Perfecting Procurement

Meet Paul Whiteley, the head of procurement for ISS Food & Hospitality, whose personal objective is to work towards transparency in their supply chain and help promote change within the industry. He speaks openly on the perceptions that he has worked hard to affect and the value that procurement provides to the business.

“At worst people think that procurement and supply chain is an administrative department, and at best we are thought of as a department that sits in its ivory tower, does corporate deals and provides an income stream. The reality is far from the case. ”

“Procurement is a lifeline in the contract catering business – it makes things happen. As a department, it is vital to the business that we work simultaneously with operations, finance and sales, continuously creating value.”

“My focus has been to refine the ethics and expectations of the department. The first steps were addressing communication and engagement within our departments. Our team is known throughout the company for being accessible. We engage regularly with our development chefs and site managers and can present market insights of trends we see within purchasing. We drive innovation and we proactively support internal stakeholders to help shape the offer based on the best quality available. I don’t expect our business to define their offering by a procurement process. We will never put something into the business purely based on price.”

“Horsegate changed transparency and provenance within procurement for good. As a business that had already been practicing due diligence when sourcing our goods, we sailed through without a problem. The best thing that can come from it is the heightened awareness on the importance of good procurement practice.”

Supporting British Enterprise

Paul’s passion shines through when he speaks of how procurement can provide a positive impact by supporting local companies.

“Our supply chain is very robust and traceable. While our organization is big enough to do the larger corporate deals, we have focused on making our supply chain flexible and have made a commitment that all of our sites can use local bakers, butchers and fresh fruit and vegetable suppliers. Our chefs are also more engaged with this arrangement as it provides a level of support and integrity within the community.

“We have worked with various small companies such as the British Premium Sausage company. Some companies may not have an easy route to market so we use our supply chain to help them. Through this channel we have also supported a small artisan coffee company called Paddy & Scotts. A chance meeting led to us getting to know the founders who told us about their passion for coffee and how they were smoking and roasting their own beans in their garage. We developed a relationship with them and watched them go from entrepreneurial status to having their own “roastery” and supplying John Lewis, Tesco’s and expanding their distribution to Japan.

“I think developing sustainable relationships with suppliers is key to procurement and it helps change the negative perception that surrounds it. We don’t go for short-term financial gains; we develop long-standing relationships with our suppliers so that they can understand our business and want to invest in a relationship with us.”

Leaders with ideals such as Paul’s will be those that are responsible for making the positive changes within procurement.

This interview is the first in a series from companies wanting to help encourage discussion on the shift in perception of procurement.

For more information on initiatives run by EP and to get involved with the community please contact Nicole Thompson

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