We catch up with Vice President of Procurement, Best Buy, Anna Barej, Chief Finance Officer, Matt Bilunas and Director, Procurement Center of Excellence, Shawn Calabrase to see how the electronic retail giant is unlocking real value for the company through a major transformation of its Procurement function…
Procurement occupies a unique position within an enterprise. The actionable insights and value that can be gleaned from lakes of data touching every function of the business are strengthening the CPO’s hand as a true, strategic, business enabler. And with the post pandemic world undergoing such seismic shifts, causing rising prices, a demand for energy and rising inflation circling climate change and geo-political crises, the need for procurement to step up to the plate and meet these challenges head on, has never been greater.
To find out how a Procurement transformation is changing the way Best Buy operates, we were offered some valuable time with Vice President of Procurement, Anna Barej, and Director, Procurement Center of Excellence, Shawn Calabrase. Calabrase is a seven-year veteran at Best Buy while the highly experienced Barej is a recent appointment, charged with spearheading a procurement revolution at the American institution.
The 55-year-old Fortune 100 tech retailer, headquartered in Minnesota, created by Richard M. Schulze, was originally branded as Sound of Music. Adopting the name Best Buy in 1983, the chain has over a thousand stores across the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico and is one of the biggest consumer electronics retailers in the world.
It was 2020 when Best Buy approached Barej, who was then Senior Director Global Sourcing at McDonald’s, with a desire to hire a leader to properly transform its outdated transactional and reactive Procurement function, into a proactive strategic business partner and an enabler of progress outside of cost management. “I was excited to be presented an opportunity to drive such a significant change,” she tells us. “Throughout the interview process, the executive team made it clear that the vision for Procurement was sponsored from the very top. The role was a CPO’s dream come true: CEO and CFO supported functional autonomy to transform the department into a relevant business enabler. I was all in after these early discussions.”
Barej officially joined the company in January 2021 and arrived with a truly diverse background. She brought a new perspective to Best Buy that challenged the traditional role Procurement played within the enterprise. Having gathered experience at multiple Fortune 100 companies, Barej had the benefit of operating under different models, within each, experiencing a range of organizational successes and failures. This background allowed her to leverage her learnings objectively and recommend an approach best suitable for the Best Buy’s culture and the mission she was tasked with evolving…