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Head of Operational Procurement

Posted: 15 Sep 2021 Closes: 29 Sep 2021
Heathrow Competitive
Permanent & Full-time heathrow/20210915165001

This is your chance to join an organisation that matters to millions. Heathrow is a city within a city – interesting and ever changing. As critical national infrastructure, we’re playing our part in keeping the economy moving by helping to facilitate travel and trade. 

Joining us now means becoming a key part of our recovery, bringing challenges and exciting opportunities as you grow your career. In 2020, we went from welcoming 80 million passengers each year and flying to over 180 destinations, to focusing on helping to facilitate the transportation of vital supplies – like medicines – and repatriation flights for the UK. As we move into 2021, we have a strong plan in place to accelerate our recovery and build back better. 

We’ve not lost our focus on innovation throughout the pandemic, introducing contactless passenger journeys and UV robots to keep our airport clean and safe for colleagues and passengers.  Our values remain strong.  Our plans to decarbonise aviation and reach net-zero by 2050, and our continuous efforts to be a diverse and inclusive working environment, are at the heart of our organisation.  

The Operations Procurement Team forms one of the four pillars of the Procurement Team which sits in the Solution Organization and, working alongside the Cyber and Technology, Infrastructure, Portfolio and Supplier Management and the business to deliver agile procurement strategies to achieve Heathrow’s ambitious goals for colleagues, passengers, airlines, and the community.
The purpose of this role is to develop and deliver the Procurement strategy for all operational departments within Heathrow. This is a leadership role that enables delivery of measurable efficiencies and business value in a complex business scenario. The role will lead the team to ensure value is deliver through the procurement process including strategic sourcing, procurement execution and contract management. This role will significantly contribute to the strategic value delivery over a wide range of third-party expenditure currently c£700m p.a. This role will be accountable for the selection of Team Heathrow (3rd party suppliers) who will affect every part of the Heathrow business (from providing colleague HR systems, to end to end baggage services) and therefore has the ability to impact all KPI’s, and ASQ scores for Heathrow. The goods and services classified under the umbrella of operational spend are commonly bought for consumption by internal stakeholders (business units or functions) rather than the external customer or client.  

Operational Procurement categories include, but are not limited to, the below category groups:  

  • Engineering & baggage
  • Security
  • Utilities
  • Statuary and Regulatory Services
  • Passenger Experience & Airport Services
  • Surface access and fleet

Your role will involve:

  • Oversee and manage development and delivery of the procurement for Heathrow’s Operational business units. Create strategic procurement plans across the relevant categories for the delivery of financial and non-financial value improvements through the management of end to end third party costs.
  • Lead development of new innovative category and sourcing strategies which will be presented to relevant senior stakeholders, using creative commercial models, market leading technology and trends that will drive competitive edge for the business.
  • Collaborate and develop close relationships with the relevant senior business stakeholders with agreed governance. Proactively engage with the business areas to help develop their business strategy through procurement insights. Constructively challenge business plans to ensure robustness of approach that maximises commercial opportunity and mitigates risk for each area.
  • Being the lead for category management for the organisation with responsibility for delivering an enabling service, validated externally through peer assessment and service review as performing excellently. Satisfaction among the key internal stakeholders and suppliers should demonstrate continuous improvement and developing market / supplier expertise in the scope of responsibilities. 
  •  Work closely with the Infrastructure procurement teams to ensure appropriate collaboration and best practice sharing while ensuring synergy in operation for cross collaboration on common categories and identifying opportunities for asset lifecycle procurement (Design, Build, Maintain, Operate).
  • Engage regularly with the external market for bring knowledge and best practice back to Heathrow e.g. new commercial models, market shifts, new product offerings, innovation and trends; along with initiatives to enable the procurement function to operate more effectively.  
  • Establish and maintain collaborative and forward thinking relationships with key supplier partners. Carry out all necessary agreed processes for supplier management, claims management, benefits and savings and continuous improvement targets whilst meeting all contract, regulatory, risk-reward and exit strategy requirements. Work with the Head of Supplier Management to influence the overall Procurement Supplier landscape and provide supplier intelligence where required.
  • Work with the Head of Procurement Portfolio to define the most appropriate resource allocation, based upon skills, workloads, potential savings and stakeholders and prioritise and allocate new opportunity areas as appropriate.
  • Maintaining accurate and timely management and performance information to enable organisation wide assessment of procurement performance, for this area, and direct responsibility for decisions affecting areas of spend under their responsibility. This will include assessing and resolving issues, making risk based decisions and upholding excellent standards of governance, including awareness of and adherence to applicable regulatory obligations.  
  • Lead, inspire and motivate the Operational Procurement team, enabling flexible resourcing through the Procurement resource group, developing talent and managing performance through coaching, guidance and regular reviews and continually assess the capabilities of the team, celebrating and rewarding success as necessary. 

These skills are essential:

  • Extensive experience in supply chain management. Proven experience in procurement and commercial management at a senior level
  • Established track record in driving high value business performance through developing innovative supplier relationship strategies and partnerships at Director level.  Excellent communication and negotiation skills to senior/advance level. 
  • Excellent strategic sourcing skills – proficient in all aspects of the ‘Strategic Sourcing Cycle’ 
  • An eye for and appreciation of the importance of good data and data driven decisions.
  • Extensive experience of Contracts and legal awareness of contract risks & experience of drafting complex and bespoke contract terms and commercial principles including supplies, services and framework agreements.
  • Broad understanding of how the wider Business operates and its high level strategies in order to influence them in order to align with and create leading edge market strategies for the short / long term  
  • Good commercial awareness and ‘hunger’ for best value along with excellent negotiation skills 
  • Ability to Influence and engage within a Multi-Discipline Team and the ability to Influence and engage with suppliers at Director/Senior Level 
  • Accomplished leader with proven people and functional leadership skills. Expert in best practice benchmarking and being a role model for the performance of the function as well as the wider Procurement function. 
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with the ‘presence’ to be a role model for your team and the wider Procurement function 


Our rewards:

As well as competitive salaries, we are committed to providing a whole host of great benefits that make this an even more rewarding place to work. They include an excellent pension scheme and a share in our success scheme. Not only that, when you get here, we will nurture your skills and do all we can to help you reach your full potential.
A career with us also means being part of an organisation that cares about the community. Our plan is to meet growing passenger demand in a sustainable way that creates a positive impact on our community – and the environment. That is why, by 2030, we want at least half of all journeys to the airport to be made by public and sustainable transport.
Join us, and you will have everything you need to succeed and explore the countless career destinations that are available here.
As an equal opportunities employer, we encourage applications from a diverse range of individuals. We believe that diverse talent makes us stronger – not least because we welcome passengers from all corners of the globe, every single day. We believe that, by bringing together a range of people each with their unique perspectives and experiences, that we will generate the most innovative ideas.

Equality, diversity and inclusion sits at the heart of how Heathrow is seeking to work where our Disability, Gender, LGBT+ and Race workstreams actively raise and embed awareness and best practice across our organisation.

A diverse and skilled workforce is essential to our current and future success and we’d welcome all applicants for this opportunity. At Heathrow we are an accessible place to work, driven by inclusivity and celebrating individuality. For more information, please visit our diversity & inclusion page.


Our plans are ambitious ones. And our people equally so. That’s why we recognise and value the contribution that everyone makes. In return we offer great benefits. These include our employee assistance programme, pension, healthcare and travel offers, plus a wide range of development opportunities to take your career further.

If you would like help and advice about applying for this role please visit the Career Hive

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If you would like help and advice about applying for this role please visit the Career Hive