The Big Interview with Andrew Newnham - Director of Group Procurement and Business Efficiency at ITV

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The Procurement Heads Big Interview Series launched in 2017, and features Procurement Professionals throughout London and the Home Counties. It’s an opportunity to shed some light on the specialist world of Procurement and those who work within it. To be featured in Procurement Head’s next Big Interview, contact info@procurementheads.com

BIG INTERVIEW

How did you get into Procurement?

I didn’t go straight into university after I left school, I did my A-levels and then went straight into work. One of my first jobs was in sales for an airline! From my position in sales, I always thought it seemed an interesting job to be in Procurement… they’ve got all the power! They make all the decisions, they do everything – it must be really exciting! So I decided to move into Procurement, and went to university to study for an economics degree. Once graduated, I started applying for Procurement jobs and my career took off from there. I reckon I’m one of the few people who made an active decision to get into Procurement and it’s been a good choice that I’ve really enjoyed. It has its challenges, as you know, but it has mainly been a very good career.

Something I believe to be true of the Procurement world is that those professionals who have the most to offer and are the most respected, are the ones to have been at it since the very beginning. They are the ones whose processes and engagement models have moved up the maturity scale and who make procurement work for their organisations, rather than deliver a one size fits all approach.

What does your typical day at work look like?

When you’re a CPO, your job consists of a mix of strategy, senior management relationships, input into change, delivering large scale business process change and system change. At my level I don’t do deals that much anymore, and I miss that. I feel like I don’t get that involved, but my team would probably say I still get too involved in deals on a day to day basis!

Each day is different. Today for example I’m seeing you for the Procurement Big Interview, I’ve got a meeting with a CTO and technology management board this afternoon and I’m also meeting one of our key suppliers who we’ve just given quite a lot of business to, ensuring the relationship is set up to succeed. It’s all at the top level – I’m overseeing everything to ensure we’re moving in the right direction.

Something I’m looking forward to at the moment is getting stuck into writing the next part of the ITV strategy. We have a new CEO who is bringing change to the business, with a positive emphasis on cost savings, which will hugely impact my role in Procurement and especially my wider business efficiency portfolio.

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What do you love about Procurement?

I love that we do more than just RFP processes in the ITV team. We are at the sharp end of the business decision making process and we get involved with things like budgets; both setting them and helping people deliver on them. My team are constantly asked to deliver value for the business and our mantra is about delivering the business objectives. I love that we make a difference.

In my procurement team we have really high engagement and a low level of attrition. People don’t tend to leave and I think the main reason for that is how our work directly affects the success of ITV. Ultimately, that’s what people come to work for - they want to see that direct link between what they’re doing day to day and the impact it has on the overall business. It’s really important, I think, to see they make change happen. A successful procurement team should be directly linked to the success of the business.

Are there any aspects of Procurement that you find challenging?

Definitely the brand. Not necessarily at ITV because I’ve spent 10 years trying to make us into a commercial team with a commercial strategy that delivers commercial benefits to ITV. But I think that within Procurement generally, there are some hugely powerful procurement leaders and great teams trying to change the way Procurement is viewed on a global basis. You say the word Procurement, and the vast majority of people think – cost cutting. As an industry, and as our brand, we’re still in the process of establishing ourselves and being seen as a function that positively impacts the business, not just cutting costs. It’s about sourcing better and faster and making the right commercial decisions to benefit the business.

To read Andrew’s full Big Interview and for further information about Procurement Heads, please visit the Procurement Heads website: www.procurementheads.com

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