Renato Honorato is a highly-accomplished strategic procurement professional with a varied 30-year career spanning different countries and cultures. As someone who is always keen to share his knowledge about best practice, he facilitates CASME events in the LatAm region; as well as running his own business. Here he reflects on his journey within Procurement - including the time he became ‘famous’ - and why the ability to develop truly supportive relationships, whether in business or with family, is the key to happiness.
1) How did you get into Procurement?
As a newly qualified computer science graduate, I was hired by Nestlé to take care of IT and became involved in the procurement activities as an IT stakeholder. At that time, the IT department was decentralised, and supplier relationship management (SRM) and product development were also our responsibility. It meant that we had a good relationship with Nestlé’s purchasing team and suppliers.
My move from IT into Procurement happened because I was quite good with technology and had good communication skills, so the Service & Indirect Materials Manager invited me to join Procurement as purchaser for the IT & Telecoms categories. Since then, I have never stopped being a buyer. Here in Brazil, we say that once the purchasing bug has bitten us, we unable to leave Procurement!
2) What has been the biggest challenge of your career?
The biggest challenge of my career has been showing how Procurement is able to create value to the organisation. Although it may appear to be easy, even when Procurement has several tools to prove its value, part of the organisation can be blind to seeing that an investment in Procurement could be easily transformed into results. Results that can increase sales, revenue, innovation, quality, payment terms, market share, EBITDA and so on.
3) What has been the most significant success of your career, and why?
This is a great question that has made me stop and rethink my 30-year career!
I am very happy with all the progress I have made in Procurement. I started as a Procurement Back Office Assistant, being promoted to Purchasing Manager, then to Director, Regional Director, and CPO. Nowadays, I am a founder-partner in a Procurement Consultancy.
I think my most significant success was an article published by a local business magazine called Exame. This article explained a strategic sourcing project led by me, focusing on a clean sheet cost-modelling tool that saved a lot of money. It was so nice to be ‘famous’ for a while!
4) What advice would you give to someone starting a career in Procurement – especially a younger person?
Procurement is a business function in which you can really explore all your potential. Every single day, you will be able to take care of different people, challenges, and subjects.
For example, being an Engineering or Law graduate working in Procurement, you can put into practice what you learnt at university and at the same time challenge yourself - using your knowledge to bring competitive advantage to your negotiations. Being a buyer or procurement professional with applied knowledge is just the tip of the iceberg for those who want to be able to develop new skills and responsibilities.
The more involved with Procurement you are, the more involved you’ll want to be. Enjoy being in Procurement!
5) How do you think we could get more younger people interested in Procurement?
By showing Procurement’s real value and investing in education.
Heads of Procurement and HR personnel must demonstrate to the younger generation that by having a vocational background and working in Procurement as a engineer-buyer, architect-buyer, marketing-buyer, lawyer-buyer, or finance-buyer, etc., they can provide greater value by applying their specialist knowledge and skills to help deliver more competitiveness, innovation, and value.
Procurement must showcase something that will grab the attention of the young people and encourage the thought that Procurement can also be their home; we need to give them a sense of belonging and they will arrive willing to change the Procurement world.
6) Finally, putting Procurement aside (just for a moment), what inspires and motivates you?
What inspires and motivates me is the opportunity to see my kids realising their dreams. This year, my eldest son (Rafael) gradated in Nutrition and has already started to work in a great company, and my youngest son (Guilherme) was provided with a great incentive to study Computer Science in the USA.
I feel that all the effort my wife and I put in together was achieved this year. It also means that our dreams were achieved too, so we feel our first step is done. Of course, it never finishes. Sons are our children forever, and I also have a daughter (Giovanna) who is twelve years old.
I am so proud for the ones that can follow and achieve their dreams.
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