The Marketing Procurement Podcast

1. Self-Made Marketing Procurement Leader

December 07, 2020
The Marketing Procurement Podcast
1. Self-Made Marketing Procurement Leader
Show Notes Transcript

Marketing Procurement is what Magid has a passion for. If he had to do it all over again, there are few things he would like to do differently.  Your story may be similar to his story of a self-made Marketing Procurement leader. But does it have to be for the next generation of professionals?
It's a journey of "falling into" Marketing Procurement function by chance. Then "surviving" its complexity using resilience and transferable skills. Finally, "thriving" into the Marketing Procurement world; acquiring behaviors, competencies, and influence that set him up for success as a business leader. It's a journey in which those who enjoy freedom can thrive. It's also a journey that ought to be better structured to benefit the largest number of talents. How good is good when it comes to Marketing Procurement? What does it take to be successful? Which skills need to be trained? What sets Marketing Procurement apart from the rest of Procurement?  This sets the stage by laying out a few questions we'll answer with this podcast.
Rate (5 stars), Review & Subscribe on Apple Podcasts & Feel Free to invite others to join our Marketing Procurement Community.
Take care of yourself and take care of each other.

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My marketing procurement journey was not a choice. It was not linear, and I was certainly not trained for it. My story is maybe somehow, like yours, but does it have to be for the next generation of marketing procurement leaders.

I'm Magid Souhami, homegrown marketing procurement leader who turns president of global business. Marketing procurement has gone mainstream but remains uncharted misunderstood and sometimes undervalued. This podcast aimed at better codifying Marketing Procurement.

Hello Marketing Procurement family. In this first episode, I'd like to share a bit about my journey in marketing procurement. I think it's important for us as a community to tell our stories because it helps address many questions that students or junior buyers have about their future in the function or even address some questions that are important for organizational leaders as they think about structuring much better the function and the skill set required to be successful marketing procurement leaders. 

I just want to share with you my story, maybe you can relate because some points are similar to your stories. My journey in marketing procurement, was not a choice, it was not linear and I was not trained for it, I use most transferable skills. So first, let me start with maybe telling you how I got into procurement. 

My first working experience has been within the beauty industry with L'Oreal. Using that engineering background, I started in engineering, I wanted to discover a bit more about my surrounding environment because I was working in a lab, but surrounded by a huge manufacturing plant. And that led me to first manufacturing and then process engineering, working in production lines. That's really where my Ha Ha moment came to life-related to procurement. 

What I enjoyed and what piqued my interest for this function was the fact that they were externally focused. While I was spending most of my time inside the plant, I have never seen the procurement people. I was seeing them only when we had to go to meet some suppliers externally. And that's it. So that external focus always attracted me. The second thing that I noticed back in the days was the fact that the procurement team was meeting quite often with the leadership team. So I attach in my imagination, some form of importance to that because they had very simple access to the general manager of the site. They were almost on weekly meetings with the board of the plant. And they were the cool guys hanging out with the senior leadership, even at lunch or at the coffee break. A third thing is when I started to sit in meetings with them, what I quite enjoyed observing was their skill set when it comes to negotiating with suppliers, and what drove my desire to move from engineering to procurement in the first place. 

How I got there, I decided to invest in my education. I took a part-time MBA, and I looked into every single MBA worldwide. And I did not find one single school or education curriculum dedicated only to procurement. So what I've done is again, not by choice, but because it included several procurement modules. I signed up for a part-time MBA in supply chain and procurement. That module was two-thirds supply chain and one-third procurement. But still, I went for it. 

My dream was really about working in direct procurement, which was the only type of procurement that I knew back then. I applied to seven different types of industries, mostly driven again by this direct procurement, thinking, and mindset. The reason why I join FMCG is really that I got a dream opportunity to join Procter and Gamble. But there was a but it was not for my dream job. While the company made me dream, the industry is definitely an industry that I enjoy. And the fact to relocate internationally was super exciting for me. But there was no job in Direct Procurement, there was a more urgent need in marketing procurement. 

