Procurement outsourcers buyingTeam become Proxima

The buyingTeam, procurement outsourced service providers, have emerged, like a beautiful butterfly from a chrysalis, as Proxima. (Well, to be strictly accurate, they will on February 20th).

I’m normally pretty unimpressed by name changes, but I do rather like Proxima, and buyingTeam – apart from the annoying capitalisation – sounded a bit transactional for an organisation that has become much more strategic in its work over the years. Proxima is meant to conjure up words like “proximity” and “intimacy”, which fits their model of customer engagement well, although it does sound a little like an up-market dating agency.

I remember the early days, when the Buying Team (as they then were) operated as a pretty operational cost-reduction, share of savings type firm. But over the years they have successfully evolved into one the Europe’s leading procurement outsourcers, with a model based on customer intimacy and deep category expertise. They’re keen to emphasise the more strategic role of procurement and of their own work (quite understandably): as their website explains it,

“Taking the procurement function beyond the traditional remit of cost savings to sit at the heart of an organisation’s decision-making process, Proxima works with clients to enable change, enhance management control and visibility of costs, and transform buying behaviour. The results of this approach are sustained, long-term improvements to profitability and shareholder value for its clients”.

Tom Lawrence, one of their founders and directors confirmed that when I spoke to him yesterday; this wasn't about a major change in direction or strategy, but "the name didn't represent what we had become" he said.

And "we consulted with clients who were very positive about a change - some of them really didn't like "buyingTeam" very much at all!" That's back to those "tactical" connotations I believe.

Peugeot Proxima, 1986

Anyway, Proxima (as we'll now have to get used to saying) talk about the big developments for 2012 being further expansion into the US market, with large assignments already underway and more to come.

Of course, as you'll all know, the Peugeot Proxima was a concept supercar from 1986. It never went into production, but was rather lovely as you can see. I'm sure the new firm will be just as attractive - and rather longer-lasting!

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