Spend Matters Interview: David Atkinson – Procurement Provocateur

I recently met Spend Matters’ Peter Smith for an interview, and he proceeded to ask me questions about my career – from the early days, how I fell into procurement (like many people do!) and what I think about where the profession is going. Peter has kindly published the candid interview and below is an extract, along with the link to the full interview.

“We explained yesterday about our new series of interviews. I’m delighted to say our first victim – I mean subject – is David Atkinson of Four Pillars Consulting, an ex Rolls Royce procurement leader and now influential as a educator, trainer, thinker, writer and adviser.

When did you decide procurement was for you?

I started out on a career in Marketing, believe it or not, and joined what was Northern Rock thinking it was the first step into a ultimately glamorous career in advertising.  However, I took a sharp turn in applying for a job at Black & Decker that had a salary pretty much twice what I was on at the time. I remember being offered the job and telling my Mum that I had no idea what it was but it started with “ex” and that I was taking it anyway. The job was as an ‘expeditor’ of course, placing and chasing orders into the factory.

I quickly realised I liked it and seemed to be quite good at it, and very soon I was promoted to buyer and that took me into strategic sourcing work – as an early adopter really – and began to enthusiastically immerse myself in the theory and practice of it. What I liked in particular was you could see the benefits of what you were doing more quickly in procurement than you could in marketing.”

The full interview can be found here.


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