Peter Rushton is Chief Executive Officer of Optimum Procurement and a past President of CIPS. In this article he highlights how procurement has become a necessity in the sporting arena.
After one of the busiest sporting weekends of the year, with the Wimbledon finals and British Grand Prix at Silverstone vying for our attention, we will shortly be immersed in probably the greatest sporting spectacle of all – the Olympics. It is therefore perhaps timely to note the growing importance of professional procurement across a wide range of sporting sectors.
Here at Optimum Procurement, we’ve always believed that the introduction of professional procurement would make a real difference to business performance in the sports sector as numerous sporting categories have to adapt to changing business models and more complex cost challenges. The success of our recent Procurement in Sport forum surely validates our original perspective. Over 120 sporting and business leaders came together to debate the hot topics of the day at the home of cricket champions Lancashire.
The forum offered a unique insight into how the procurement skill set is enhancing business performance in the areas of Premiership Football, Cricket and MotoGP. Two Chief Executives, Robert Elstone, of Everton FC and Jim Cumbes from Lancashire CCC offered their thoughts alongside professional athlete Bradley Smith, who will shortly be graduating to race in MotoGP, the equivalent of Formula 1 for motorcycles.
As a procurement service provider our primary focus is on offering our clients incremental value through cost reduction, improving supplier processes and reducing supply side risk. The resulting savings allow further investment to be channelled into enhancing front of house activities, notably players, improved equipment and stadium infrastructure. Arguably, this approach applies to many of our other clients in say the financial services or facilities management sectors but that would be really missing the point in the context of sport.
Procurement and Sport have come together as customer and supplier mind-sets have changed over recent years. Professional procurement practices are now proven to be offering real competitive advantage in sport but the nature of the delivery of the procurement service can vary considerably between sports.
The need for success on the pitch or race track is absolutely paramount in the minds of our sporting clients, so it’s vital that you know exactly what your specific back office role represents and where you fit into their operation. At times these relationships include an added intensity, driven by the competitive spirit that runs through every aspect of the organisation. Let me assure you that when you manage travel expenditure for a top MotoGP racer who travels the world constantly and trains for 28 out of every 30 days in his efforts to reach the pinnacle of his sport, attention to detail is extremely important. Regardless of the size of saving delivered, it’s simply not acceptable to have him on the wrong itinerary, arriving at the circuit in the wrong physical condition.
In my experience, sporting clients are only interested in utilising a bespoke procurement service provision that secures them competitive advantage in many forms, going way beyond simple cost reduction. Those offering more generic or standard offerings may be better advised to stay on the side-lines.
Let’s hope the Olympics are a success on every level and summer returns in time for us to get out there and really enjoy it!
Optimum Procurement is a fast growing procurement outsourcing and consulting company. They focus on offering their clients incremental value through cost reduction, improving supplier processes and reducing supply side risk. Optimum have established themselves as a leading procurement service provider supporting clients in the UK and internationally across a wide range of industry sectors including sports, retail, FM and financial services.
We’re grateful to Peter for his expert contribution. Please feel free to post your comments in response below.