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PODCAST: How Cimpress Built a Procurement Team that Operates like a Services Business

Guest: Evert Karsen

“We realize that when we negotiate with suppliers, the business is the end customer. We are the function that does the negotiation, but we are not competing with each other. We have different roles. At the end of the process we share the results.”

According to the Cimpress corporate website, “We manage our businesses in a decentralized, autonomous manner so as to ensure we remain close to our customers, focused and entrepreneurial.” Now go back and read that statement again – this time as a member of the procurement team supporting such a collection of businesses.

Evert Karsen is the Vice President of Global Procurement at Cimpress. From his office in Switzerland, he leads a team of procurement professionals that support Cimpress’ multiple autonomous brands, including Vistaprint, Easyflyer, and BuildASign.

They don’t have a mandate to lean on with internal stakeholders, but they don’t have a savings target either. That combination of conditions has made it possible for them to deliver a wide range of value types and build a services-oriented relationship with the business.

In this interview, Evert provides an honest look into his mass customization-driven enterprise:

  • The types of value procurement has to deliver in an environment where working with them is not mandated by the leadership team.
  • What it looks like to manage procurement’s performance when there is no savings target in place.
  • How the flexibility of a guideline (rather than the enforcement of a policy) makes it easier for Cimpress to have relationships with a number of different stakeholder groups.

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