For Procurement Heads‘ latest Head2Head, James Dobbin, Head of Practice for Financial & Professional Services, spoke to Darin about a Supplier Relationship Manager job Procurement Heads has been retained by Oodle Car Finance to recruit.
Can you tell us about your procurement journey so far?
I started life as an engineering apprentice before progressing into a variety of supply chain and procurement roles across both direct and indirect categories.
This also gave me the opportunity to travel extensively and experience lots of different cultures.
Having enjoyed building and developing a number of ‘greenfield’ functions, I decided to become a consultant/interim.
I have now advised and worked within ~30 businesses over the last 10 years with many high growth, disruptive in their market, and private equity-backed businesses.
Could you tell us about Oodle and what led you to work with them?
We are a business that is six years old, we are looking at making that car buying journey significantly easier with an emphasis on having the finance approved at the onset.
We have a marketplace with ~20,000 cars, or you can go and find your own car directly, where we will support you to make sure you get the right car to meet your needs.
Oodle is a very customer-centric business with more than 600 employees and we have a 5-star Trustpilot rating.
Initially, I was approached in the middle of last year to help on some key initiatives in marketing/D2C before my scope was expanded to establish a procurement/SRM function.
Listen to James’ conversation with Darin here
How would you describe your role and how procurement and supplier relationship management fit into some of the bigger projects you have worked on?
There are a number of key projects and initiatives that I have been working on across the business, late last year I was asked by the CFO to look at a diagnostic and an operating model of what procurement and third-party management could look like for Oodle.
Our third party suppliers and partners are absolutely critical in meeting our customer and business requirements and therefore effective management is critical to our success.
How would you describe the culture at Oodle?
It is definitely not a traditional corporate, it is a very open and transparent culture and it values the entrepreneurial spirit.
For someone who appreciates coming in and making an impact from day one then this is an excellent organisation to hit the ground running.
Can you tell us about the new mandate that Procurement Heads is just taking on with you?
It is a greenfield Supplier Relationship Management role, sitting in our customer management team working for our Head of Operational Strategy and Oversight, but closely aligned with our Head of Procurement.
It is a role that is focused on managing the ongoing relationship driving governance, minimising risk, improving resilience and maximising value and innovation.
Just to bring it to life, the role covers an eclectic mix of suppliers and partners such as credit bureaus, speech analytics, vehicle delivery, external law firms, repossession/recovery agents, auction houses, national repairers and lease companies.
It also needs to act as a change agent and drive initiatives such as reducing carbon footprint within the supply chain.
What personality, background and skillset do you think this person needs to have to thrive in this role?
Good interpersonal and stakeholder management skills and the ability to deal with ambiguity at the onset of the role.
A person who is comfortable making imperfect decisions with incomplete data.
Someone who is a self-starter, with a continuous improvement mindset and can understand the impact of decisions made with suppliers that impact customers.
Some people see Supplier Relationship Manager roles and Supplier Management roles and because they’ve never had that job title before they can be afraid to apply, but there is a lot of SRM in Senior Buyer or Category Manager roles for example, do you think people with that background may be a good fit?
Absolutely, a lot of procurement roles require the ongoing management and optimisation of relationships, I think somebody who enjoys building relationships and driving value through the medium to long term will be a great fit.
What is the working policy for this role?
This person will manage their own diary, so it is up to them to determine when travel is required.
The role can be based from home and we have offices in Manchester, London and Oxford.
There will be some travel required to these as well as to suppliers and partners in the UK.
Are there any qualifications you require for the role?
In short, no, it doesn’t have to be a degree or CIPS qualified.
Why would someone want to join Oodle and what makes it different from its competitors?
For somebody who likes to be able to put their stamp on things and who wants to be able to drive change in a collaborative can-do team then this is the role for them.
What makes us different?
We are approaching this by sorting out the finance first with a digital wallet to make the car buying journey easier, underpinned by leading-edge technology.
There is large scale funding in place to continue to drive significant growth.