In moving purchasing from a tactical function to a strategic driver of value within the enterprise, Chief Procurement Officer Patricia Moser focuses on marketing the transformation throughout the business.
[From Supply & Demand Chain Executive, June/July 2004] Patricia J. Moser joined Canadian communications giant Rogers Communications in February of this year as vice president and chief procurement officer with a charge, in part, to transform the enterprise's procurement function, which is a shared services organization serving Roger's cable, wireless and media divisions. (Rogers also owns baseball's Toronto Blue Jays.) Officially, Moser's purview is to oversee company-wide procurement activities, including process improvement, negotiations, sourcing and supply management at the US$3.7 billion organization, which is headquartered in Toronto, where Moser is based.
Moser's career in materials management and operations spans more than 20 years and includes senior positions at companies in such diverse industry sectors as pharmaceuticals, consumer-packaged goods, health care and technology. Immediately prior to joining Rogers, Moser held a position at EDS as vice president, procurement services, automotive, for Canada and the U.S. government. In 2001, iSource Business (now Supply & Demand Chain Executive) recognized Moser's thought-leadership by including her among the magazine's Top 50 Pros to Know in the supply management field.
Interestingly, Moser holds an M.B.A. in marketing along with bachelor's degrees in psychology and chemistry. It is not surprising, then, that, in a recent interview with Supply & Demand Chain Executive, as Moser discussed the changes that she is leading in the procurement organization at Rogers, she focused much of her attention on the need to market the transformation throughout the entire enterprise. In doing so, Moser said there is the opportunity to change the way that a company thinks about its procurement organization and to generate the kind of chemistry between purchasing and other functions that can turn procurement into a truly strategic driver of value for the company as a whole.
S&DCE: Could you describe your approach to driving transformation in the procurement organization at Rogers?
Moser: Basically we're moving from being reactive to proactive, from being tactical to more strategic, and the intent is to become a more integral part of the business. The first step in that process is ensuring that the procurement team understands that they need to move away from the mindset of just being a support organization to become a vital, indispensable and value-added part of the business. Too often procurement organizations don't understand that they bring much more to the table than what is traditionally viewed as the purchasing function. They need to understand that they have lots of value to add to the company beyond just the sourcing activities, beyond the negotiations, beyond getting the best price, if you will. It's about working with the businesses to understand the motivators, the drivers and the strategies, and providing input, ideas and creativity to the enterprise.
Of course, one of the most difficult challenges that procurement faces is that they are seen as support by other organizations within the business. Beyond that, procurement is not seen as a function that involves a high degree of professionalism. Part of the reason is that everybody thinks they know how to negotiate just because they believe they got a good deal on their car. Well, you can play chess at an amateur level, but to be a master chess player you have to truly understand the intricacies of the game and bring a strategic level of playing to that game. Procurement professionals bring that same level of understanding to the table. They understand how to work with suppliers, how to craft creative business models and partnerships, and that's what makes them experts or, if you will, masters.