Starting his career in the procurement industry in the early 90s, Michael Perkins is the Director of IDP Global Procurement at Volvo Car Group, and has roughly 30 years experience in the sector.
“In 2016, following a 26 year career in procurement I was looking for new opportunities.
Whilst looking, I was contacted by a recruiter on behalf of Volvo Cars, who were looking to establish the company in South Carolina. I’d never worked in the automotive industry and saw this as an incredible opportunity - the thought of bringing a Swedish automaker owned by a Chinese holding company to the US intrigued me,” says Perkins.
“Volvo Cars is an amazing company,” adds Perkins. “We are a very progressive automotive manufacturer; we are agile, creative and extremely people-driven.”
When it comes to sourcing and procurement, Perkins has witnessed the expectation of greater margins emerge as a challenge within the automotive sector.
“With this in mind it is critical for us to create strong partnerships with our suppliers, when we work together it’s not just about cutting costs, it’s also about improving our cross collaboration between internal stakeholders and procurement,” comments Perkins.
“It all starts with collaboration. For our sourcing and procurement strategy we need to establish trust between each other and determine what is needed, in order to ensure we source the right partners to fulfil the requirements. We also have to be comfortable with the realisation that we don’t know everything, and look to our suppliers to help improve cost optimisation and operational efficiency.”
When searching for a strategic partner, Volvo Cars looks for companies that not only have a proven track record within the industry, but companies that also align with Volvo Cars’ beliefs and values.
“I think when we are looking for strategic partners - firstly they’re critical to our success - but let me be clear what I am talking about is strategic, not favoured, sometimes this can get blurred.
I am talking about someone that has our interest in mind, but they will also challenge us and the status quo. We work jointly with our partners not only in the successes but in the failures too,” comments Perkins, who describes the approach as holistic.
“Similar to what I have previously discussed, when we look to source our suppliers we have a common target, something which we are looking to achieve. Taking a holistic approach creates a group of suppliers that we can rely on and innovate with in the hopes to deliver ‘best-in-class’ plans, processes and products."