Javier Baranda, Group Chief Procurement Officer at Comdata, specialises in operational efficiencies identifying and leveraging synergies in the supply chain and transforming strategic vision into bottom-line results.
Holding over 20 years of professional development at Telefónica, Baranda has lead transformation projects and process implementations in Brazil, Germany, China and the UK. He has held a wide range of responsibilities within procurement throughout his career, including organisational and digital transformation, planning and strategic sourcing, system and process implementations, and contract management and compliance. Regardless of the project, Baranda always remains tightly focused on operational excellence, value generation and maximising outcomes.
Baranda started his career back in 1996 at Telefonica. After university, he was moved into a new procurement project Telefonica had launched. “At the time, the project presented a significant shift in the way Telefonica was approaching procurement and allowed me to start my career as a category manager, leading categories that were more in the parameter of technology.
“A few years later, I moved into a challenging role in Asia and China, as part of a small team that took the responsibility to open an office up, to explore the opportunities that the market represented for Telefonica in terms of business development but also regarding cost efficiencies and new suppliers. That was an amazing experience both personally and professionally, and gave me more of a grasp on international labour and culture differences in terms of working relationships.”
“Four years later, I returned to Spain to take the lead on new functions related to strategic alliances and procurement where we built a network of strategic partners, where we could exploit synergies, aggregate demand and share best practices. I was then able to see procurement from a different angle, one where we could align our requirements and leverage our combined volume of spend to present a more attractive proposition to our vendors.
“And then, in 2013, I moved to the UK. The idea was to support the UK business to get more into the Telefonica culture and mindsets in procurement. I had the opportunity to lead a big team of more than fifty people at that time. I was heading all the procurement activity of one of the largest business units of Telefonica. That was an immense challenge to me but an amazing experience with a great team from which I think I learned a lot about leadership and the human part of leadership.
“After that project, I felt that I needed other challenges. I was keen to have my own transformation journey, a project which would allow me to utilise all of my learnings after twenty years in procurement. At that point, I was pretty confident that I had mastered all the aspects of procurement, from category management to operations to strategic alliances, as well as the operational running of a big procurement organisation with a massive volume of spend, and I was ready to take on that challenge.
“So I left Telefonica, and I found an opportunity at Comdata. It wasn’t the sector that I had in mind initially, but it was appealing because Comdata wanted to explore how they could better leverage the relationship with suppliers. BPO customer services is a sector that has significant challenges in terms of cost-efficiency. Our margins are not typically high, which means cost efficiencies are paramount for the sustainability of the business. And I liked the approach. I liked the challenge. I liked the CEO’s vision regarding the transformation he wanted to achieve, and am enjoying the opportunity to embark on my own transformation journey.”
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