Purchase teams have to be have ‘procurement skills’, meaning they need to be thinking and acting in a way that is right for the marketplace, both in respect of the category that you are purchasing and for your overall organizational growth. It has been noticed that even where teams are cognizant of strategic procurement and its method of operating. Procurement professionals have a tendency to jump to ‘typical’ procurement approaches that have been talked about in theory, or are agile to promote tendering activity that is the precedent for the category without sufficient knowledge of the macro environment.
Here are some simple procurement skills that purchase managers should develop within their teams to drive methodical decision making for improved outcomes and better team members’ commercial abilities.
Be a researcher:
A key procurement skill is to search the right source of supply. If you are dealing with one category only, then definitely you might be a category expert and you would know enough sources of supply. However, if you are dealing with a brand new category, then you should be able to identify key players in the market quickly. Focus on the given:
- Discover Suppliers: There are a lot of online SaaS based softwares like Ariba, Thomasnet, Agencyonnet that can help one find new suppliers. Also, you can switch to LinkedIn and Twitter for identifying and connecting with new suppliers.
- Identify Market trends: It is imperative to identify short-term as well as long-term category trends by reading industry journals and subscribing tremendous category reports.
Smart Communication skills:
In the latest study by CPO of Deloitte, the majority of CPOs identified that soft skills are one the key areas where teams should work on. Let’s face the reality; people love to talk with people who are nice. It’s not about pleasing everyone but having a great relationship with your stakeholders that greatly help you in meeting organizational goals and increase collaboration. Procurement teams need to focus on the following grounds:
- Build relationship with key stakeholders: Your focus on building strong relationship with key stakeholders should never be diverted. They should see you as a trusted partner.
- Show empathy towards stakeholders: First listen, talk later. It doesn’t mean be a yes man, but relate yourself to the problem and come up with the optimum solution.
Good Analytical Skills:
Every business primarily focus on savings, besides profits, how come procurement function be left behind in this. Procurement teams should be good at making strong negotiations with vendors and internal stakeholders, but based on facts, not intuitive feelings. You don’t need to be a brainier, but focus on following:
- Basic data analysis:Excel is your best friend, using pivot tables, do basic data analysis. If you are willing to improve your basic excel skills, you can always look for generic courses.
If you have registered your organization with any SaaS based procurement website providing all analysis of savings & investments through graphs and charts, then all you need a basic common sense to understand.
2. Tune into cost models:Whether you are buying widgets or managing categories like outsourcing, cost model is a tremendous way to conclude on a fair price to pay for a product or service.
Sound relationships with your supplier:
Traditionally suppliers are kept at one arm’s distance; however they should be leveraged to get more information on the supply market and macro environment impacting supply and development services. The benefit of having strong understanding of supply market and suppliers are innumerable:
- Teams understand the points of difference between vendors and structure tenders to deliver value-adding results for your clients.
- Teams begin to speak more intelligently with your customers and develop strategies that are compelling.
- The organizations can benefit from innovation in the supply market, increasing company’s value proposition.
Understand financial terms:
It is common nowadays to involve CFO while making procurement decisions. You don’t need to be an accounting wiz, but should understand key financial terms and impact on the sourcing strategies. Learn the basic meanings of terms like:
- Cash flow – Understand the impact, sourcing has on helping cash flow
- Cost of capital – Define strategies like lease Vs buy, third party financing
- Income statement – Understand the long-term financial viability of the vendor
Besides these points, of course, awareness about new technological tools like e-sourcing, spend analysis and knowledge of various automated procurement functions is essential to achieve procurement success and better accomplish organizational goals.
Agencyonnet is a comprehensive all-in-one technology enabled SaaS solutions for marketing and procurement teams worldwide. Please visit www.agencyonnet.com to set up a demo of the product or connect with us through our social links to find out how we can add value to your marketing & procurement teams.