5 minutes with… Richard Evans, Executive Commercial Director at NHS Supply Chain

29th May 2024
Richard Guest
Associate Partner & Head of Practice

In our latest ‘5 minutes with’ Richard Guest, Associate Partner and Head of our Procurement and Supply Chain Practice, spoke with Richard Evans in his new role as Executive Commercial Director at NHS Supply Chain.  Richard joined the organisation earlier this year after a wonderful career spanning the private sector and the consulting world. Richard is first and foremost a people person and is passionate about leading, managing and developing teams. He talked positively about his first couple of months in his new role and the exciting opportunity to join him on the journey, leading one of the largest category teams.

Tell me a little bit about your career to date.

I joined IBM on a graduate scheme in 1999 initially in programming as a way in. I quickly moved into finance for 12 months before ultimately finding my home in procurement in 2001. I worked across multiple different clients, gaining experience of a number of different category areas, in what was a customer-centric approach to procurement. This was followed by a role with VocaLink, now part of Mastercard, leading procurement for the creation of Faster Payments and a broad commercial role (Finance & Procurement) at Asda before joining a newly created and centralised procurement team at William Hill. This was a fantastic role, with dual reporting lines into the Head of Procurement and also into the CIO as part of the senior IT leadership team. Whilst at William Hill I was taken into a special commercial projects role looking at sports rights, regulatory compliance, omnichannel development etc. Keen to broaden my experience I joined Proxima in early 2017 at a time when they were transitioning from an outsourced provider into a consultancy firm. I spent just shy of 7 years with Proxima, gaining wonderful experience across the public and private sectors running large teams on engagement end address spend up to £1BN+.

Is there a role in your career which has been pivotal to your success?

Whilst at Proxima the largest and most challenging programme I worked on was a £1.5bn project for Sellafield which involved an end-to-end analysis and redesign of the supply chain for the development of a nuclear storage solution. This pushed me way out of my comfort zone on several fronts.

Firstly, the size and scale of the project was significant, but it was also within an area that I knew very little about. This reinforced my approach and belief that core procurement skills are fully transferable, from sector to sector and category to category and I’m a passionate advocate of encouraging people to broaden their experience to benefit their long-term career aspirations.

What is the best piece of advice that you have received? How has it shaped you both as a leader and as a person?

I’ve benefited from some great training and in particular a fantastic manager whilst in my degree placement role at IBM; they really highlighted the critical importance of people management and leadership skills, which motivated me to move into a managerial capacity and still to this day reflect fondly on those softer skills that were imparted on me during the formative days of my career.

It’s these softer, people-focused skills that can make a huge difference both as a leader but also as a procurement practitioner. So much of the role of a procurement professional is about relationships – by forging better more productive relationships with suppliers, being a more authentic people manager and getting to really understand the needs of the key stakeholders.

You joined NHS Supply Chain after a successful career in the private sector, what attracted you to NHS Supply Chain in particular?

Purpose. While all organisations have a purpose or mission statement, you cannot get a more purposeful cause than the NHS, tasked with improving and looking after the health of the nation. I’ve worked directly or indirectly through my time in consultancy, with some sizeable organisations each with very clear values, but nothing compares to the uniqueness of the NHS and everything it stands for. Personally, this was really important for me as an opportunity to utilise my commercial skills to drive a value-based procurement approach, producing better patient outcomes and clinical pathways.

Tell me a little bit about the exciting opportunity you currently have in your team.

The role of Medical & Surgical Consumables Director is a large and critical category area in the Commercial Directorate and my senior leadership team. The role takes responsibility for a diverse and technical category area controlling a spend in excess of £1bn and a team of over 100 individuals, it is a category with broad application and engagement across both NHS Supply Chain and the NHS as a whole.

Whilst prior experience of buying medical consumables would be helpful, it is far from essential. We are looking to attract an experienced and capable procurement leader to engage the colleagues and drive the category strategy within this specific area, as well as helping shape and deliver the future procurement strategy across the Directorate.

For more information on this position, including access to the full job description for the Medical & Surgical Consumables Procurement Director please contact Richard Guest. Richard is an Associate Partner and Head of or Procurement & Supply Chain Practice.

Categories: Procurement & Supply Chain