As group procurement analyst, Natalie is part of the central team, buying hardware, software, licences, support services, photographic equipment, subscriptions to online tools. She loves being able to see how all the technology she buys is used to create amazing content.
What do you do?
I buy technology that supports the activities of the business. This includes software, software licensing and hardware to ensure our brands can work to their full potential and produce the highest quality of magazines, websites and events.
I also work with the head of procurement to review and analyse current tech contracts, manage supplier relationships, collate contract information of all suppliers and proactively ensure suppliers are compliant with GDPR – the new data protection laws. We encourage all buyers across the company to use procurement as best practice and through HR inductions.
How did you get into this job?
I transferred from the Haymarket IT purchasing department, a job I was offered as temporary work via an agency. I was then asked to stay permanent, and after building my contract management skills and understanding of technology in the business, I joined the central procurement team.
What skills do you need?
Communication skills are fundamental to building good relationships and clear requirements to receive high-value goods and services from suppliers. Organisation skills are important as there are so many contracts from large scale to small spend and they need to be visible, in one place, so you are always aware of their status.
What’s an average day like?
Day to day I have a few core projects, from compliance and consolidation of our current technology suppliers. I liaise with different suppliers about upcoming renewals and meet with members of the tech team to discuss requirements.
What does your company do?
Haymarket is a specialist international media company with over 70 brands, producing magazines, online content/websites, events, marketing, campaigns, medical education and exhibitions. Think Pistonheads, What Hi-Fi?, British Style Collective…
Media is a very fluid industry and technology is constantly growing. You need to be proactive with new trends, which means more organisations and suppliers are working together to exchange knowledge and produce high quality goods and services in the competitive market.
As well as tech equipment, our team buys a range of transport, event and travel services, consumer products, paper and professional services etc.
What is the most difficult thing you have bought?
Usually the high-spec hardware, as it needs to be carefully considered with solid supply chain management. And software licensing models can be quite the challenge! But each buying process is a learning curve and you are always liaising with different stakeholders to provide knowledge.
What is the most interesting thing you have bought?
Design software is definitely interesting – I like to see how the core products that we buy are used to create amazing content. For example, Visual Studio Pro software is used by our developers for websites and mobile apps, and InVision is a prototyping and delivery tool used by our user experience team.
Procurement is a lot more strategic and multi-levelled than you might
expect of ‘purchasing’. It’s a really sociable role
and that’s one of the reasons I really enjoy it.
What is the most unusual thing you have bought?
There are not too many strange purchases that I can think of although some of the photography equipment and specifications have very odd shapes and strange names. Like the Atomos Shogun Flame, a monitor for use when shooting professional video, and the Gekko KissLite, a high quality light that fits around the lens of a camera.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to do your job?
Start as soon as you can, as there is a lot to learn but as you are required to work with other stakeholders, you’ll never be without the answers you need. And don’t be afraid to ask questions – particularly important when buying technology and talking to people who speak tech language.
What are the salary and career prospects in this job?
A procurement analyst or technology buyer with fair experience would be on a reasonable salary, and prospects are greatly improved with experience. The skills you acquire are transferable to wherever your path takes you. Studying for an accreditation in procurement (MCIPS) definitely improves your career future; being a qualified professional is highly sought after.
I am studying level 4 MCIPS, and aim to complete level 6 accreditation by 2020. It’s quite a way to go but I’m determined to gain the qualification, and develop my current role.