Author: Brendan Turner
There are a number of key attributes that distinguish the average procurement professional from the real superstars. More than ever before, hiring managers are seeking candidates that have the “soft skills” to navigate increasingly complex and challenging environments.
Here are my five top attributes that are vital for anyone developing their career in procurement.
1. The ability to innovate
In today’s hyper-competitive global marketplace, there’s a pressing need for procurement professionals to consistently remain ahead of the growth curve. You must be able to promote a continuous improvement feedback loop with suppliers and internal stakeholders to create value and improve performance. Cost is a primary driver for a majority of procurement functions, so communicating innovation in the dollar terms is required for it to be successful internally while recognising that key senior business stakeholders are the most critical in the decision making process for innovation.
2. A serial strategist
We often hear the term “strategic” being used by procurement candidates, but many people still seem to take a “tick the box” process compliance approach to procurement. Having a strategy in place rather than racing headlong into a sourcing project is an important part of the job. It requires being able to develop understanding of cost and value driver opportunities across the supply chain, and facilitating cross-functional groups to develop innovative and effective category strategies that factor in risk to the business.
3. A major influencer
Procurement in many ways is a sales job. The ability to influence internal stakeholders and “sell” value is the key to success above and beyond technical procurement knowledge. This means challenging key stakeholders to gain support and drive strategic initiatives, embed cross-functional collaboration and engagement, and drive functional change management to enable best outcomes for initiatives.
4. A natural leader
Each and every team member needs to be committed to developing leadership skills regardless of the level they are current at. At a personal level this means developing the self-awareness and skills required for effective problem analysis, and acting in an authentic, resilient and credible manner. For managers, this also means generating a collaborative culture which supports team work and encourages high performance, and espousing a vision to guide the team through ambiguity.
5. True commercial nous
Being truly commercial in this day and age requires more than just identifying strategies for cost optimisation throughout supply chain. It’s about delivering competitive advantage and sustainable value and managing senior stakeholders’ interests across business units ensuring shared business and organisational goals are achieved. For businesses to survive, agility is crucial in order to create an environment that fosters innovation and the commercial capability to adapt to changing market conditions and drive growth.
For more information, please contact Brendan Turner at The Source on 03)9650 6665 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.