Purchasing's Impact

Alan Sugar
Peter Jones
Michelle Mone

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 50 years, says procurement is the third most important to any business.

“First is the product, the second is the selling and the third is the 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 material and products on the basis of sales forecasts. So you want to keep those people well apart”.

Peter Jones

Peter Jones, entrepreneur and star of BBC TV show Dragon’s 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 business men 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”.

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 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 the world".

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