It was announced, on the last day of 29th of September, the nomination of Alexandra Margarida Vieira Reis to the new position of Chief Procurement Officer of the Company. In an interview to WHAT’S|UP, Alexandra talked a little bit about herself and the long professional journey that she made, and presents the guidelines to the actions that intends to initiate now that is in charge of this new area.
Who is Alexandra Reis? What distinguishes her and her professional journey? How this project at TAP fits today in your professional story?
I like a good talk, music and trips. Mother of twins, two pre-teens boys, and a dog, Miró.
I always try to align my energy and my ability to make something happen with the rigor of solid steps. I consider that I’ve been doing it in my professional life. I had the privilege to participate in projects with big impact, that helped me grow and contributed to face the challenges that are coming in TAP.
Electronic engineer and with an MBA, I’ve been always working with enterprises with a strong technological and operational stamp, like PT, REN and, recently, NetJets, the leader in private aviation. I started working in operational areas, in the field, putting networks of telecommunication on service, later sales, and it was in 2002 that came the invitation to be a part of the PT Team, that was centralizing every acquisition of the Group. It was a challenging project of a big transformation with a strong impact in the organization and the lessons learned, years later, helped a lot when I accepted the responsibility of creating a purchase area in REN Group. Before that, in PT, I also had the opportunity to manage the team of business development of PT International Investments, where I developed projects of Merger & Acquisition, mostly in the African market. It was a rich phase of my career. Africa has such a different reality from ours, and all the projects and investments must be adapted to that reality. How to sell mobile phones if there’s no electricity to charge them?
After REN, in NetJets I assumed the responsibility of the Purchase Area for Europe, with all the challenges than come from offering a sale premium service to clients, with high patterns of quality and On Time Performance, in a very competitive market with such big pressures in terms of costs.
And TAP? I think this world of aviation leaves a special taste on us and there’s nothing better than being part of this transformation project of a company that says so much to all of us.
Briefly, in what consists the position of Chief Procurement Officer?
The Chief Procurement Officer has the responsibility to lead a team whose mission is to find efficient solutions of buying and the provisioning of all goods and services necessary to TAP activities.
When we speak of the efficiency of solutions, we must have in mind a short-term perspective in which the cost/quality balance are the most relevant criteria, but also a long-term perspective in which the chain sustainability and the internal impacts should be considered. More than focusing on the immediate cost of acquisition we must understand all context, identifying what’s the problem that must be solved and doing an efficient management of TAP’s relation with providers. On the other side, we must print out the agility in our way of working, promoting a service culture in the Company, not only regarding to our clients but also to the way that the several areas of TAP relate between each other. All of this ruled by a set of ethical criteria that assure us long-term sustainability.
What areas will you lead? What are the challenges waiting for you?
I will lead the current team of negotiation and purchase, currently known as Logistics, to which will join new valences that can ensure this function in a more global way. The Procurement area will be organized in three big areas equally important: strategic outsourcing, organized by categories, that will lead the procurement processes, since the need prediction to the close and registration of commercial conditions and even managing the relation with the provider; efficiency and processes, that will have the responsibility to define and implement the processes that contribute to the efficiency and the agility that we talked before; and supply chain management, responsible for the management of orders, inventories, logistics and warehouse.
The challenges of Procurement are the same of TAP itself, which means that acting in a very competitive market in a permanent search for avenues of more profit, efficiency and costs optimization. It’s important that the area is capable of creating in the organization a momentum that mobilize each one of TAP Employees to look in a critical way to the expenses we have. Being this expenses investments or costs, are they really necessary? Do they assure the better utilization of the Company’s funds? To better manage the enterprise’s resources is a responsibility of each one of us. Every “penny” counts!
In the negotiation’s point of view, Procurement must be able to win the traditional thinking that there’s no alternatives, must be able to promote a critical spirit and to think in new ways to reach the intended goals, always in a big articulation with the business areas.
To you, what is the importance of a purchase area to the success of an air transport business?
To purchase well is one of the key-elements of any organization, as producing/delivering the service and sell. Concerning to TAP, the importance of purchase is amplified by the fact that 75% of the costs of the company are made in Supplies and External Services (without counting the acquisition of aircraft). In the side of the market we have a lot of competition and if we’re not permanently looking for improvements, we‘re quickly outdated. To purchase well in this context goes way longer than negotiating a good price. It starts in which one of us, in the judicious evaluation that we need, in what return we’re going to get for an expense (not forgetting the short and medium-term) and in controlling the good execution of the plans. The deep and extended discussion of business plans allows decision makings more correct, supporting the sustainable development of TAP’s business. In an equal way, the identification of savings opportunities, efficiency upgrading, value improvement to clients, etc., must be part of our daily basis. I say a lot of times: “The costs are like the nails: if we don’t cute them, they grow”.
What are your goals and expectation regarding to the function and what do you consider to be critical to achieve it in a satisfactory way?
My expectations are that the Procurement area affirms itself in the organization as a source of creation of value and a partner to the execution of the strategies of each area. Breaking up with any silo that may exist, my goal is that Procurement coordinates the processes of acquisition of a narrow connection with business areas, developing a set of projects that make us all proud.
In short term we’re organizing the house, clarifying the organization and the rules in the operation and giving people the necessary tools to accomplish them in an agile way. At the same time, there’s the goal of revision of costs in key categories, in the sense of reducing the total expense and increasing the delivered value. Having the expectation that this process of “scanning” categories, that we already started but will have a push up in 2018, can contribute for an improvement that will count on TAP and CASK’s results.
These goals are reached with a strong team and I have confidence that together we’ll do more and better.
What do you think will be more useful to TAP of what you bring of the past experiences you already had (PT, REN, Netjets)?
I believe my background, professional experience and knowledge of the sector will add value to the company. We have a lot of challenges ahead, but on the other side we also have the critical mass and the ability to implement them and we cannot take the risk of letting opportunities go by.
Passing by big companies, some of them with similar context to ours, allows me to better understand the operation of some of our processes and to have ideas of how you can do a process of progressive and successful transformation. On the other hand, passing by Netjets made the aviation sector not a surprise for me. I know the challenges of what we buy, the market dynamics, the operational challenges and also the business areas they need. We have big challenges ahead.
What do you expect to change in TAP’s people lives with these changes in Procurement? And in TAP’s clients?
Our goal is for the Procurement to contribute to a culture change in the company. The reinforcement of this area means that the organization is concerned about the optimization of its acquisitions, with the efficiency of its processes, and it’s investing in resources and tools dedicated to work on that concern. Our goal is for everyone to be a part of this project and to be an active part of the leadership and transformation of TAP. We want to create value for the company and we hope that value translates in a better satisfaction of our clients’ needs.