After recently joining AMP, Rebekah Ward is on a mission to ensure best practice buying strategies are consistent across the business.
With a vision to ensure sustainability is embedded across the supply chain, Rebekah says her ultimate goal is to provide a better service to our customers.
How did you get into the procurement industry?
I actually fell into procurement, completely by accident! When I was at University, I did a placement with Essar Oil (previously Royal Dutch Shell) and I loved the interaction with suppliers and stakeholders alike. At the time I had little knowledge about it, so I tailored my final year at University to supporting modules in Procurement and Supply Chain to gain more insight as I knew then it was the career for me.
Since then I’ve developed a greater understanding, by exposing myself to all aspects of the supply chain process, from end to end.
Tell us about what led you into the energy field?
I have been in the energy industry from day one. It is a great industry to learn from, however I knew with the changing climate this would not be for the long term.
I was particularly keen to move into the low carbon and renewable industry and the role at AMP was too good to miss. I saw it as a great opportunity to make a difference to not just the organisation but the environment through sustainable procurement.
What are your professional goals at AMP?
We’re on a journey to make procurement more consistent by centralising it across the fuels business and the Group. Procurement is not just about spend but who we buy from, how we procure and the strategies that sit behind that.
The objective is to rationalise and consolidate our supply base and standardise our goods and services across our business to provide value along the supply chain to our end customer. Ensuring we have clear transparent processes from introducing our new pre-qualification procedure for supplier sourcing and selection, to tender activity, supplier performance and contract management will help achieve this goal.
My other key focus is sustainable procurement to ensure that sustainability is built in across the whole supply chain. That starts with the supplier development and governance and ends with the product or the service which comes out the other side. Sustainability is at the heart of everything AMP does, so it is really important to the business.
Can good procurement strategies benefit the end customer?
Absolutely. All of the value-added steps within our process filter into both the bottom line and quality of our services. We ensure we procure the right goods, at the right time in the right place and at the right price – this helps us to provide the very best quality of goods/services at competitive prices to our customers.
How has Covid-19 affected your role?
I manage the entire category spend across the business, therefore the role is very dynamic and every day is jam packed and different. One day I could be talking about pellet contacts, and the next group IT procurement, so it’s very broad and holistic.
COVID-19 has impacted the role in terms of face to face meetings with suppliers or internal stakeholders, however with online meetings I find you are more accessible, which is a positive.
Looking to the longer term, strategy implications could potentially be more challenging as suppliers tend to be more risk averse within the current situation, where economic uncertainty has left the supply chain managing potential contingencies in a different way than the past.
What are the most interesting and challenging parts of your role?
As this is a new role, I am able to put my own stamp on things. I am enjoying implementing new ways of working that I believe to be beneficial within the organisation.
However, the most interesting part is also the most challenging; developing strategic sourcing plans across the whole network. In addition, liaising with stakeholders and communicating about the direction we are going in. It is what I call winning hearts and minds. This is what I love about it!
What are your career highlights?
Presenting at the North West Women Network, actively engaging and attending networking events with women in the industry, has definitely been a highlight. The oil and gas industries are often very male dominated, so using my presence at networking events to position women’s voices and ideas was incredibly beneficial, and I learnt a lot from it.
In addition to this, I have enjoyed interacting with a variety of different people with different backgrounds and ideas, working together to achieve the same end goal.
What are your professional ambitions?
I have always been incredibly busy. By the end of the year I hope to be fully MCIPS qualified (Member of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply). You can develop this into a masters which is something I may consider doing, or possibly studying risk management in more detail as it is something that has always interested me.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I will continue to focus on leading the procurement vision and ensuring the current high quality of service at AMP is maintained, which is a crucial factor within the company’s values.
I also hope to generate new ideas and incorporate these into the company to generate growth and prosperity. It will be a lot of work and require a lot of energy, but I hope that in five years’ time we will be in a great position.