Offering_hand.jpgProcurement has been the largest area of recruitment for the last five years across Supply Chain Management (SCM) recruitment, Chantal Kading, assessment and career consultant with PeopleShop, tells SmartProcurement.

As organisations have moved their focus more to tactical and strategic procurement than operational purchasing, many new procurement departments have been established. The business value of developing a procurement department, from a cost to profit centre, is easily sellable to executives, says Kading.

Consequently, the recession has not hit procurement as hard as a number of clients have newly built procurement or strategic procurement departments and have expanded or bought-in skilled, specialised staff.

However, the little down-sizing that has taken place in procurement has mostly been on the operational side.

“Clients often do not replace people who leave. We have noticed an increasing work load across the supply chain, not just procurement,” says Kading.

Furthermore, there has been a progression from operational purchasing and buying to commodity management and strategic sourcing.

“Commodity Managers have been in big demand in the last 12 months.”

Mature companies are taking this further with increased supplier relationship management and process-, governance- and risk management roles being developed.

“Mining and resources were the early starters, but now across industries there is a move to strategic procurement and a focus on the whole supply chain,” explains Kading.

Conversely, she notes that some organisations have had difficulty in driving the adoption of commodity management which has prevented them and their suppliers from progressing on the supply chain maturity curve.

She adds that the latest international trend in true supplier development and collaboration is the use of methodologies like lean and Six Sigma, where customer service roles are being established in procurement, which has positively affected supplier performance and end user involvement. “This has elevated the visibility of procurement in the whole business”.

Interestingly, the recruitment of BEE Managers has not increased at the same levels, says Kading. Despite it being a buzz in the mid 2000s, she attributes its stagnant recruitment levels to the fact that the broader Supplier Relationship Manager and Contract Manager roles encompass BEE as a key element.

Need and demand for skills currently

South Africa has a good pool of senior procurement resources and SCM leaders, however the biggest gap is at the specialist level, says Kading.

There is a need to move operational buyers into sourcing specialist roles, she says.

“Candidates are not able to move up to the next level owing to a lack of education and key competencies. Specialists need strong interpersonal skills on many internal and external levels of the business to sell concepts and gain buy-in. They must be able to analyze data and solve problems, whilst maintaining ‘big-picture thinking’ and general commercial savvy.”

Meanwhile, Kading notes a further problem fuelled by commodity specialists moving on too quickly into commodity manager roles.

“Some commodity specialists make the jump within their current organisation, but most leave their current organisations with competencies not yet fully developed which reduces the pool of commodity specialists and the quality of commodity managers.”

For more information on the skills demanded in Procurement contact Chantal Kading at People Shop at chantal@peopleshop.co.za.