A major multinational company has been showcasing its pioneering training programme that dispels outdated myths about new-generation procurement and supply chain jobs and equips up-and-coming talent with the strategic skills they’ll need to add value to their businesses.

Johnson & Johnson (J&J), a global leader in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and consumer packaged goods, launched its Procurement Leadership Development Programme (PLDP) 12 years ago and has to date trained 119 people for its own procurement jobs.

Speaking with Supply Chain Dive, J&J’s director of procurement capabilities and leadership development Theresa Lopez explained that the programme has helped the company meet its procurement needs at a time when procurement recruitment is struggling to find the right talent and the job itself has undergone radical change, driven largely by digital procurement transformation.

Younger generations are inclined toward outmoded assumptions about procurement that belong to yesteryear, seeing it as a back-office function rather than the strategic role it truly is today – a role that requires critical thinking, demand management skills, and social and digital competences.

J&J’s full-time, two-year PLDP delivers all of these, demonstrating to high-potential talent (entrants must be recent MBA graduates) that the role has highly attractive career progression pathways today and has become thoroughly strategic.

Trainees are required to participate on J&J category management projects as well as a range of other core new procurement duties (e.g., crafting sustainability and risk management strategies, leading strategic sourcing events, managing cross-functional teams, undertaking cost-benefit analyses, and planning and undertaking innovation events with company suppliers).

The programme has functioned as a potent procurement recruitment tool for J&J, attracting new talent into the company.

Lopez said: “We’ve seen a dramatic increase in the competition for top talent, particularly as the supply chain and procurement functions have been recognized as differentiators and competitive advantages for companies.

“This, coupled with declining admissions in MBA programs and historically low unemployment rates, have created a perfect storm for recruiting top talent.” 

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