CASME Facilitator Profile: Jesus Campos Cortes
CASME’s newest RoundTable facilitator, Jesus Campos Cortes, joins us from Mexico City. He brings with him over 25-years of procurement experience gained from working in different supply-chain positions across several industries. Jesus is passionate about training and advising procurement professionals to reach their full potential. As an ambassador for the virtues of best practice and demand management, he tells us why he feels that procurement is a never-ending search for better results.
Can you tell us a little about your career background and how you got into Procurement?
I started my career working in production and material planning at a factory in Mexico City. I was initially convinced that Procurement was a clerical function that didn’t add any value to my operation. However, fast-forward a few years, and after I had been made responsible for Procurement, I found the function to be business-critical because of its impact on a company’s strategy and results. Around 20 years ago, I decided to promote the role of Procurement within the Mexican business community, through publications, training and conferences.
What has been your biggest or most memorable career challenge?
My main challenge has always been to convince my procurement team that we are critical for the business, that we are here to make a difference and challenge the status quo. Procurement is a never-ending search for better results; we need to start thinking differently about our profession, otherwise no one is going to work with us in the transformation of the organisation. Once you are convinced that your work is relevant, all other changes become easier.
How has the procurement profession advanced in Latin America in recent years?
The evolution of the procurement profession in Latin America is progressing very slowly. For many senior-level managers it is still a tactical position that is focused only on savings, with very strong controls that inhibit innovation and risk-taking. The current emphasis on pursuing sustainability will be pivotal for developing new ways of working that will allow greater focus on strategic issues, collaboration and adding value.
What advice would you give for a procurement category manager starting out on his or her career?
To work closer with key stakeholders and deeply understand business strategies in order to collaborate with suppliers and create real value for the company. Procurement is no longer a support function; it must take leadership in the transformation of a business, in addition to managing the supply chains.
What are some of the key procurement trends you are seeing?
At this moment, there are several trends under the procurement umbrella; the most important of which concerns sustainability and corporate social responsibility – with the right objectives, a category leader can do a lot for his or her company and the community. Another trend is the introduction of new technologies to assist the procurement process. All tactical work, and a big part of spend analysis, will need to be carried out by systems. Category managers must focus their time on designing and executing strategies to generate value for the key stakeholders. Finally, category managers must be leaders inside the organisation, working as part of multi-functional teams and looking for competitive advantages.
What do you enjoy about facilitating CASME RoundTables?
Procurement professionals are familiar with working alone. When they listen to the experiences of other colleagues, they immediately find a way to adapt these lessons to their own operation. You can see it on their faces or hear in their voices the excitement of new challenges. The amount of positive energy released during a CASME RoundTable helps category managers back-up their work with multiple tools which will improve their effectiveness, and help the businesses introduce new, real-world best practices that are proven to be successful.
FInd out more about CASME's RoundTable programme and view the latest schedule of events.