Issue 7, March 2012

It’s not all froth and bubbles

Not every Category Manager gets to work behind the scenes of our famous soft drink and mixer brands, but for Connie Scheibert, it’s been all in a day’s work during her time at Schweppes.

As an IT Procurement Manager at Schweppes and ICT Category Council member, Connie Scheibert works across the entire spectrum of ICT. With Schweppes having gone through some significant change over recent years, including the separation from Cadbury, the acquisition and integration of a number of new businesses and new ownership under the Asahi group, Connie’s role has been one of diversity and change management.

Here, Connie tells us more about her role at Schweppes, and what she considers to be the most significant challenges facing ICT Category Managers today.

Q] What do you enjoy most about your role and how do you feel about working in a dynamic organisation such as Schweppes?

A] I enjoy the variety my Procurement role offers. I have been able to work with many different stakeholders and on various projects. It was exciting to work on the IT separation from Cadbury, which entailed starting an entire new IT function at Schweppes. Moving forward, it is now all about IT integration of new acquisitions which will again provide diverse and interesting project work.

Q] As a member of the ICT Category Council, what do you think are the main advantages of the Category Councils and how have they helped you in your day-to-day role?

A] The Category Council has enabled me to broaden my network with my peers in the ICT Procurement industry. It has also allowed me to obtain an insight into other organisations and to understand and learn from their approaches in managing the procurement of ICT.

Q] What do you see as the biggest challenges for managing ICT and what advice would you give to someone who has just picked up the ICT category for the first time?

A] A major challenge in ICT Procurement is to find the right balance between risk and cost. Being too risk averse could come at a cost, but so too can being ignorant to risk. So it is important to get that balance right.

It is also essential to understand your company’s strategy and how IT supports this. Understanding that will help you formulate your ICT Procurement strategy.

Finally, it goes without saying that it is important to build rapport and gain the respect of the IT team. Particularly in ICT Procurement, it is important to have stakeholder buy-in and support, as without them, it is almost impossible to drive any changes.

Q] What would you be doing if you weren’t an IT Procurement Manager for Schweppes?

A] I enjoy working in Procurement and I have no plans leaving my profession. If I wasn’t working as an IT Procurement Manager, I would most likely work across other indirect categories, as my background is in indirect categories such as Marketing, Business Services, MRO, etc.  Procurement offers many challenges and exposure to many facets of an organisation. I can honestly say that I have never been bored during my career in Procurement.

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