PROCUREMENT HEADS BLOG

The Big Interview with Saima Ali

Saima Ali is a Deputy Director of Procurement at KFM. As part of our retained mandate with KFM, James Dobbin spoke to Saima about her career, KFM and the Clinical Category Manager role we are recruiting.

Could you tell us a bit about your procurement career?

I’ve been at KFM for about 18 months now, I was actually headhunted from another NHS Trust and I started as a Senior Category Manager but was seconded over to another hospital to carry out the commissioning of a new hospital.

In the last nine months or so I’ve been the Deputy Head of Clinical Procurement, so I’ve been looking after the theatres’ team on the King’s side while doing the commissioning side for the private hospital.

Click here to watch our conversation with Saima

Could you give us an overview of KFM, your remit and how the procurement function fits in?

KFM started around seven years ago and is a full subsidiary of King’s College Hospital Trust, we provide a managed service to the hospital, which includes procurement, supply chain, sterile services, endoscopy, and technical support.

Procurement and supply chain is split into two teams, one is clinical procurement, which is where I sit, and then there’s a capital and corporate team.

How would you describe the culture at KFM?

When I started, the team was relatively new and we’ve gone from a team of six to about 25 with a wide range of backgrounds and skillsets.

We are a very close team, we get along very well and are like a little family. That’s not just the clinical procurement team, that’s across teams and I think it’s a really great place to work with a diverse culture.

Can you tell us a bit more about the role Procurement Heads is recruiting for KFM and the kind of profile you are looking for?

We’re looking for a Clinical Category Manager, someone who will look after one or two categories and this role will sit along with the clients we are getting on board and one we have gone live with so far.

It will be a typical Category Manager role with day-to-day strategic sourcing, developing a category plan, building stakeholder relationships with new clients we get on board, reviewing and renegotiating contracts and implementing change and process.

Also, just being the face of KFM, offering advice and knowledge to our clients.

What background and experience do you think they’ll need to have to be a success in the Clinical Category Manager role?

I would say three to five years of category management experience.

We’re looking for someone to look after cardiology, radiology, imaging and those kinds of areas so having that sort of background and a degree would help.

CIPS is not mandatory but would help your application.

If someone has a clinical background, which isn’t necessarily in those areas, do you think they could potentially be a good fit?

Of course.

Clinical procurement, regardless of the category you are looking after, is still the same process and sourcing.

If you have any clinical background please do apply.

What about the softer skills, what is important in that respect?

We need someone who is quite confident. The stakeholders involved in these clinical areas can be quite difficult to deal with, so someone who is able to get on and put a stamp on their areas and execute their category plans would be great.

What is your office policy, and how often would you expect someone to be in the London office?

We have a hybrid policy.

We are very flexible and have a rota. At the moment we like it if you are in two days a week, whether that is at our office or client-side, it is nice to be able to liaise with the team and see each other in person, but we are happy for people to work three days at home.

You mentioned a degree would help with this role, are there any other qualifications that are important?

Because the client is private, it is nice to have CIPS and regulatory knowledge – but it is not essential.

What kind of benefits are included with the Clinical Category Manager role on top of the base salary?

There’s a 10% bonus scheme on top of your salary, 5% is achieving your personal targets and 5% is the company delivering their savings targets.

We have a private pension which is a 6% matched contribution, you can also buy or sell your annual leave, the dental scheme and cycle to work.

Why would someone want to join KFM, what makes you different from your competitors?

I think at the moment we are going through so much change as an organisation, we have growth plans and are acquiring new private hospitals we are providing procurement and supply chain for.

We have a lot of international opportunities coming up from organisations that are approaching us, so it just shows the culture and dynamics of the company and how we are up and coming.

The culture of the team, we all get along, it’s an enjoyable place to work and we have a laugh, are very supportive and like developing people.

Plus, you get to work for me!

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James Dobbin