Whether purchasing goods for use or resale, procurement managers play an important role in an organization. A procurement manager plans and coordinates the work of buyers and purchasing agents. He ensures that his organization secures the best deals for products and services it purchases. In short, a procurement manager performs a number of different duties related to buying and selling. In this article, we take a look at the questions you should ask your procurement manager to ensure smooth sales.
What are your strongest skill sets?
A procurement manager needs strong interpersonal skills with the ability to negotiate and achieve the best price from suppliers. Does your procurement manager also have the ability to manage the financial aspects of the role and understand budget management processes? The right procurement manager must show that he understands the aspects of forecasting future business activity; therefore, post holders will require a thorough commercial understanding and the ability to plan and forecast demand. Finally, the right procurement manager needs lots of management, delegation and motivational skills.
What are the relevant qualifications required?
In general, a procurement manager does not need a specific set of qualifications. Typical entry level roles may include Buyer’s Assistant, Junior Buyer, Finance Assistant or Procurement Assistant. Relevant degree backgrounds into such positions may include business and management, project management, supply chain or mathematics. Outside of university education, there is a range of opportunities to undertake entry-level procurement and buying roles.
What should be your main priorities as a procurement manager?
A good procurement manager must drive the efficiency of the business, implementing processes that minimize business wastage while ensuring the day-to-day operations of the business run smoothly. The right procurement manager will need to source for suppliers – often on an international basis, negotiate and manage contracts and build key relationships with both suppliers and the internal teams. Procurement managers need to stay on top of new trends, regulation and technology as they often will be expected to lead on innovation and cost savings as these ultimately create a competitive advantage for the business.
Can you manage change?
Nowadays, many mid-sized organisations are grappling with the transition from a tactical function within the Finance Department, to a strategic function within the supply chain. The main objective touted by typical organisations continue to be cost reduction, sometimes combined with or expressed alternatively as value creation.
Managing change is not easy. It needs a firm hand and a strong will, while being calm under pressure. The right procurement manager must be able to manage transformation, whether it’s a new hire from another industry, or a seasoned executive from another function in the business. What is important is that he/she has a track record of influencing top management and internal stakeholders across all functions.
Can you lead people?
There is this general assumption that a collaborative and participative style is a preferred trait. Although traditionally successful, an autocratic approach now doesn’t work, particularly with the under 30’s. Retaining top performers is a constant battle, and the right procurement manager knows what to do. Leaders will spend a fair portion of their time on competency development and building teams, as well as understanding what subordinates want and need from their managers to perform well. Because cross-functional teams are established features of the leading procurement organisations, the right procurement manager needs to be able to nurture non-procurement members and earn their trust.
What expertise do you have in procurement?
For the right procurement manager to establish credibility with top management, internal and external stakeholders and subordinates, the right procurement manager needs to have some or all of the following knowledge and experience:
- Category Management – By understanding the concept of leveraging spend across multiple commodities to deliver cost savings and create value, the right procurement manager must be able to show results that can bring them ahead of the competition.
- Problem solving – The right procurement manager needs to be able to focus on the root cause of an issue and devise and test various possible solutions.
- Procurement technology – A familiarity with the relevant available systems and tools will provide opportunities for speeding up and automating some routine functions or even outsourcing them.
- Negotiation skills – Everyone has some experience of negotiation in their everyday lives. The right procurement manager will constantly upgrade those skills and get as much practice as possible.
Do you have analytical skills?
One of the biggest challenges for procurement managers is conducting an accurate analysis. The right procurement manager needs to have a basic understanding of storytelling. What does this mean? He must be able to look at any analytic report (workflow, spend, etc.) and draw conclusions. The right procurement manager must identify areas for improvement, and recognize that even the smallest changes can make a huge difference.
Are you tech savvy?
Technology is moving at an astounding pace, the wrong procurement manager will have absolutely no IT skills and be nothing more than a benchwarmer. New technologies are being developed every day; ones that can be valuable to the procurement process. So it is absolutely essential that the procurement manager possesses the skills to adapt any new technology into their daily workflow. Having an aptitude for technology is important because it shows that the procurement manager can do almost anything. So when your company decides to deploy an IT solution, they can count on the right procurement manager to pick it up quickly and use it effectively. The look and feel of procurement today is changing as technology advances and only the capable procurement managers who keep their fingers on the cusp of new technologies will succeed.
Not so long ago, most procurement managers relied on technical proficiency in discrete areas and a decent grasp of the basics. Today’s successful procurement managers, however, rely on new core competencies and advanced industry knowledge to ensure smooth sales and rise to the top. So, remember to ask your future procurement manager the above questions to ensure smooth sales!
A procurement manager plays a crucial role in a company, they take on many roles when it comes to purchasing and buying. Due to that it is clear to say that the procurement manager of a business should have skills, before hiring one you should make sure to ask them these questions. For related articles as above come stop by our site ThunderQuote .
ThunderQuote is the most comprehensive business services portal in Singapore, Australia and ASEAN , where hundreds of thousands of dollars of procurement contracts are sourced every month by major companies like Singapore Press Holdings, National Trade Union Congress and more.