"Undoubtedly the sector we work in is something to be really proud of. There is a very clear customer-centric attitude running throughout the business."

Graham Bettes

Indirect Procurement Manager, RM Education

I’ve been at RM for just over a year, having previously worked as a Recruiter for a large national recruitment consultancy. I specialised in recruiting for procurement roles, so I knew a lot about the industry and I had actually recruited on behalf of RM before. Compared to my work in recruitment, I found that procurement includes a broader variety of activities. It requires me to partner with the business, influence key stakeholders, complete detailed data analysis and present recommendations along with the commercial and negotiation experience that most people would associate with Procurement.

I chose to join RM as I had been onsite and met a number of key stakeholders within the business during my Recruitment days. I could really see the scope of the opportunity and having recruited for RM before, I knew I’d be working with some great and motivational people. It was also clear that there was a business focus on developing individuals. I was given a very clear progression route from day one and promoted from Buyer to Indirect Procurement Manager within 7 months.

In my current role as Indirect Procurement Manager my remit spans across RM Education and Corporate Services. I am effectively accountable for all of our indirect spend i.e. the products and services that we don’t sell to our customers, like HR and Facilities. In total responsible for approx. £27m of expenditure.

What I love about my job is the stakeholder engagement across various business functions. I see how different parts of the business really work and how suppliers can be an asset or a detriment which I find an exciting dynamic. RM does not mandate use of the Procurement function so you have to demonstrate the benefit of Procurement to the business in exactly the same way you would to an external customer.

I get to own projects that enable us to be truly competitive. For example I have managed a recent review of our vehicle fleet, assessing suppliers who could provide RM’s company cars across the UK. We have had an ongoing relationship with an existing supplier for a number of years but we hadn’t ever formally benchmarked them to ensure we were getting the best value. I had no prior knowledge of dealing with this type of project or subject area and it was really interesting to build up my knowledge base from scratch by engaging a range of suppliers. Working alongside the lead stakeholder I had full ownership for the sourcing process – including supplier identification, market analysis, tender creation and running, stakeholder presentations and commercial negotiations. The real challenge for me was having to make a complex requirement tangible so we could demonstrate the best value supplier and justify our final selection. The project will deliver a significant financial saving to the business and improve the quality of the service.

When I began my career at RM as a Buyer, I had no formal prior procurement experience and the business was prepared to take a bit of a gamble on me. I’ve received unwavering support and encouragement from my manager to learn, explore and challenge in an environment where I could do all of this without being seen as a failure if I got it wrong. He’s also allowed me to mould and grow my role within the business with a focus on activities that interest me and fit my skillset.

RM are fully funding my qualification through the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) and allow me the time I need to take exams and study. I am taking the accelerated route to complete my CIPS in just over a year rather than three; this was a personal decision that RM have fully supported. The study really aids my role as much of the content can be practically applied to my day to day job. 6 weeks into my job, I also attended a LEAN training course focused on process improvement and streamlining which has been instrumental in a lot of the process work I’ve done since.

It’s interesting to see how long some people have been with RM, that’s really unique compared to the other organisations I have worked for. There is a well embedded relationship based culture at RM that is great to see as well.

There are real opportunities for progression and I can see a lot of that within our Graduates with David Brooks, the CEO, being a great example. It shows that they have roles that deliver real value and it’s clear to see people are rewarded.

Undoubtedly the sector we work in is something to be really proud of. There is a very clear customer-centric attitude running throughout the business.

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"There is a business focus on developing individuals. I was given a very clear progression route from day one and promoted from Buyer to Indirect Procurement Manager within 7 months."