Head of Procurement & Supply Chain
With an aptitude for problem-solving and streamlining projects through collaborative working, Matthew Board brings 25 years of procurement and supply chain expertise to Mace’s consultancy business. Since joining us in 2020, his agile and dynamic approach to strategic procurement has defined new standards for strategy creation, project delivery and supply chain engagement.
- How did you get into what you do?
I started out in the industry by doing a four-year technical apprenticeship in manufacturing, with my closing paper covering communication and the breaking down of silos between teams. I’d observed that the path between inception and delivery of a project could be streamlined through better communication and that if teams spent even just fifteen extra minutes understanding why different parties needed things done in a certain way, the whole process became more efficient.
After that realisation, the main thing that appealed to me about procurement was the ability to influence the outcome of a project from engaging early in the process. This, combined with communicating as a collective, delivers the best results for clients.
My career path has been varied and took me from manufacturing into construction - specifically the rail industry. After that, I took on the challenge of working in the Middle East for a decade on major masterplan and infrastructure projects, before working in the US for a period. So I've had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of complex and challenging projects across the world, which allows me to bring a truly unique approach to delivering on our clients’ requirements.
- What do you enjoy most about your current role at Mace?
I love setting a challenge and feeling supported to achieve those goals. Procurement and supply chain as a service offering was small when I joined, with many of our senior professionals working full-time on major projects. So, the challenge was to develop a full-service offering and to grow the team and its dynamic, to be agile and support our clients’ varied needs across all sectors. It's given me a great sense of pride in leading on the development of something that complements the best practice that already existed and turning this into a true value proposition for our clients.
- How do you redefine the boundaries of ambition?
It’s about challenging the norm so that we can do things in a better way. In procurement and supply chain, there are a lot of opportunities to define a strategy for success from the outset. The strategies we create set the goals, targets and delivery mechanisms which are fundamental to realising our clients’ ambitions. This realisation and practical application of world-changing projects allows us to be enabler for change across the industry.
- What has been your proudest achievement at Mace so far?
I’m proud of the team we've built. The team has gone through significant growth in my time here and is continuing to expand. Our team has also been recognised by both our clients and across Mace for the value they’re adding - from strategy solutions and client stakeholder management to knowledge of public regulations and driving active delivery procurement. That acknowledgement is incredibly rewarding.
- Why Mace?
What appealed to me was being granted the autonomy to grow our service offer and really contribute to developing an industry-altering procurement service. From the outset, Mace’s priorities to deliver distinctive value and grow together really resonated with me. So joining somewhere where I had the opportunity to make an impact, both on the business and my colleagues, was key to my decision to get involved.
- What skills do you need to be good at your job?
Communication and stakeholder management are the two qualities that I would say any successful leader needs to have. You’ll also need a logical and common-sense approach, with the ability to break a problem down into its component parts and apply fresh thinking to find a solution.
Attention to detail is critical too, as the nature of the work we do is very organised and precise. Personality-wise, enthusiasm, integrity and determination are qualities that will help you in any career.
- What advice would you give to someone looking to get into what you do?
There are so many varied routes into this industry, as my experience reflects. However, I would recommend studying with CIPS (Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply), which is a fantastic grounding in professional purchasing and supply chain management, and a benchmark that many employers would expect.
I’d also say that absorbing information from professionals around you is very important at the early career stage. Getting involved and learning the core skills needed to do the basics brilliantly is vital to starting off in the procurement and supply chain industry. Keep an open mind and make the most of opportunities to get involved in projects across a range of sectors. Be a sponge - never stop learning and improving your skillset and toolkit – this has been key to my development. This is something employers value highly and will help turbocharge your career.
- What are some of the key challenges facing procurement at the moment?
There’s a lot of geopolitical disruption right now (from Brexit, COVID-19 and world events), all of which have an impact on the supply chain. One of the main things we advise our clients on is helping their supply chains grow and being capable of the demands that might be put on them.
Important targets around net zero carbon and modern slavery also add a layer of complexity that professionals need to keep front of mind. The best way we can respond is to engage early and undertake considered and structured planning, with a future-focus. Being agile and dynamic, establishing a communication flow and sharing your plans with the supply chain as early as possible is crucial. Good planning is the foundation of successful procurement.
- What are you passionate about outside of work?
I’m passionate about sport and I enjoyed playing football and now golf. Growing up in Birmingham, I'm also a massive Birmingham City FC supporter. I also have a passion for live events, but specifically live music and attending festivals. I’ve been fortunate that my passions have tied into the work I’ve done on past projects within the sports and music industries.
“From the outset, Mace’s priorities to deliver distinctive value and grow together really resonated with me. Joining somewhere where I had the opportunity to make an impact, both on the business and my colleagues, was key to my decision to get involved.”