skip to Main Content


Hottest information about 9th Annual Pharma Strategic Sourcing and Procurement Summit


Executive Director Pharmaceutical Services

Questions For John Wenz

Businesses need to both change and grow to survive in the modern market environment. How procurement supports that change will be the key to its success moving forwards and indeed how it evolves will determine that success. Finding ways to ensure cost effective purchasing whilst building strategic partnerships will be the key as will the ability to ensure our internal clients maintain trust that the procurement team adds value whilst enabling them to drive the business.

How to achieve agile procurement? How to improve process efficiency and keep pace with accelerating change?

The world is moving fast in many areas and procurement is no different. We must find ways to engage with our customers, be selective as to which projects and suppliers we engage with to maximise effectiveness and also in utilising merging technologies to maximise the effectiveness of procurement teams.

Why it is important to invest in new talent and capabilities for the procurement function? How to attract new talent into procurement and retain it?

New technologies and applications will change how we all work and procurement is no different. Bots ordering from bots will become the norm so where do we fit in? Ensuring true value and quality will become as important as savings have been in the past so new staff need to be taught how to operate in this environment as businesses will still need to source goods and services etc.

What will procurement and sourcing look like in 2030?

Virtual and smart working will have become the norm so adapting to using modern technologies will be the key. Better supplier relationship management and ensuring ever tighter specifications will be the key to future success.

John Wenz has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 20 years living and working in local and international roles in Australia, France, India and the UK. He leads several functions in his current role including Procurement/Business Effectiveness, Business Intelligence, Business Solutions, Estates and IT for the EMEA region leading over 70 people. The procurement team consists of seven team members managing spend of £40m. He took over Procurement when it was seen as a blocker in the business and he has completely transformed the way procurement works, coming from the business himself, and the team is now seen as a partner enabling the business under his leadership. He is a keen sports fan and enjoys travelling, recently having visited his 100th country.


Head of Purchasing EU/MIDI
Boehringer Ingelheim

Questions For Marco Van der Heijden

What does it take to proactively define the value of procurement?

Go out there and align with business and industry-market to identify main value propositions of suppliers and competitors. Analyse parameters such as costs, innovation, time-to-market and customer intimacy. Focus on one and align internal processes as well as KPI’s with the business. Compare and evaluate, also against other (more innovative) industries.

What are the best strategies to gain value from the procurement process?

Close business understanding and alignment. Jointly define objectives, both short-term and long-term. Dare to propose bold solutions to open up mind-set of an existing organisation. If objectives are defined, double them – or develop from green-field with the perspective of the industry-leader or other industry as a benchmark.

What will procurement and sourcing look like in 2030?

Operationally no further role, all through systems. Tactically guiding business partners in predefined supply-channels (catalogues, preferred partners, processes and system) with an educational and governing mind-set. Strategically developing and establishing new buying channels, closely with business partners.

Creative leader with entrepreneurial & challenging spirit. Innovative, broad horizon, public/private industry, cross-cultural interest and international experience. Organisationally sensitive and socially skilled. Managerial and operational guts. Values: Respect, Challenge, Courage & Trust.

He is of Dutch nationality, lives in Alkmaar and is married with three sons. He has worked for 25 years in various industries, held international managerial positions in Purchasing, Contracting and Operations. eMBA degree from Nyenrode Business University & NEVI-3 graduate.


Purchasing Head
PolPharma Biologics

Questions For Karolina Topczewska

How to achieve Agile procurement? How to improve process efficiency and keep pace with accelerating change?

Agile Procurement in VUCA world is a must. The time that procurement procedures & routines were constant, made same way for ages are far gone by now. The volatility of market, constant transformations and compaction makes the procurement role different. We are entering the age of turbulence and procurement very often facing sudden and unpredictable market changes like: shortages of raw materials, shortages of production capacities as a consequence of nature disasters or much bigger market demands, “black swans” appearance and other game changers and law changes removing small players from markets. That is why it is important to build new skills, flexible procedures and internal relations that make change and the process quick and without many stages of acceptance. Procurement should also be very close to the business and involved in all processes from the beginning, to be able to serve the purpose and bring all necessary solutions in time.

Why is it important to invest in new talent and capabilities for the procurement function? How to attract new talent into procurement and retain it?

