This year’s popular eWorld Procurement & Supply event takes place at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London on September 20 and will feature an opening keynote from Jim Hemmington, Director of Procurement at the BBC.
Jim is responsible for the BBC’s external spend on goods and services, including outsourced services contracts such as Transmission, TV Licensing and Audience Services. In addition to buying goods and services, Jim also co-ordinates the contract management activity governing the BBC’s major contracts and ensures best practice relationship management in the delivery of these contracts throughout their lifecycle.
Ahead of his appearance at eWorld Procurement & Supply, Jim discussed his thoughts on the current needs and future of procurement.
What will you be speaking about at eWorld?
“I will be exploring the longevity of procurement and its potential evolution over the next five to ten years. I will be looking at several key themes including business partnering, which the procurement industry still needs to improve on overall. Translating data insights into action and using technology to further free up resources are further themes. I will also explore assertive procurement risk management, before examining the need to employ the right talent to address evolving procurement requirements.”
You are tasked with delivering major savings initiatives to support the BBC’s funding challenges. How do you balance quality and value?
“The BBC has a funding gap, so despite inflation across the media industry and wider economy, we must ensure we are directing our funding in the best possible ways to meet our needs and obligations. To enable this, we are conversing with our suppliers about how to work together and manage the challenges, examining service levels as well as the quality of service and finding suitable adjustments. This includes consuming less where possible, maximizing the use of technology and finding innovative ways of working together, which not only help to meet these goals but also set good foundations for our ongoing relationships.”
How does the need to make savings impact supplier relationships?
“It’s vital to retain mutual trust and to carefully manage any potential issues. We have a fixed level of income and suppliers need to preserve their margins, so there needs to be trust that both sides are being fair. We need to trust that suppliers are doing as much as they can on the budget, and they need to be assured that we are assigning a fair budget to procure their services.”
What impact has the pandemic had on BBC procurement of services and programming?
“When the pandemic restrictions started, our productions were significantly restricted and often completed under challenging circumstances to maintain our schedules. From a procurement point of view, it was also a challenge to start things up again with our suppliers as many had lost staff during the disruptions, and we worked closely with them to get back up to speed in a sensible way.”
How important is sustainability for the BBC?
“Sustainability is very important for the BBC with our Net Zero target for 2030. With ALBERT Sustainable Production Certification, we limit unnecessary travel. We are working with our fleet suppliers to move to electric vehicles, and with our facilities partners to lower the carbon footprint of our buildings as soon as possible. We are also working with our top 500 suppliers to understand their own targets and initiatives for carbon neutrality. With our extensive programming on climate change, and Sir David Attenborough’s support for the natural world, it is vital that we also play our part.”
How has the BBC transformed, and what can other organizations in other sectors learn from how you have approached procurement?
“We are proudly celebrating our centenary this year, but even during my 27 years at the BBC there have been significant changes including the move to digital transmissions in the late 1990s, the launch of BBC iPlayer in 2007 and Tim Davie’s announcement of our digital-first strategy this year. Like most procurement teams, flexibility is key for us in meeting sometimes unexpected needs — such as the 2023 UK Eurovision — and it is equally essential for any procurement team.”
For further details on the eWorld Procurement & Supply Autumn 2022 event, and to register for free attendance, please visit: www.eworld-procurement.com