Rachel Dolan

Rachel Dolan

Head of Procurement at Permanent TSB

Permanent TSB
Rachel Dolan, Head of Procurement at Permanent TSB, outlines the Irish bank’s community-led approach and its enablement of strategic supplier management

Over the years, Dolan has completed a diverse portfolio of work experience across retail banking operations, service-and-product development, plus organisational transformation and change. She has been praised for her change-management skills and strategic approach to process improvement during her roles in operations, and is well versed in providing the necessary solutions to her teams. 

Because PTSB is a traditional, full-service retail bank that believes in customer focus, it continues to operate a bricks-and-mortar business model. 

With 80 branches around Ireland, the bank has leveraged this unique position during a time when many other banks have exited the country. 

Dolan explains: “We have 80 branches around the country, and this is due to grow. We serve traditional retail banking needs, current accounts, credit cards, mortgages, and also have an appetite for supporting small businesses in our community.

“Our ethos is community-based and traditional in nature, and we're very much customer focused.”

While the bank is responsible for a network of branches, it is also addressing the changes necessary to meet the needs of businesses. Its community-focused approach allows it to achieve both, which is something Dolan sees as an advantage as it leads the way in retail banking. 


Supplier management leads to procurement success

She says: “Leadership teams and stakeholders are now recognising the value-add of procurement. As a result, we are seeing procurement increasingly involved in the key strategic initiatives of the business; the function is no longer perceived as purely administrative and process-oriented”.

Dolan explains that procurement has “got a seat at the table” by showcasing its contribution to the business: “To get board-level buy-in, you must go beyond delivering against targets, instead communicating your story and wider purpose within the business. In our case, it was through a cost optimisation journey that laid the foundations for a cost-conscious culture in our organisation.” 

“We have overhauled our approach to procurement in recent years: organisational redesign, roles, procure-to-pay systems, and tools – which led us to Efficio. 

“Since May 2020, we’ve run a cost optimisation programme targeting cost savings of £10mn over three years. We achieved that in less than 18 months, so it has been a real success story. So much so that we are moving into the second phase of our relationship with Efficio in a hybrid-managed service 

Dolan says that a good example of this is sustainability and carbon reporting.

“Scope 3 emissions are a big challenge, but you have to take it step-by-step,” she says. “What do we think about our fleet? What do we think about things such as our canteen? How do we make buying decisions? These questions extend right down to the circular economy. Do we really need that? Does our organisation need new phones or laptops?”

Such decisions are central to Dolan's role as procurement lead, meaning she is well placed to manage supply chain emissions and waste, as well as sense-checking decisions the firm makes before it purchases goods and services.

“That particular challenge is something we're trying to weave into the culture and into the psyche of the organisation,” she says. “We’re getting people to think about that when they’re making buying decisions.”


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