Prague, June 3, 2013 - Purchase mustn’t be a passive unit in the company, professionals at Procurement Forum, held on May 30, 2013 in Prague, agreed. The first year of the expert event was attended by more than 150 directors of purchase, buyers, CFOs and company owners. In a lively debate in the hall and corridors executives discussed strategic purchase management, relationships with suppliers and difficulties of communication with internal clients, issues related to transparency and ethics and the role of buyers from the perspective of human resources.
The all-day program was commenced by Zdenka Závorová, who presented the way the PPF company manages purchase. Procurement is planned consistently here and it falls directly under the competence of Board of Directors and is managed centrally for the whole group. This setting allows the company to work effectively with suppliers, exert pressure and so achieve more favorable conditions.
Ctirad Fischer, former purchasing director of Cooperativa, spoke about practical experience with building of central procurement. With more than 20 years of experience in the field he stated that the purchase is not only about price but also about non-price parameters - the quality of delivery, the due dates and he recalled the golden rule, namely that every saved crown in buying is the crown in profit.
Morning Block was concluded by experienced matador Patricia Jakešová from the company METSPA CZ, which provides buying for chains Makro and Interspar. She illustrated how a purchasing team has to change into category management on the transformation of requirements and expectations of target customers since 90s.
The second morning block called Challenges of Strategic Purchase under the moderation of Marek Rokoský from KRC Partners looked at relationships with internal clients and specific case studies of companies Telefónica and Skanska.
Internal client (the recipient of services or goods) views the purchasing department often negatively. In the corporate floors myths are spread about buyers as guard dogs, who often tread on the toes. Karel Otýs, lecturer and consultant of company purchase, made the whole hall laugh while listing assumptions that purchasing department and internal clients about each other have. Otýs stressed the need of a proactive approach of buyers, according to his words the initiative must always be on the side of purchase. "Internal client will not notice our work and its results if we do not say it themselves," he said to the participants in the hall.
Filip Procházka, Purchasing Director at Telefonica, spoke about relations with suppliers. In this company the telecommunication infrastructure, which is very costly and rapidly aging, makes up the largest costs. Procházka introduced specific models of buying and emphasized that "long-term cooperation will only work with a supplier who understands that it can always be replaced". Most suppliers are regularly tendered, TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) is always the decisive criterion when choosing a supplier.
Also Tomáš Wolf from Skanska shared his experience. Purchasing Director of the seventh largest construction company in the world talked about how the purchase contributes to meeting the strategic objectives of the company. Procurement department should be seen as supportive service, not an enemy.
The lunch break was followed by two consecutive panel discussion on the topic of How to Buy transparently and Buyer and his role today and tomorrow. First topic was discussed by panelists Ondřej Chmela from legal office Ambruz & Dark, Milena Machová, Director of APUeN, Karel Otýs and independent consultant Josef Zrník. The discussion was moderated by Martin Hausenblas from Adler International.
Professionals discussed the setting of transparent purchase process, the most common errors and critical points of procurement, which include eg. non-sophisticated entry or invitation of purchase to negotiations at the moment of final decisions about terms and price. The question of the use of criteria raised the great response in the audience. Experts were divided into two camps - according to the first group price should be the sole criterion, according to opponents also other parameters such as delivery date are important.
Tomáš Jendřejek, Purchase Director from Kofola, Bronislav Neubauer, Head of Central Procurement in Raiffeisenbank, Robert Sobčák from ADR international, Markéta Švedová, Director of Recruit CZ and David Toms, Head of Purchase in Linet discussed the role of buyers..
Present panelists offered experience from managing shopping team and listed the professional demands on purchasers, which are still higher. Buyers must study constantly, keep track of the commodity in the domestic and global scale, to have the ability to think analytically and also convincingly speak and argue. Headhunter Markéta Švedová confirmed the trend of constantly increasing demands on the one hand and the lack of candidates’ amenities on the other. However, she calmed down the present director because the current market situation calls for stability of teams and discourages buyers from excessive fluctuations and employment exchange.
Great success and results of the internal survey among respondents (every other participant attended!) encouraged the organizers in conviction about the meaning of such expert meetings. "Finally a professional forum arouse here that rightly views purchase as an important part of the company. I've never seen so many colleagues at one place," said one participant.