right calibre of people into the industry, so as to avoid an overall dilution of skills.

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