Vitold Horodecki never imagined a career in procurement. Yet the highly trained economics and finance specialist has become one of the most sought-after experts in the field. Today, he leads the procurement efforts across North America for consulting powerhouse Capgemini—a company that has more than eighteen hundred thousand employees in forty countries worldwide.
“Procurement is a dynamic, evolving, and fast-moving industry,” says Horodecki. “We’re applying procurement in new ways and working closer to the business to help drive strategy and make real changes.” This is exactly why Horodecki has grown to love his unexpected career.
After completing three degree programs at Université Paris–Dauphine, he started his professional life as a financial analyst for GE Healthcare. Afterwards, HP recruited him as a process engineer. In that position, he worked on the development and deployment of a complex in-house financial system. Horodecki continued to build on his successes, which led to several promotions over the next eleven years until he joined Capgemini in 2012 to lead the company’s global travel and meeting program where he restructured the entire program, working with key selected vendors.
In 2014, he became the company’s North American chief procurement officer, where he manages a more than €710 million spending budget for IT, professional services, real estate, and travel in North America. In doing so, he looks to discover new ways to save money that Capgemini can reinvest into growth initiatives.
Procuring Fit Figures
The year Capgemini was founded
Revenue in 2015
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Average client productivity increase
Considering the multinational company’s extensive reach, every decision can have a financial impact. For example, supply chain management costs total more than half of all line items in many corporate budgets. Horodecki often measures whether Capgemini should make or purchase items like tables and desks. “Each choice matters because we are a people company,” he says. “We don’t make and sell products like cars or phones, so every cost is a direct cost. Every dollar we spend or save matters to the bottom line.”
It’s critical for his department to be closely aligned with Capgemini’s strategic objectives and outcomes. Horodecki and his team of twenty-four employees invest time to sit and listen to their business partners. They will then execute on strategy by using a strong, established preferred-supplier base, all while staying nimble enough to “onboard any supplier that fits a very specific, unique need.”
Technology, Horodecki notes, has recently been an ever-present factor in procurement. Horodecki, who has handled IT support and automation efforts for the French embassy in Italy, is a promoter of the digital evolution in his field. “We’re working with new digital vendors in the space to make sure we can support our activities and find new efficiencies as we streamline our processes,” he says.
Big data, analytics, and other factors are keys for success and allowing leaders like Horodecki to drive profits instead of focusing only on costs. Capturing and leveraging data streams lets companies like Capgemini track and monitor deliveries, inventories, budgets, and needs. Horodecki is working with vendors to make this all possible through new digital offerings like the software-as-a-service model, the cloud, and other methods.
The digital transformation has particularly increased Horodecki’s challenges around talent. He needs the right people with the right tech skills to understand what is happening in procurement today—and he’s found himself in the middle of a talent war. To win the battle, he’s working with HR and other internal teams to develop the right job descriptions and compensation packages to attract winning members.
To prospective employees and those interested in procurement, he offers a simple reminder: “Keep an open mind.” Lateral changes often work. Horodecki didn’t start out in procurement, and the environment changes every day.
“Get out of your office and open your eyes. Don’t stay in your comfort zone. Don’t insist on doing things the same old way, and always be learning,” he says. “Any leader in procurement has to understand markets and categories because each one is specific. You can’t apply one standard principle and expect it to work everywhere.”