What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?
I am Director, Indirect Procurement, and my role is to manage indirect categories of spend. Those categories include office supplies, office equipment, maintenance and repairs, office services, HR and our contingent workforce program, among others.
In my role I strive to reduce dependencies on sole-sourced vendors, automate processes by migrating where possible to a digital delivery, manage down our expenses and leverage our suppliers to come up with solutions that challenge our business operations. At the end of the day, I’m tasked with transforming our operating model to deliver an improved stakeholder experience with greater flexibility and at a lower cost.
What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement?
I wish people knew how rewarding this profession is. We get to work on a variety of different projects that are challenging and unique. We get to work with all departments and divisions within our organizations, as well as work with all levels of employees from the CEO to entry-level colleagues. We play an integral part in putting solutions in place that affect our business operations, supply chain and ultimately our viability as a company.
In your opinion, what are 3 skills that sourcing and procurement professionals of tomorrow must have?
The 3 skills that sourcing and procurement professionals of tomorrow must have:
- Influence – you have to be able to sell your services to your internal stakeholders and convince them that you’re not there to be a roadblock, but to augment or enhance their subject matter expertise to find a solution that is both best in class and priced reasonably. Then you have to convince suppliers to offer their best solutions at a reasonable cost.
- Flexible – You have to be able to adapt to change. There are times where you will be in the middle of a project and requirements may change, or a stakeholder will change. Sometimes, suppliers who you rely on will change as well. You have to have contingencies in place to help get through sudden changes or impacts to your business operations.
- Communication – This is everything. You have to be able to relay your stakeholder needs (even when at times they don’t fully understand what they are) to others in the organization, as well as potential suppliers. You also have to be able to communicate your understanding of your suppliers’ capabilities in order to be as honest as possible about their strengths and shortcomings.
What does the future of sourcing and procurement look like to you?
I think the future of sourcing and procurement will be to shift the focus from a tactical function to one more strategic in nature. I think procurement professionals will play an integral role by having a seat at the table with company leadership in making strategic decisions with regards to the suppliers a company will use, and in helping to mitigate any potential risks that may result.
I also think that as part of this strategic change, procurement will have to digitize its function using e-procurement that utilize AI and bots. The use of these tools will help eliminate the transactional and tactical work and greatly improve on the availability of procurement professionals to add overall value to your organization.
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Prior to his current role, Carlos was the Associate Director, Strategic Sourcing at College Board. Carlos joined College Board in October 2002 and has held various positions within Finance and Procurement to include Accounting Manager, Procurement Specialist and Senior Procurement Analyst. After spending several years in Procurement operations, Carlos got promoted to manage several high-profile, multi-million dollar spend categories to include the contingent workforce program at College Board. Carlos completed his Certified Sourcing Professional (CSP) certificate via SIG University in April 2018.