Name With The Face: Rob Patton, Purchasing Group Manager, Proctor & Gamble

Article ImageName With The Face: Rob Patton
Job Title: Purchasing Group Manager
Organization: Procter & Gamble

Job Function:
Rob Patton, who has spent an entire career in the purchasing organization at Procter & Gamble, recently focused his vast knowledge on evaluating, testing and launching what P&G calls "eTools" to support the 1,000-person worldwide group of purchasing professionals. As part of the Corporate Purchasing Innovation Group at the P&G Corporate Headquarters, Patton is one of a handful of people who work extensively with the user community, P&G IT people, and information vendors to create eTools that help facilitate strategic sourcing, supplier sourcing, and supplier relationship management.

"Information in general and external information in particular is the lifeblood of strategic sourcing work," Patton says. "We're a globally diverse group, and we're in dynamic marketplaces." The purchasing organization gets involved in the procurement of all the various goods and services used in the manufacture of P&G products such as Tide, Pringles, Folgers, Charmin, and Crest. "News and information helps us to monitor factors that affect supply and demand, pricing, what our competitors are doing, and overall availability of goods and services," Patton says. The team develops eTools to help manage the sheer volume of information. "It's essential to allow our people to pinpoint what they are interested in," he adds. "We deliver to buyer desktops on a timely basis with targeted access."

In A Day's Work:
Patton spends a great deal of his time working directly with users in the purchasing group. "I support the existing tools that we've already deployed such as LexisNexis, and I work with users to create additional search topics," Patton says. But he also draws on his knowledge of the purchasing function and interactions with the user community to identify needs that are not being met today. "We work with eTool suppliers to identify what's available and what might be useful to us in the future and we also do external benchmarking with other organizations."

View From The Desk:
"The innovation group is in an open office arrangement within the purchasing department. But most often I'm visiting people in other offices."

Outside Interest:
"I'm an avid youth soccer referee."

If Not Econtent, Then What?:
"On a boat, on a beach, or in the woods."