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Traits of the Successful Modern Procurement Professional 19 May 2016

The website defines ‘Procurement’ as “the act of obtaining equipment, materials, or supplies”

Indeed the role of Procurement historically has primarily focused on obtaining those articles at the cheapest possible price. As such, Procurement departments with their Preferred Supplier Lists have been established in the role of gatekeeper, preoccupied with the counting of beans rather than the efficiency of the business as a whole.

Procurement is evolving and the challenges faced throughout the supply chain are influencing the new breed of procurement officer whose remit extends beyond the obvious, cost-focussed element. The modern Procurement Officer requires a whole raft of soft skills to support the core function of the evolving

Marketing: promote the procurement function to other department heads. Inform them of the full extent of the role Procurement can play to add value to the
overall function of the organisation. If department heads understand what Procurement can offer, they’ll want you on the team!

Networking: the ability to confidently network with external suppliers is essential. Although cost is still (and always will be) a primary focus for Procurement, relationship building is key to ensuring a robust and resilient supply chain.

Strategic thinking: procurement isn’t only about costs; it’s about business strategy. Through marketing the function of the Procurement department and networking with C-suite, getting Procurement involved with a project from its inception is key to maximising the positive impact procurement can offer.

Anticipation and problem solving: Supply chains are becoming increasingly complex and as such, become more susceptible to costly interruptions. The ability to see beyond the present and anticipate problems before they arise is invaluable. When issues do arise, being able to think laterally is paramount to ensuring disruption is minimised.

Integrity: Supply chains are increasingly under scrutiny and pressure is rising to provide maximum transparency throughout. The modern Procurement Professional will be responsible for ensuring products are sourced from
suppliers who adhere to company guidelines on these matters, protecting the providers of the products from exploitation and the organisation from a potential PR disaster.

Flexibility & agility: Supply chains are constantly at risk, from breaches in ethics, terrorist and cyber security threats to natural disasters. When problems arise,
the ability to respond quickly, employing creative thinking to provide solutions without storing more up in the long-term is a highly valuable skill.

Confidence: Simply because something has always been done in a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the most effective way.  The modern Procurement Professional will constantly review systems and processes and isn’t afraid of challenging the status quo in order to find the leanest option.

Negotiating: Adding value isn’t all about the bottom line, it’s about contributing to the overall success of the business. Negotiating covers a variety of aspects,
from pricing to delivery, payment terms to back up plans. Being able to
determine what can be leveraged and using it as a negotiation tool is an indispensible trait.

Ambition, persistence and determination: The will to find the best options, the most cost effective, sustainable and secure method of ensuring the organisation has the goods and services it requires, consistently, no matter what, is vital. The modern Procurement Professional must have the ambition to succeed.