The world of procurement is changing, and there are new expectations placed on buyers from senior management to excel in an ever-increasing competitive environment. We’ve listed four skills that will help you get into and rise to the top of your profession to help you get ahead.
First and foremost, procurement professionals need to be good negotiators. They need to be able to influence and inspire stakeholders and suppliers to reach a middle ground that is acceptable for both parties.
Successful negotiation can reduce expenditure whilst also increasing purchasing power. The best buyers can negotiate better rates whilst maintaining quality and service despite the difficulties.
Luckily, the ability to negotiate successfully isn’t innate. There are techniques and processes you can learn in order to become better at negotiation.
Anybody who wants to be successful in the procurement world needs strong analytical skills.
In order to negotiate successfully, you need facts. Procurement professionals need the ability to dissect, visualise and articulate complex problems to come away with facts to negotiate with.
Analytic skills aren’t just useful for generating data to negotiate with – they’re also essential for identifying areas that need improvement. Buyers need to be able to look at any analytic report and recognise areas for savings and service improvements. Managers must evaluate the effectiveness of their supply chain and make adjustments where necessary. Data analysis also comes into play when it comes to selecting new suppliers and vendors to make the most cost-effective decisions.
In order to be savvy negotiators, procurement professionals need to be able to communicate with people from different backgrounds and at all levels. Communication skills are crucial for avoiding errors that cost time as well as money.
The Oxford College of Procurement and Supply have an excellent article explaining why communication is key to supply chain success.
If people from different points of the process are able give ideas for improvements based on firsthand experience, it stands to reason that this will made for a much better managed process. If communication is limited, so is the ability of the procurement department to influence the end to end procurement process. – OCPS
Procurement professionals need to be able to express themselves clearly across a range of mediums, particularly in writing and conversation.
Building and developing supplier relationships is essential for supply chain success.
Forming strong relationships with suppliers gives purchase professionals a host of benefits . These can include innovation, better risk management, sustainable savings and better quality products.
As well as succeeding in SRM, buyers need to be able to have strong working relationships with their colleagues and key stakeholders. People that excel in procurement are often team players and are personable.
What do you think are essential procurement skills? Let us know in the comments section below.