4 Important Skills to Look for When Building a Procurement Team
As Procurement Teams shift from being a tactical function in the accounting department to a strategic function within the supply chain, the skills required of procurement top performers are shifting as well. What skills does it take to drive results in today’s procurement organizations?
Below are 4 competencies that today’s procurement superstars seem to share.
Data Analysis and Synthesis
In the right hands, data is a powerful and valuable tool for decision making; in the wrong hands, data can be meaningless or, if used incorrectly, even damaging to an organization.
Procurement professionals are required to analyze large sets of data including, but not limited to, category market data and internal historical procurement data. From this, they are expected to then act as a strategic advisor, assisting the business in developing category strategies, negotiation plans, and pricing models.
Today’s top procurement professionals can analyze and synthesize large data sets, drawing meaningful conclusions from raw data. Top prospects should have demonstrated experience pulling data from Enterprise Resource Planning (“ERP”) systems and being able to make recommendations based on that data.
Procurement’s role in organizations has evolved, and the role is expected to expand. Procurement professionals’ roles have shifted from that of a transactional resource, processing Purchase Orders only, to that which resembles a hybrid Project Manager, Financial Analyst, Data Engineer, and much more.
Day to day, a strategic purchasing professional’s itinerary isn’t mundane or repetitive. These individuals should be fluid in their role, understanding the importance of being such and thriving on new challenges. An ideal prospect has the ability to switch gears between thinking big picture and being detail oriented to maximize results; often, these need to be working in tandem.
Gone are the days of silo’ed purchasing teams, and here are the days of the extremely visible procurement team built to serve its organization. These teams are now becoming an essential piece of the business’s internal service chain, maintaining close connections with every business unit.
In the pursuit of managing multiple, complex relationships, procurement professionals are becoming skilled relationship managers, building their communication skills and keeping a service mindset at the forefront.
Think of the modern procurement specialist as being not unlike that of a project manager, in charge of multiple impactful projects at one time. Stakeholders often include those in executive roles, contrasted with the Subject Matter Experts close to the product/service being procured.
As procurement organizations shift from tactical to strategic, each sourcing project should be treated like a complex project through the lens of a project manager. Effective Project Managers have the ability to coordinate schedules, lead projects, juggle multiple stakeholders, hold people accountable, and drive long-lasting results.
Whether you’re a procurement professional looking to advance your career, or a manager looking to build your procurement team, we recommend honing in on these skills to achieve the results you’re looking for.