Raise procurement’s profile with storytelling


Storytelling is the key to raising the profile of procurement, a conference was told.

Jim Hemmington, director of procurement at the BBC, said facts and figures were not what captured the imaginations of stakeholders.

Speaking during a panel discussion on strategic procurement and driving value at the CIPS Annual Conference, Hemmington said: “You need to focus on storytelling. Focus on some of the things you have done. The BBC is a creative organisation and storytelling goes down really well.”

Hemmington said his team was responsible for a spend of £1.5bn on goods and services, representing 19% of the licence fee.

He said he had a clear message he used to promote the value of procurement. “The more money we can save, the more money there is to spend on programmes,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how creative you are, you can understand that.

“Every pound the BBC spends on procurement, it gets £27 back.”

He said the challenges procurement faced were the reception and scope of purchasing in an organisation and how you embed the function and find the right people.

Simon Gale, director of procurement and facilities at Sony Europe, said his team started out as the “purchase order and invoice people” for two or three years before their value was recognised by stakeholders.

“It’s a Japanese company. There’s a huge affinity with numbers and facts. If you can’t account for every euro you are no good. We had to start with that,” he said.

Gale said things had now evolved and their purchase-to-pay team was part of a global function while the sourcing team had stayed in Europe and was involved in high-level decision-making.

Clive Rees, CPO for EMEIA and Americas at Fujitsu, advised: “Be a businessperson in procurement, not a procurement person in business.

“You have got to understand what the business wants. You’re here to support the business and drive down costs.”

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