CIPS Fellows Autumn Dinner at The Royal College of Music

Paula Gildert, Global Head Development Strategic Sourcing, Novartis Pharma at Novartis gave her closing speech last night at the CIPS Fellows Autumn Dinner held at the Royal College of Music last night. The evening included Soprano – Soraya Mafi and Piano – Jennifer Carter – performing beautifully, “Quando m’en vo’ La Boheme, “Je Veux Vivre” Rome o et Juliette and “I could have danced all night” My Fair Lady – what a treat!

Amanda Earnshaw – Royal Bank of Scotland was given a special award for her commitment to the institute which is incredibly well deserved. Shirley Cooper – past President of CIPS and current Chairman of the Fellows Committee thanked the committee and the team at CIPS for supporting our fantastic events and the exciting growth of the Fellowship.

Paula’s speech had her usual passion and commitment to our wonderful institute CIPS. With some key messages for us as Fellows to support and they were Risk & Reputation – Value beyond price – Career of choice.

My take on her three visions are:
Risk & Reputation – the world is a small place and with the power of social media news travels fast, making us all much more aware of risk. Working ethically should not be something we need to think about it should be in everything we do but sadly; this is not always the case. You only have to look at the vast number of product recalls, continued child labour, inhumane working conditions, forced labour and slavery that continues around the world. The procurement profession can make a huge difference and that is very much part of the CIPS future thinking.

“The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply calls for a professional licence to practise to avert future crises and protect the public. The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply calls for a professional licence to practise to avert future crises and protect the public”

My own business takes its responsibility very seriously; it costs money, takes a great deal of time and sometimes loses us business by we cannot compromise. We are committed to ethical business value and they come from the heart having seen first-hand, unacceptable manufacturing around the world. We do our due diligence on behalf of our clients protecting their brands and reputation. We have a robust ethical trading and product safety process . When one of our big buyers says to us “we can buy that cheaper from X” we say “but what is the true cost?” It is something that you have to work hard on and as the world continues to change we have to keep up. We may not be one of the biggest in our space but we benefit from knowing we deliver on our commitment to ethical trading and product safety.

The demands in product safety continue to grow, it is a complex area which we need to master in order to protect the ultimate consumer. Not all products placed on the market are safe and it is our responsibility in procurement to do our due diligence, ensuring we create and deliver safe and appropriate products.

Value beyond price – The bigger the organisation of course the more complex and the huge pressure is on organisations to cut cost. But as we know there are other ways to improve value. Cutting out waste and working in collaboration with our global supply partners does add value. Transparency sharing the challenges our clients face and finding ways to improve value throughout the supply process. Innovation and creative thinking are a major part of this process. Having benefited from a creative programme via the Design Council I would strongly recommend this approach. Helping your teams to think differently and offer innovative solutions to improve your value.

The learning of new techniques in procurement is critical in order to cope with the changing environment, however, in our experience simply trying to squeeze on price is not the way to deliver excellence.

Career of choice – I started out my career focused on marketing, but a wonderful opportunity arose that took me to procurement and I have loved being part of a profession which is involved in every organisation and one that has the skill and capability to make such a huge difference not only across an organisation but to people’s lives throughout the supply chain.

So Paula I hope my view supports your passion; I am very proud to be part of the World’s largest Institute as a Fellow and delighted that we as a business can make a contribution in these three worthy values.