Ashley joined YPO nine years ago and is a Category Manager for ICT Innovation in the Procurement Services team.
Name: Ash Cartwright
Position: Category Manager – ICT Innovation
How long have you been working at YPO? Nine years
What do you like most about working at YPO?
I love the responsibility of helping our customers in the public sector get the best results with their limited or restricted budgets. There are so many financial pitfalls to avoid and it’s great knowing that my help and advice really makes a difference.
What are your main responsibilities?
I head up our ICT innovation category, and it’s my responsibility to look at how innovative technology solutions can make life easier for the public sector and to deliver these services in a simple to use procurement contract. The areas I’m looking at currently are immersive technologies such as virtual, augmented and mixed reality into the education, health and social care sectors.
These new innovative techniques have been coined as the fourth industrial revolution and will transform daily living, whilst also proving welcomed respite to people requiring it the most. I’m also researching the area of A.I and the role of virtual workers who can carry out simple tasks through machine learning, alleviating pressures on staff and allowing for a higher performing team. Finally, I’ve been the project lead on the creation of ‘PIP’ (procurement information pipeline) who is the first procurement chat bot into the public sector. PIP is available 24/7 and 365 days a year to help with your procurement needs.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part of my job is keeping up with the fast-paced world of ICT and looking at more simplified and fluid ways for our customers to procure their services. Carrying out a tender process in a standard format simply won’t work in ICT. By the time you’ve scoped and written the paperwork it will be out of date! I’m currently developing various portals and an easy to use online marketplace to hopefully resolve this issue.
Describe your role in three words:
Futureproofing, dynamic, transformational
How did you get involved in procurement?
I finished university and worked on a temporary contract in the purchasing office at steel manufacturer in Sheffield. I realised pretty quickly that the steel works industry wasn’t for me but being a traditional tight-fisted Yorkshireman, I really enjoyed purchasing and getting best value for money. I then moved on to working in retail buying and never looked back since.
Tell us about your procurement experience?
I have worked in procurement for over 14 years split between five years in the private sector working as a retail buyer, and nine years in the public sector working in various roles. I initially started at YPO as a contracts officer with the responsibility of researching and evaluating public sector tender submissions. I also achieved MCIPS during this period of time.
A great opportunity then became available to head up our national curriculum offering as a buyer. It was a huge challenge after the full transformation of then national curriculum in 2014, with whole new topics presented ranging from computing to the stone age and evolution; allowing no time for suppliers to react. I loved the opportunity to make a difference and worked strategically with key providers to offer brand new exciting teaching products and services, raising YPO’s range to be industry leaders achieving educational supplier of the year two years in a row. I recently became category manager for ICT innovation and I am looking forward to all the challenges which are ahead!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I am a keen musician and love to play the piano or guitar in my spare time, unfortunately I can’t sing. A statement my neighbours can also confirm! I am a huge fan of 80’s movies, very strong coffee and gadgets!