Because of procurement changes, procurement people need to have much more skills to work effectively than before. Negotiation skills and market knowledge are still a must, but what is needed on top of that is flexibility, orientation on change, ability to build relations, partnerships and mentality of a winner not a victim. Procurement people shall not think what cannot be done, but rather what do I have to do and what resources do I need to make things happen. Procurement needs to be able to use market intelligence tools and have high analytical skills, but at the same to build strong interpersonal abilities. The process of contracting is no longer only transactional win-win, but building long-term oriented partnership and innovation hubs serving each other. Procurement shall be an effective connector between internal clients and external partners. Buyers now have to be more strategy-oriented than transactional, having competences and also substantial knowledge to be a good business partners to internal clients. They shall develop not only commercial and legal but also more technical & IT competences and act as a centre of excellence.
To attract and retain new talents strong leadership skills of management are needed and also organisational culture that makes people feel comfortable. Traditional benefit systems are no longer enough because people are more flexible now to change jobs and travel all over the world. People should love what they do and grow in the environment that makes them fly higher. Appreciation, time spent on building internal relations, trust and always honest & constructive feedback build relations that make people feel at home. The values that company respects and mission that makes people believe in what they do, as well as awareness that my job helps the final product to be excellent and wanted are most important.

What will procurement and sourcing look like in 2030?

The procurement in digital world will be different. Procurement will have a more strategic role and different competences. Flexibility, ability to manage change, react immediately and strong responsibility awareness will be needed. Some people will change their profiles and some from engineering, IT and production roles will join New Procurement. In VUCA world only Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity are certain. That is why we have to be able to act as a crystal ball gazer. We have developed strong crisis management skills and ability to act quickly, in an agile way and constantly learn. We need to be smart enough to use Smart Systems and Smart Data and still be opened for start-ups and sometimes risky solutions. We need to be able to combine our constantly developed and trained human intelligence together with the artificial one.

Karolina Topczewska has more than 20 years of professional experience across the pharmaceutical and bio industries, combining in-depth knowledge of sourcing and procurement with management experience in engineering and strategic purchasing functions. Since joining Polpharma as Investment Purchasing Specialist in 1999, Karolina has held roles of increasing responsibility at the organisation, including Category Manager for Polpharma Group and, subsequently, Head of Purchasing, both for Polpharma Pharmaceutical Works and now for Polpharma Biologics SA. She earned her master’s degree in Law from Gdańsk University and MBA from University of Minnesota (Carlson School of Management) and completed her post-graduate studies – European Integration – Aid Funds at Gdańsk University.


Head of Procurement

The world is changing and we are late.

We live in a context where everything is changing fast, where companies are not investing anymore in creating new needs, instead they are just investing in optimising what we have, make more with less.
Furthermore, there is a new reality. Product’s lifetime is increasingly shorter, and this trend is here to stay.
Due to these two facts, companies are continuously changing, making uncertainty the new normality.
That is why transforming from the Waterfall to the Agile process has helped many companies for some years already, to keep selling products and not to perish. This illustration helps to understand what Agile means.

This mindset and a way of working is quite new in the pharmaceutical world and even newer in procurement departments. This journey is challenging for all of us.
If we want to adapt ourselves to this new way of thinking, to be inside this Agile mindset, it is necessary to have strong digitalisation in our departments. Some years ago, we were buying a number of references and we were planning from one year to another. Now, sometimes we do not even know the product or service that we will be buying in the next quarter.
We need this digitalisation to start doing different things. It does not make sense anymore to be thinking in PO’s, invoices, signing contracts or RFP in Excel files. We should understand the market and help our top line to define the business needs. And we have to move away from waiting for the needs towards co-creating them.
But are we prepared? Do we have the right profiles to do it? Are we ready to leave our old job?
I do not think that it is an option – as I said, it is a must. We have to reinvent ourselves and keep doing it because the old procurement does not exist anymore, although we are still the ones that have to provide cash, innovation and technical solutions to our companies.

3 Questions For Anna Trunas Josa

How to achieve Agile procurement? How to improve process efficiency and keep pace with accelerating change?

With training. We need to again study what we know, as ways of working are not valid anymore. The only way to move to these new ways of working and accelerate the change is by being humble, learning and not working in silos. If we do this, we will have to make much fewer steps before we make a decision compared to today.

Why is it important to invest in new talent and capabilities for the procurement function? How to attract new talent into procurement and retain it?

