Purchasing at the core of the corporate strategy
Interview with Amelie Castamagne, working in the Purchases service within Groupe Marck.
As is the case in any company, the Purchasing department plays a key role. The Purchasing department at Groupe Marck comprises a Manager, eight Buyers and a Supply Chain Management professional. Together and in conjunction with Groupe Management, they draw up a purchasing strategy to ensure the provision of products meeting customers’ requirements, offering the best value for money, while forging a lasting relationship with the suppliers.
“It is a fascinating job because the activity is extremely varied and covers a wide spectrum of the company, notes Amélie Castamagne, Buyer. “We interact with most of the Group departments. We are both suppliers and internal customers and we also sometimes take on a role of specialists to assist and technically support our sales reps based on the expertise of our suppliers and partners.”
The very first stage of the purchasing process involves, for the Buyer, very detailed sourcing to identify, challenge and select the best suppliers, then negotiating with the selected suppliers, in order to meet the requirements of our internal customers (sales reps or other Groupe Marck subsidiaries) and thereby the requirements of our external customers, which is the fulfilment of true teamwork.
The Supply Chain Management professional then operates when the negotiation dossier has been finalised in an order. This person is then responsible for monitoring the follow-up and progress, routing flows and stocks, in close collaboration with the Logistics and Sales departments.
“We work on cross-functional projects which require close collaboration with: Sales for tender bids; Logistics for transporting products purchased in France, Europe or long-distance import; Marketing for the development of new products and potential partnerships; Legal for drawing up the contracts for major markets; Accounting for the payment of our orders and monitoring of the negotiated payment terms and conditions; General Services when we need a courier, and so on. Interacting with all these departments and carrying out all our projects together is very rewarding.”
All these internal resources enable the Purchasing department to be in a strong position to conduct all the operations. Afterwards, the main skills and expertise required must be implemented: “As well as mastering the techniques of negotiation and international commerce, the personnel in the Purchasing department must above all be curious and eager to find out. Because, even though we do not specialise in one category of product, we can always learn on the job. It is with this curiosity that we gain a better understanding of the products to purchase. And with good interpersonal skills we can work with long-term partners who will provide good support. Two other skills are, in my opinion, also essential: rigour in monitoring the orders and the ability to prioritise and establish action priorities according to the activity issues.”