Putting the needs the company’s engineers first is at the heart of procurement at McLaren, its top buyer has said.

Jamie Foster, group procurement director at McLaren Group, said personal relationships with stakeholders was key to his role in supporting and enabling the business.

Speaking at the eWorld Procurement conference in London, Foster said: “Everyone talks about communication, stakeholder engagement, all these other great buzzwords. What it really means is do you get along with that person or don’t you? If they are walking down the corridor, do you pretend to look at your phone or are you going to engage with them?”

Foster works across McLaren’s divisions, including its Formula 1 racing team, its sportscar department and the futuristic Applied Technologies division. He described Applied Technologies as like “a room of mad scientists”. “It’s mindblowing what these guys are doing,” he said.

Each one of these divisions has its unique priorities, and none of them are about making cost savings, said Foster. For the F1 team the priority is singularly about how fast their race car goes, with automotive it was about high quality and for Applied Technology the need is about staying ahead of the market. “Look at your internal stakeholders – if you had to prioritise their top one thing, what is the one thing that’s driving them and are you aligned to it?” said Foster.

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