Ian Johnson is a Head of Procurement at Ultra Electronics. We spoke to him to find out more about what his job’s really like.
What is involved in your current role on a day-to-day basis?
As the Head of Procurement my role involves reviewing supplier performance and managing the procurement department. I am responsible for presenting to key stakeholders regarding new products on the market and reacting to any supplier/product queries.
What skills are required in your role?
You need the ability to build relationships with key stakeholders both internally and externally. You will also require analytical skills and must be able to manipulate data from different stock management systems. Project management skills are key as you’ll be managing many different new product lines.
Why did you choose procurement as a field to work in?
I enjoy working with people and my ability to build relationships and influence others means I am ultimately able to assist with company profitability. I also enjoy implementing streamlining processes - I have had the opportunity to be involved in business process and change within this role. This opportunity to optimise cost and quality was very appealing.
How did you get to where you are?
I started within production and gained an understanding of the manufacturing environment. Following this, I moved into an assistant buyer role and had a mentor who took me to client meetings and coached me with negotiations. During my early career I also studied CIPS.
Who is suited to a procurement role?
People who are strong communicators – you need to be able to influence key decision makers. It also helps if you enjoy dealing with different people and cultures, while a highly analytical mind is key to success.
You need the ability to build relationships with key stakeholders both internally and externally. You will also require analytical skills and must be able to manipulate data from different stock management systems.
From your experience, what advice would you give to candidates looking for a career as a top level?
Work hard and be confident in your ability, listen to the expertise of the people around you and learn to build strong relationships.