Jose Manuel Pariente
is a man on a mission.He began slashing costs and streamlining procurement after he joined White & Case in April following many years of sourcing management at companies ranging from Barnes & Noble to Exel.Before Pariente, the firm had "more or less handled vendor relationships and negotiation in silos, by department, like most law firms," says Richard McKenna, chief administrative officer of New York-based White & Case.
...Still, when Pariente arrived as the firm's first head of global procurement, the opportunities he found for cost savings at White & Case "astonished" him.
The firm spends more than $200 million a year on purchasing goods and services.And he
could pare at least $20 million annually from that amount within the first year or two.
"It's not difficult to understand how they got to where they were," says Pariente
, 47."But what's intriguing is making them realize that every dollar they save in procurement and sourcing goes straight to the bottom line." White & Case's new emphasis on strategic sourcing (Pariente left the firm in October for personal reasons) is being replicated at a growing number of major law firms around the world, says Chris Petrini-Poli, vice president and co-leader of the sourcing practice for industry consultants Hildebrandt International.
years of experience, identifying opportunities for cost savings in procurement was relatively easy for Pariente
.More difficult was getting cooperation from the firm's worldwide office and departmental managers.As he
traveled to most of White & Case's
35 offices in 23 countries to explain his
savings plan, Pariente
soon developed a pattern.
ISSUES AND PRESSURES
"I start out by asking them what are the issues and pressures that they're experiencing on the spend side," he
said last fall as he
was gearing up at White & Case
...White & Case offices in Europe worked with as many as four different travel agencies before Pariente consolidated all of their business with Reed & Mackay Travel Ltd., a major London-based provider.
This took a bit of negotiating, of course."What we do is engage global providers so that we have a global relationship, which in turn drives regional relationships, and those drive local relationships," says Pariente
Once everyone at White & Case
was on board with the objective, Pariente
planned to work with the firm's IT department to measure the effectiveness of software that analyzes spending patterns and helps centralize management of vendor contracts.