ANDRÉ BASSON B.Com LL.B. MBL
André Basson has worked in procurement roles since 1981 - in managerial positions since 1985 and in senior management positions since 1992. In 1995 he was appointed as Group Purchasing Manager of the Johannesburg Consolidated Investment Company (JCI), at the time one of the big five mining houses in South Africa, employing some 50 000 people. JCI, inter alia, partly-owned and managed the mines and process plants of the current Anglo Platinum, at the time a division of JCI and the largest platinum producer in the world. JCI also managed gold, coal, ferrochrome and antimony operations. When Anglo Platinum was split from JCI, JCI managed both their own and Anglo Platinum's procurement for a period of time. When it became clear that JCI had fallen into the hands of the Kebbles, Anglo Platinum formed its own procurement function and he was appointed to head this up.
When he joined the JCI Buying Department in 1984, it was a clerical operation, structured for a reactive and unsophisticated approach to procurement. During the ensuing years the management team transformed the function through continuous improvement over twenty years. Noteworthy developments included:
- Tender / contract documentation that was versatile, comprehensive, simple to compile by staff without legal training, easily understood by tenderers, and fair to both sides, while still protecting the rights of the procuring organisations.
- The adoption of a dual approach to procurement that entailed:
- Intensive investigation of the internal clients' needs as well as in-depth market research (products and suppliers) in respect of the high-value and/or strategic goods and services to be acquired. This function was centralised for the seventeen group organisations.
- Fast-tracked, electronically enabled procurement processes for high- and low volume, low value goods and services. This function was partially decentralised (but still under central control) and in some cases also made use of longer-term contracts.
- Implementation of code-based procurement. To this end a comprehensive, generic materials catalogue (Brisch-based), with full keyword search functionality was developed.
- The specification and development of the first computerized contract management system to be used in the Group - a suitable system to manage these processes (now referred to as Contract Life-cycle Management (CLM)) was not commercially available at the time.
- The development of a support system to record and monitor contract inflation (consumption-weighted) for direct comparison with consumer-, production- and other sector-specific inflation rates.
- A task management system to monitor and control departmental performance.
- A comprehensive set of procurement policies applicable to procurement staff members as well as a set focused on employees outside the procurement function. This culminated in the purchasing department becoming ISO-certified.
- The implementation of a very successful multi-disciplinary (procurement-, audit-, security- and legal functions) process to deal with cases of commercial crime or unethical behaviour that involved suppliers.
- JCI was one of the first companies in SA to introduce EDI, enabling the electronic transmission of orders to the Edifact standard. During 2001 (at the time it was Anglo Platinum) he participated in the formation of Quadrem.
- JCI's Group Purchasing Services was the first buying department in South Africa to adopt an external benchmarking service (Pricetrak, later PI) that provided valuable market information to assist with the maintenance of price competitiveness over time.
- He personally supervised the configuration of the purchasing functionality of the MM module of SAP at the time of implementation at Anglo Platinum, to ensure that it met the functional and corporate governance requirements.
- The development of a "distribution centre" for a geographic group of operations.
During 2005/6 he was co-founder of Ess Cubed Procurement. Ess Cubed's mission was to assist large and small organisations with procurement related functions. This ranged from short term tactical interventions, to long terms strategic sourcing initiatives, to the provision of a complete outsourced procurement service. The business was sold to Quadrem in 2008.
From 2011 he focused on procurement consulting work and on the development of the Database of Procurement Professionals™.