And that was the first time that I came across that name with big question marks. I was like what is this marketing procurement I never heard about it before. I've never interacted with marketing procurement. When I was in the plant, nowhere in part-time MBA in supply chain and procurement was it mentioned anything about marketing procurement so what is that? And that feeling was stuck with me for a while. Because when I signed up, I say, Okay, I will take a leap of faith and I will join marketing procurement without knowing really what it is what I discovered, hang with me, it was maybe more than 15 years ago, though, at the time, there was nothing. 

 My onboarding was just as I can recall it very nice and friendly with a lot of warm and welcoming people. I was very impressed. I was very humble coming into the company. Everybody that I interacted with was super impressive. I felt quite intimidated in the beginning. But on the job itself, there was nothing so it was a white page, I remember being completely puzzled about it because I was coming from a very structured world, engineering background, scientific. So basically everything was measured, process, archive, and here I am. 

 Welcome to marketing procurement. My job is a white piece of paper, there is very limited spend data, there are no clear internal stakeholders and there is no supply base. So if you accept it, your mission is to create your own job. That was kind of brief. Of course, there was a surrounding onboarding, which was very well done, very structured. But on the job itself, there were a lot of gaps and blacks to fill in. Everything had to be done, which back then with my level of seniority in marketing procurement was quite disturbing. 

So in that first job as a buyer, I had a very wide scope that added some complexity to the challenge, because it was about dealing with celebrities, very important contracts for endorsing the brand, high stakes alliances, and external partnerships. I discovered new industries that I did not know before, like the music industry, the endorsement industry, and those type of negotiation were complex, and not quite the type of negotiation that you would conduct if you come into an established procurement role with an established supply base commercial terms that needs to be optimized and refined year on year, but that has a more historical background that you can rely upon. 

Here, it was a world of first: first deal with that celebrity, first contract with that music band, first external partnership with that company, though it was again, going from one white page to do their hindsight, that was one of the richest period and one of the steepest learning curve that I had in my career. 

I always had that struggle between going back to direct procurement. And then embracing indirect. Right now, I would say that it's the other way around, it would be quite hard, and I think many of you can relate to that, to go back from marketing procurement into direct procurement. That led me over time to grow into the marketing procurement organization to the point where I got to senior leadership positions, sitting on procurement lead teams, and then interacting with the rest of the procurement function and the broader supply chain organization. 

The next challenge that I now proactively look for was creating the marketing procurement organization, because in my first experience at P&G, the procurement organization was already there, but I never had the chance to create the function. So I joined an over company General Mills in the food industry at a time of transformation. And the specific mission was to establish the marketing procurement function from scratch, which is exactly what I was looking for. In this experience. What I used is really what I learned over the past years, which is how important is the connection with all the internal stakeholders, I use some of my challenging experience in terms of learning onboarding into marketing procurement to help set some of the journey people would come on to, to learn as Junior buyers, as senior buyers or as people that we get from other function to learn marketing, procurement, and also using that to establish working processes, ways of working between the global team, the regional team and the local buyers. 

Partly thanks to all the knowledge and transferable skills that I acquired in marketing procurement. Now I run Global Business as President. In my role, I'm fully in charge of the entire p&l, the bottom line, and the top line. Having said all of that, my marketing procurement journey was not a choice. It was not linear.

And I was certainly not trained for it. My story is maybe somehow, like yours, but does it have to be for the next generation of marketing procurement leaders. How about educating them more about marketing, procurement? How about codifying the learning journey and the skill set required by providing specific training to marketing procurement leaders from marketing procurement leaders. So those are few examples of things I want us to achieve with this podcast, 

 Hey Marketing Procurement family. Thank you for tuning in and listening to this episode. If you'd like it, give it five stars on Apple Podcasts. We have another great episode coming up next week. So remember to subscribe and feel free to invite others to join our marketing procurement community. Look forward to seeing you again next week. In the meantime, take care of yourself and take care of each other

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