Fraser Macdonald is the Marketing Procurement Category Lead for the global sports betting, gaming and entertainment provider, Flutter Entertainment.

For Procurement Heads’ latest Big Interview, Fraser spoke with Sagar Bhardwaj about his procurement career. 

How did you get into Procurement? 

My career in procurement started when I completed my apprenticeship in business and administration at 17, working within the local authority where I was part of the property management and investment team and was involved in the publication of pin notices, quick quotes and mini competitions.

Twelve years later I am still as passionate and excited about procurement, and look after £300 Million of Marketing spend across digital, martech, media, sponsorship and talent for the world’s largest gambling and entertainment company.  

What are the roles and responsibilities the Procurement function holds within your organisation? How do you split the function out? 

Within my organisation procurement very much has a seat at the table and our team are very much considered part of the wider corporate function teams working closely with the CFO and CCO’s.

As a team, we are split out into the following categories (Marketing, Technology, Corporate, Customer, Data and Commercial) this split ensures commercial acumen for each area of the business and drives long term strategic thinking within each procurement category.

Our roles are diverse and aim to ensure we are mitigating risk, obtaining value and looking after the P&L of the business including managing strategic supplier relationships.

Our team work extremely hard on forecasting in various areas of the business to future-proof against our customers’ behaviours and the wider market pressures (for example inflation trends or indexation).

We are very much a ‘creative’ team, with each member bringing a diverse set of skills from a variety of different industries and as a team are not afraid to think outside the box and take apprised risks.  

What are you most passionate about when it comes to Procurement? 

I really do love a good ‘negotiation’!

I am both a right-brain and left-brain thinker, whereby right brain being analytically skilled but also left brain being very much a creative strength with these combined skillsets I am absolutely most passionate about taking an initial thought or idea for a project, good or service from our organisation, teams or stakeholder groups and making the procurement process dynamic and inventive.

The more we think outside the traditional norms, or the standard procurement process, is when we see the greatest end results for both our organisation and our supplier base; procurement sourcing is absolutely a journey and it should be exciting journey for everyone involved.  

What do you think are the key focus areas for Procurement right now and in future? 

Personally, from a marketing procurement perspective, I ponder that the key focus for procurement is keeping up with the pace of change in 2023 after the global covid-19 pandemic accelerating many business into a digital world; and the outstanding opportunities that will come with Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

Organisations have not been pivoting enough in previous years to maintain both consumer and industry pace and expectations.

In the next 5 years we will be talking how 2023 really changed the goalposts for a lot of procurement functions and how businesses needed to be more ahead, it is quickly becoming an AI world.

Afterall ‘It took a pandemic to get rid of the developed 9-5 norm and for organisations to move into the digital working age’. Procurement is moving to much more qualitative characteristics now and I believe that innovative thinking is not just enough, and that relationship management and emotional intelligence including AI will be pivotal focus areas for procurement now and in future.  

What do you look for when you are hiring? 

 If you are working for me in my team, personality is everything!

Procurement is a people role, it’s all about people be that internal stakeholders or your suppliers and I always lead my procurement activities through personality, especially in Marketing it is so important, it generates success and isn’t something you can learn!  

What has been the best lesson you’ve learned in Procurement? 

 Great outcomes come from great consistency and actually applying your lessons learned. 

I truly do have a lessons learned Excel log (something that I absolutely learned from the public sector) that I have kept since starting my career on every procurement RFP, or situation that I have come across; what went well, what could I have done better, what did I miss what did we collectively learn for next time etc.

However, to this specific question the best lesson I have learned in Procurement out of everything, is that no matter how much you know about a category or procurement itself, is to never be afraid to look like a beginner, or put your hands up and be not sure of something.

For me, there is no such thing as a silly question and if you limit yourself to what you know or what has worked in the past or you are afraid to look like a beginner it will only stop you from truly exploring and seeking prospects or thinking about things in a different way so be brave and ask questions.  

Tell us a bit about yourself outside of the World of Procurement! 

I am a passionate equestrian and have had horses all my life.

I currently have three highland ponies which I compete at shows with. I recently attended the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh and was absolutely delighted to have won the championship with my young pony and my other pony even making it on TV!

My future aspiration is to breed my own highland ponies as they are currently listed as endangered and are on the vulnerable species list.

My organisation champions flexible working and I am so lucky to have a fully remote contract which allows me to balance both my work and personal life.

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