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Training & Development in the Procurement & Supply Chain Sector

2 Jun 2015

Procurement Skills Gap

An Interview with Steve Johnson


Name: Steve JohnsonSimply Joined Consulting

Title: Director

Company: Simply Joined Consulting



Steve JohnsonThe Simply Joined philosophy is that the relationships and working mechanisms between suppliers and clients should avoid being unnecessarily complex.


The supply chain has never been so crucial to business survival and the future. What does Simply Joined offer to its clients ?

Simply Joined Consulting offers bespoke consultancy and training services to support businesses and organisations aiming to develop, review, or maintain robust Procurement & Supply Chain Management (PSCM) principles and practices in simple terms that join up the various aspects of their operations.

One area proving of value to clients in the current climate is where they may not have the need or budget for a full time senior Supply Chain Management Lead, but still require someone who can offer leadership and mentoring to the team or person currently in place. A couple of days a month and being at the end of a phone can offer the right level of support required at a fraction of the cost of a full time Manager or Director. We also have members of the team that can work on an interim basis to support specific projects

The Simply Joined philosophy is that the relationships and working mechanisms between suppliers and clients should avoid being unnecessarily complex. We believe that having your people, systems, policies and processes ‘Simply Joined’ to the needs and expectations of your core clients and suppliers, will result in a cost effective and efficient business model that supports you, your clients and your suppliers for the long term. We have a good variety of approaches to training and development which can be easily tailored to suit.


Steve you have worked in the oil and gas sector, pioneering training programs such as the CIPS Syndicated Corporate Award Programme for oil and gas. What is the value to a business for putting employees in procurment and supply chain through this development?

The value to this type of training is three fold. Firstly, because the programme was specifically designed to have a work based project that is agreed by the student, the employer and the awarding body, which as a minimum must bring about a return on investment of at least the cost of the training, the training pays for itself and more. Secondly, the training received allows the business to raise the bar of its Procurement & Supply Management activities, which in turn they can use to their competitive advantage by showing existing and future clients that their supply chains are in safe hands. Thirdly, the individual gets a formal award and membership to the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply. 

When the subject of cuts to training budgets in an effort to save money comes up with clients, I like refer to the discussion between a manager and their CEO when discussing the idea of cutting training budgets to save money. The manager asks “What if we train them and they leave?” To which the CEO replied “What if we don’t train them and they stay?”


What advice would you give to aspiring procurement, supply chain and logistics professionals on how to carve a successful career? Any key learns for you along the way?

Below are my golden rules of personal development

  • Be prepared to work your way up.
  • Never stop asking questions (you won’t have to know  all the answers, but you will need to know what to ask)
  • Try new things – the worst you can do is learn new skills
  • Use the opportunities for further education & training (there’s a social side too)
  • Be flexible – you don’t need to know right now exactly what your career path looks like, but the important thing is to remain focused and motivated to improve


As a strong supporter of the SME market, what would your suggestions be to help develop our SME business to allow them to become key players in years to come?

My first suggestion would be to ensure that the people within the business responsible for managing suppliers now and in the future have a good understanding of the various tools and techniques available to build the appropriate contracting strategies with the suppliers that will play a critical role in supporting their growth. Continuity of supply and control of cost of sale will create a key competitive advantage as the business grows. Customers like to work with Suppliers that can show them that they have a robust, ethical, cost effective approach to the risk and cost management of their supply chains. 

Secondly, I would recommend consideration be given to taking on a Modern Apprentice. With the Modern Apprenticeship in Procurement now available and already well underway in Scotland via the Procurement People of Tomorrow initiative, SMEs can grow their own talent in a structured, competence based way that allows young people to enter the industry as recommended in the Wood Report and the business to develop it procurement and supply capabilities at a pace suitable to all.

Anyone wanting to know more about any of the above areas can reach me at and I would be more than happy to discuss in more detail.


Please feel free to comment below on any key points of the interview or any questions you many have. Make sure to check back next month where we will be interviewing another procurement and supply chain thought leader.

Considering a career change? Browse our latest procurement and supply chain jobs.

Read the other interviews in our "Interview With" series:


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