1. Project Management Skills
At the core of procurement, there needs to be a competency in project management. Procurement is a culmination of many different activities that produce a finished product. A procurement professional initiates, plans, executes and monitors the project through to completion. The best people to work in procurement are organised enough to take on this responsibility. Are things being done on time and correctly? This is the mindset.
Project management solutions can help by streamlining operations and providing visibility.
Mistakes happen. Orders are delayed. Inspections fail. Natural disasters happen. To work in procurement, keep your cool and fix the problem quickly. In an industry where risks are actively measured, this is a good skill to have. Disruptions happen, but your business still keeps going. Procurement managers appreciate level-headed employees when things fails to go as planned. Procurement professionals have a demanding role and recruiters look for flexibility as a key skill.
3. Tech savvy
New technologies are developed every day, ones that are valuable to the procurement process. So it is absolutely essential that procurement professionals possess the skills to adapt any new technology into their daily workflow. Having an aptitude for technology is important because it shows you can do anything. So when your company decides to deploy an IT solution, they can count on you to pick it up quickly and use it effectively.
When the Head of Procurement and Supply Chain recruitment at Uniting Ambition was asked to identify the best candidates, he said,
“It’s important to embrace new technology to stay on your toes. The procurement landscape is changing as technology advances and it’s the professionals who keep their finger on the pulse who get ahead.”
4. Change management skills
As companies deploy new IT solutions, the whole department goes through a major change. In addition to training for the new software, you must realise that operations change. Tasks you once did by hand can now be automated. In addition to technology, many companies plan on implementing sustainability or collaboration plans. Be mentally prepared for any change that comes your way.
5. Analytic skills
One of the main challenges for procurement professionals is getting accurate analyses. Working in procurement, it is important to have a basic understanding of storytelling. You should be able to look at any analytics report (workflow, spend, etc.) and draw conclusions. A visual of your your workflow will greatly assist you to identify areas for improvement.
6. Negotiation skills
Maybe you are born with the skill, maybe you are not. Regardless, this is one of the most important skills for procurement professionals. You should always be thinking about getting the best deal possible. Suppliers expect you to negotiate, because they are trying to do the same thing. A good negotiator has good perceptive skills and intuition.
7. Communication skills
It is fair to say that communicating what you want is difficult, especially to someone who speaks a different language and live by a different culture. In procurement, you are in contact with many different people. Poor communication skills can result in incorrect orders. The best communicators are reactive. You may be expressing a thought that is completely clear to you but unclear to the other. As a solution to the barrier, many companies are beginning to implement online communication strategies. This makes connectivity constant and standard; easiest when IT solutions have collaborative features between buyers and suppliers. We have seen companies incredibly improve the accuracy of orders by using this feature.
8. Relationship management skills
Supplier relationship management is a key component of procurement. Companies that have strong relationships with their suppliers reap many benefits from cooperative suppliers to cost savings. So being personable is a start. Suppliers need to trust you to build a good relationship. A one-way-street thinker will never be successful working in procurement.
Category management may separate your company’s procurement duties but studies have shown that poorly integrated departments can fail. This is why a team player will excel in procurement. Accepting that you only have one set of responsibilities without thinking about the well being of the team can keep you flat. A group will work better as a team rather than individuals doing their jobs. Not everyone has the same qualities and offerings to the project but can be equally valuable. Combining everyone’s skills in your procurement department through collaboration and teamwork can be incredibly beneficial.