Michael’s job is to acquire value for JLR. He builds strategic relationships, manages cost and secures supplies to meet continuous production of the cars. He helps to build supply chains providing suitable quality and at a competitive price, while meeting company ethics and governance. He arranges all the appropriate contract documentation with suppliers, from sourcing agreements to general terms and conditions and non-disclosure agreements.
How did you get into this job?
I graduated in business management from DeMontfort University, and worked at JLR for two years in the product information department, where I got involved in some project management initiatives, over and above my day to day job. This allowed me to engage with other departments, and make contacts. I really enjoyed creating relationships with stakeholders and learning about the processes that go into JLR being able to manufacture vehicles. After a project relating to improving purchasing processes I was offered the chance to apply for a buyer role, which complemented my university studies and the skills I had already gained at JLR.
What skills do you need?
How to acquire value (cost and quality) through commercial and technical understanding; confidence in negotiating; understanding how commercial leverage is generated within different markets structures; good understanding of commercial contractual terms; ability to work on multiple projects and the time management skills to meet a number of deadlines; willingness to travel and participate in face to face meetings; presenting to an audience; networking in and outside of work; working within small and large teams in different functions.
What’s an average day like?
I email or speak to the engineering/marketing & suppliers departments to define strategy and how future sourcing can contribute to a cost competitive portfolio as well as meeting technical requirements to improve customer satisfaction. I prepare and present this information through sourcing gateways to our leadership teams to gain approval and justify my spend. I check on contracts of existing vehicle lines to make sure we have a competitive cost base and that suppliers are meeting their quality and supply commitments. I deal with supplier payment queries, keep track of volume commitments to facilitate cost negotiations and manage stakeholder inputs on all aspects.
Tell us about your company
Jaguar Land Rover is a premium car company based in the UK but with a global manufacturing and sales footprint.
I work within a team that buys tyres, wheels, assembly services, jacks and tool kits.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to do your job?
Try to understand the different types of market forces that are at play in different industries and how this generates leverage in achieving value. Researching global trends toward sustainability, technology and how businesses are meeting these challenges can also help with a basic understanding of any procurement opportunities that may interest you.
To boost your skills, start on the CIPS qualifications – it can give you the theoretical basis to work professionally and confidently within a complex and high-value supply chain. And, take any opportunity that helps you to gain experience in achieving value through building relationships or negotiating (buying or selling) it will be useful if you want to pursue a career in procurement.
As a key contact for supplier information,
I work with internal stakeholders and suppliers
to understand the key leveraging points or trade-offs
that can help both companies grow with each other.
I am one year into my CIPS qualification, so for the next few years at least I will be working towards gaining my CIPS qualification while developing myself in my current role procuring tyres for JLR. I would like to gain as much commercial experience as I can in different technical areas of JLR. I am interested in electrification, specifically the procurement of battery components/materials. I have not yet thought about life after JLR but I am confident the skills I have gained so far will enable me to transition into a number of commercial roles and industries.
Tell us something interesting about your industry
With government initiatives banning the sale of petrol & diesel vehicles from 2040, battery electric vehicles are a major focus for most manufacturers. At Jaguar Land Rover, all new cars from 2020 will be electrified. And electrified products will be introduced across the model range, with fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles – as well as ultra-clean petrol and diesel. Through the engineering and procurement departments, we are building the supply partnerships necessary to compete in the marketplace and deliver battery electric vehicles that meet the performance of the JLR brand.