We need to invest in new capabilities because we do not know how to work in this environment, it is completely new for us. We need new capabilities in hard skills like Agile methodology or the new Digital solutions that are coming but also soft skills in order to learn how to work with less hierarchy and with more humbleness.

If we want to attract and retain the talent, important things are the purpose, the project and the visibility that we will offer. As a millennial I can assure you that the logo of the company is not important anymore but if this company is helping a little bit to change the world, my work is exciting and evolving and I have enough visibility to choose my next step – these are the drivers that will make me stay.

What will procurement and sourcing look like in 2030?

I do not think that procurement will exist in 2030, maybe the name but not the function. We will be much more integrated in the business chain compared to today. We will be specialists helping our business areas to be better, faster and cheaper.


Operations Manager
Bayer SA

Questions For Luiz Alberto Barberini

Why is it beneficial for companies to implement Supplier Diversity?

Supplier Diversity Mentoring Programme is a global initiative launched in 2016 in Brazil that aims to strengthen minority businesses by promoting business development and opportunities, leveraging skills, expanding relationships, enhancing business knowledge and market, and stimulating increased competitiveness. It brings new companies to the game, adding more competency and competitiveness to our own business.

What should a company consider before implementing Supplier Diversity?

One must consider working with companies that are truly potential suppliers. A corporate inclusion programme already in place is a nice asset to help in moving forward, since it helps in breaking some pre-concepts and barriers we have.

What will procurement and sourcing look like in 2030?

A ten-year period forecast is temerity. Things are changing very quickly nowadays. But the trend is to have more proactivity among the supply chain and this can be achieved through the usage of reliable compliant consumer-focused suppliers. Companies that joint-develop themselves together with transparency have a higher chance to survive and create value to final users.

MBA, mechanical engineer and Certified Quality Engineer. APICS CPIM and CSCP certified, with three post-graduations, he has worked for almost 30 years in activities related to supply chain, procurement and logistics and he had coordinated the dangerous goods’ transports’ committee at ABIQUIM – Brazilian Chemical Industries Association for a few years.
Ford Motors Co., Rhône-Poulenc, British American Tobacco, Pfizer Laboratories, Takeda Pharmaceutical and Merck Sharp & Dohme are some of the companies he has worked for and contributed to, adding value with his knowledge and experience.
Currently works as Operations Manager for Latin America External Manufacturing Operations, Consumer Health at Bayer Brazil and teaches Negotiation and Demand Management for some major post-graduation schools in São Paulo, Brazil.  He also coordinates these courses at two universities in Brazil and talks about relationship management and supplier inclusion at major events worldwide.


Procurement & Purchasing Section Head
Servier Egypt

Questions For Fady Gindy

What are the specific trends and challenges in procurement strategies in your industry? What is the vision of strategic sourcing and procurement for upcoming year?

In the context of balancing supply and demand, the below points highlight the trends & challenges in procurement for pharma industry:

  • Increasing Regulation and Scrutiny
  • Counterfeit Pharmaceuticals Development
  • Digitalisation & Industry 4.0 Techniques
  • Economic Stability & Uncertainty
  • Drug Pricing Pressure Drives Focus on Operational Efficiency
  • Data Integrity Challenges Across the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

Human communication or artificial intelligence: What is the perfect way of building a good relationship with suppliers?

A well-balanced relationship is very important & balancing between human communication & artificial intelligence is very important. AI and trust management are fully able to positively reinforce each other, in unexpected ways. Pharmaceutical executives are under intense pressure.

Supply chain sustainability: What is the colour of your Supply Chain? Are supplier ecosystems and the power of networks the next big step in procurement?

Of course supplier ecosystems & power of networks is of a huge importance for future steps in Procurement, the image below describes briefly the impact of health suppliers & customers networking.Especially CPOs will move out of the dark corner as cost centre and become real.

Experienced Procurement & Purchasing Section Head with a demonstrated history of working in different industries. Skilled in Supply Chain management, Negotiation, Project Management.
My main role is to Plan, Direct & monitor all procurement & purchasing activities, also developing the annual procurement & purchasing plan to achieve the pre-determined KPIs & Leading the purchasing sector to formulate purchasing plan & strategies.

Back To Top


15th Annual ChemicalPetrochemical Strategic Sourcing Summit
8th Annual Global Strategic Sourcing and Procurement Summit