By Susan Avery
As sports fans know, it takes teamwork to win, and a team is nothing without strong leadership.
The same is true of procurement.
The 2016 Excellence in Purchasing Indirect Categories Career Award recipient possesses the quality of a strong leader, and, for sports fans, he manages the procurement team for a professional sports organization.
The 2016 EPIC Career Award recipient is Joseph R. Postiglione Sr., Vice President of Global Procurement, at the National Basketball Association in Secaucus, N.J. He received his award recently at a luncheon ceremony during ProcureCon Indirect East in Orlando, Fla.
Postiglione has more than 30 years of procurement experience, specializing in indirect, and in creating successful procurement teams from scratch. Throughout his career, he has contributed to the success of several organizations by negotiating savings/cost avoidance in excess of $100 million.
In his current role, Postiglione is responsible for day-to-day procurement operations at the NBA. Previously, he was Senior Director of Supply Chain at NYU Langone Medical Center.
Postiglione has a Bachelor’s degree in Materials Management, which provides him with “a complete understanding of the various functions within the supply chain.” He is a member of the Institute for Supply Management where he had previously earned his CPSM (Certified Professional in Supply Management) and CPM (Certified Purchasing Manager) credentials, and was a finalist for the ISM-New Jersey Procurement Executive of the Year in 2011. Postiglione also has the CMRP (Certified Materials and Resource Professional) designation through the American Hospital Association
In addition, he has previously earned a Professional Credentialed Coach credential through the International Coach Federation and a Certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner certification through GENOS. Postiglione has provided pro bono coaching help to people of all walks of life, helping them get back on track in their careers and personal life.
“I am perhaps most proud of being able to lead and develop procurement professionals who have gone on to become leaders in their own right,” Postiglione tells My Purchasing Center. “I was also one of the first procurement executives to give an upstart company called Ariba a chance at a major pharmaceutical company I worked for in the late 1990s.”
Expectations for Procurement Great
The past 30 years have witnessed tremendous change in the procurement function. Career professionals have watched procurement evolve from a purely tactical requisition-to-purchase order processing entity focused on cost to a strategic function that conducts spend analysis, market research, RFx work, negotiations and contract finalization, and finally supplier management.
Now, the Chief Procurement Officer sits at the business strategy table and is often asked what he or she thinks of business decisions that may have little to do with procurement, Postiglione says. “This is the evolving role of the CPO who will always oversee and consult on how a company spends its money, but also help define paths forward for revenue generation. Young people can look to the future of procurement with great expectations.”
Indirect procurement, which especially has taken on increasing importance over the years, needs to be managed as effectively as direct procurement, Postiglione says. “There are large pockets of spend, in many cases exceeding $500 million, that have characteristics and nuances that can be, and are being, leveraged.
“Categories like information management and professional services are major spend areas that require detailed statements of work, service level agreements and supplier performance criteria in order to truly manage the category,” he says. “So the big value segments of spend analytics, e-sourcing and contract management are now front and center in the world of indirect.”
Yet managing indirect procurement is not without its challenges, and Postiglione meets them head on by taking time early in the process to meet key stakeholders “so they can understand me as a person, what I’m about, my background and experience and how my team can help them achieve their goals.
“A critical and necessary part of procurement is in continuously managing change and providing constant awareness and information as it demystifies the function,” he says.
“Procurement is not about telling stakeholders which suppliers they do business with, nor is it about finding the cheapest source of supply. It is about achieving exactly what is required, when it is required, from the right source at the least total cost possible.”
With no regrets about decisions he’s made regarding his career, Postiglione is especially grateful for the mentors he’s worked with along the way who helped him see “nuances and predictors of faulty decision-making,” urging him “to take time to learn the very strategic consulting and leadership skill of listening first, researching and then offering solutions.”
As he sees it, mentoring today is essential for growth of all young professionals, “allowing them to try things and make the inevitable mistakes necessary that promotes learning.”
Going forward, Postiglione has this advice for young professionals: “After their undergrad work, I would seek on-the-job training and consider whether or not the pursuit of an MBA was the right choice and if so, do it at night,” he says. “Learning how procurement systems operate and how to conduct negotiation planning meetings as well as the negotiation itself will be critical differentiators.”
ProcureCon and My Purchasing Center founded the EPIC Awards in 2012 to recognize professional excellence in indirect procurement. The two organizations added the EPIC Career Award in 2015, of which Bill Mangen, Vice President, Procurement and Strategic Sourcing at Cox Communications, was the first recipient.
Also see the My Purchasing Center article, 2016 EPIC Awards Recognize Indirect Procurement Value
Susan Avery is Editor-in-Chief at My Purchasing Center. She writes articles, blogs and white papers and manages and creates other content for the online procurement and supply management publication. She produces and moderates roundtable discussions, podcasts, webcasts and video interviews. Susan has 30 years experience covering procurement and supply management for Purchasing magazine and Purchasing.com.
George E. Krauter
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