Kevin Nash is the Vice President Chief Procurement Officer at Health Care Services Corporation, a Blue Cross Blue Shield Company. As an experienced executive in procurement, sourcing and supply chain operations, Kevin manages over 100 people who oversee a wide range of functions from sourcing and contracting to regulatory requirements. Kevin shares his tips to keep a large team organized, his outlook on the growing role of procurement in organizations, and his advice for those looking to be better procurement professionals and team leaders.
Can you talk about your background and education--how did you get involved in procurement?
Like many procurement professionals, I stumbled upon procurement early in my career and found it to be an interesting and exciting area to work. After graduating with a degree in engineering, I started my career at GE supporting a manufacturing process. While in manufacturing, I began to focus on supply chain because we were experiencing frequent supply chain and inventory issues that were significantly impacting the ability to meet the production schedule. After finishing my MBA and leaving GE, I joined a consulting firm and continued to focus on supply chain with an emphasis on procurement. While in consulting, I transitioned from focusing on the supply chain for direct material to supply chain and procurement in service-orientated companies.
In previous blogs, SIG has covered the basic concept of sustainability, including an overview of its various dimensions. In this post, I will touch on the role that sourcing professionals can have in meeting corporate sustainability goals.
Why should sourcing have a role?
Sourcing is uniquely positioned to contribute to meeting a corporation's sustainability goals because sourcing typically has expertise in:
Creating alignment to corporate goals
Building frameworks to measure success
Researching market conditions and supplier capabilities
Conducting strategic negotiations
Designing innovative methods for value creation
Ranking the priorities of stakeholders with supplier offerings
Identifying risk and mitigating responsibly
The reduction in costs after implementing a sustainability program can exceed the costs of implementation – in other words, you’re spending money up front but in the long run, you save more than you spend. For example, if an organization were to target the spend category of corporate services and facilities management (FM), capital may be invested in working with a supplier to install a new system that reduces energy consumption at the company's North American headquarters, but in the long run, the reduction in energy costs saves the company money – which of course, can then be reinvested.
In this example, procurement and sourcing are uniquely positioned to make this happen. Most likely Sourcing negotiated the original FM contract, understands the innovative capabilities of suppliers, has heard many recent pitches on new products, and is adept at performing the analysis that proves an investment can have a significant return in hard costs, and even soft costs.
Mary Zampino, Senior Director of Global Sourcing Intelligence
In my time working in the sourcing sphere I have become passionate about ethical sourcing. Mexico, where I have lived for nearly eight years, is where many companies source cheap, nearshore labor and is a resource for bilingual, cost-saving talent. I have witnessed unethical sourcing practices in my time here and I am always looking to educate myself and others on the benefits of ethical sourcing. As companies chase better costs to remain viable, the possibility of building a supply chain with poor ethical practices increases. Ensuring ethical sourcing practices in your supply chain can be labor intensive but the benefits are immense.
According to the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS), ethical sourcing is the process of ensuring the products being sourced are obtained in a responsible and sustainable way, that the workers involved in making them are safe and treated fairly and that environmental and social impacts are taken into consideration during the sourcing process. Ethical sourcing also means the procurement process respects international standards against criminal conduct and human rights abuses and responds to these issues immediately if identified.