Building a best-in-class Procurement team in the 3rd sector

Save the Children exists to help children affected by crises, or those who need better healthcare, education and protection. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives. We reach over 55 million children directly and through our partners, delivering programmes in over 100 countries around the world.  Our combined revenue exceeds $2bn.

Save the Children International is based in London. This office is responsible for delivering our programmes internationally on behalf of our donors to ensure we achieve the greatest possible impact for children. Save the Children International employs approximately 17,000 people in London, 5 regional offices and 55 country offices.

We recently launched a new global strategy - Ambition for Children 2030 – we have already begun executing it.  As part of the strategy, we are focusing on inspiring three specific breakthroughs for children by 2030:

•           Survive: No child dies from preventable causes before their fifth birthday

•           Learn: All children learn from a quality basic education

•           Be protected: Violence against children is no longer tolerated

To achieve this, we will need to reach a new standard of efficiency and effectiveness across our organisation.  By driving a value for money agenda and being the bridge to our suppliers’ capabilities, the Procurement function is an essential contributor to this strategy and Save the Children’s overall mission.

Procurement at Save

Our ambition is to establish a high-performing, global Procurement function with top category talent that will maximise the value achieved from Save the Children’s third party spend.

Our spend categories include education, health/medicine, shelter, technology, training and travel, most of which are currently procured locally/in country.  The current 3rd party spend is about $450million.  So this is both a high spend and truly greenfield opportunity.

One of our targets is to identify and realise $50m of savings by 2021. Category Management is at the heart of this opportunity.  This equates to over 80 million children being treated for malaria!   This is how Procurement can literally save lives!

In addition to this capability, we plan to make additional transformational investments across Procurement technology, policy, training, processes and ways of working.

The aim is set a new standard for Procurement in this sector.

Procurement Leadership

In 2016, Save brought in experienced talent from the private sector to mobilise this transformation; Jeremy Robinson and Jim Ridgwick.  Prior to joining Save the Children, Jeremy was a Partner in Accenture’s Operations practice. He joined as the Global Director of Supply Chain.

Similarly, Jim was the Global Head of Capability & Procurement Excellence at SABMiller, a $22bn FMCG with 70,000 employees.  At SABMiller, he was responsible for designing and building their global Procurement function centrally, and across their 48 country businesses.  In 2015, according to Beroe’s Best-in-Class (BIC) Index, SABMiller achieved the 2nd highest performance in its Food and Beverage peer group as well as winning Procurement Leaders awards in 2015 and 2016.

Top tips for interested candidates

We are looking for people that are passionate about the significant contribution Procurement can make to the organisations’ goals.  We need our Procurement team to be entrepreneurial and resilient, with excellent stakeholder engagement competencies to navigate a complex, global organisation that operates in some extreme environments. In addition to their category “day-job” role, we will be looking for candidates that have the ability to take on transformation project work too - across people, process, systems, governance and performance measures as we advance the function.

Whilst a move to the 3rd sector may not financially reward to the extent other sectors can, the non-financial rewards are significant. We find that successful employees will seize the project and developmental opportunities the roles offer, as well as being motivated by Save’s purpose.

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