Alessandro Ocera: "Insight and interpretation of market signals for sustainable and innovative procurement"

Director of Procurement, Supply Chain & Digital Services (PSCD)

How has the world of procurement changed at Leonardo Global Solutions (LGS) and how have you managed the change?

Over the last few years, our world has undergone a profound process of evolution and change both in terms of activities, volumes managed and tools, and in terms of the people, situations and stakeholders we serve. We have steadily supported the process of centralising purchasing for non-core and core categories across the board, becoming one of the Leonardo Group's most important procurement offices, supporting the business in Italy and abroad, and promoting standardisation, ethics, respect for rules and people as well as sustainability and innovation in procurement.
In order to achieve these results, the focus from the outset was on enriching and developing people's distinctive attributes. In fact, with an increasingly broad and varied portfolio of required skills, having good negotiation and technical skills is no longer enough in itself. To manage change, we have invested in other enabling factors for success, such as responsiveness and adaptability, efficiency in stakeholder management and effective communication, conflict management and risk profiles.

Sustainable and innovative procurement: how do you achieve that at LGS?

It requires vision and the ability to interpret the impact of signals from the market, which continues to evolve rapidly, and from the environment in which we operate. In our target market, sensitivity to sustainability issues is about more than promoting environmentally virtuous behaviour; it also embraces values relating to the social and economic impact of the business, such as respect for the conditions of workers in the supply chain or the ability to help bring prosperity to the areas involved in procurement activities.
To respond actively to change, LGS is continuously looking for innovative solutions to improve the service we offer, while enriching the skills of our people. We have implemented 100% paperless processes, started experimenting with the first Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, along with enhanced digital tools that can offer efficiency and transparency in procurement flows. For instance, by introducing robotic buyers within each purchasing team, based on Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology, to perform the most repetitive tasks. This allows people to devote themselves to activities with higher added value.



Partnerships with suppliers: how is the relationship evolving?

Building partnerships with suppliers is increasingly a tool for mutual competitive empowerment. The evolution of the supply relationship into a partnership requires a balance between performance and counter-performance, between shared opportunities and risks, as well as the conscious choice of a long-term approach. In fact, when selecting our partners, we take into account their quality profile, service level, competitiveness, credibility and commonality of values, with the aim of developing a stable and mutually satisfying long-term relationship.

What skills are essential for your role and how did you acquire them?

Strong negotiating and interpersonal skills are very useful, but not sufficient. They must be accompanied by professional integrity, assertiveness, and the ability to be credible and authoritative, as well as a good knowledge of technology and the market. Resilience in the role also depends on the ability to pick up macroeconomic signals in the sector in advance, and understand the impact they may have on the organisation's performance.
One essential skill is the ability to constantly grow the team by developing its strengths, encouraging the best behaviour and fostering excellence. Finally, it is crucial to be able to engage and persuade people without necessarily imposing yourself. I have personally had the good fortune to develop most of the necessary skills over the course of my career and the opportunity to practice them every day, thanks to my dealings with a diverse range of contacts and a team of true professionals.

Do you have a message to share?

Act as if the company were your own, building your team by example.