As the person helming one of the most important business functions in a company, a procurement manager shoulders a heavy responsibility. A well-managed procurement department can save the company millions of dollars and increase its profitability, and this can only be realised with a highly- effective procurement manager. When hiring a procurement manager for an organisation, there are several attributes or skills that you should look for in the person. Let’s take a look at the key skills that a procurement manager must have to manage the role well.
Excellent communication skills
The procurement manager is at the front line almost all the time and deals with a variety of internal and external stakeholders across the business. Apart from liaising with suppliers and customers, the procurement manager also answers to the management, and deals with the company’s sales, marketing and finance teams. Having so many people to engage with, it’s important that a procurement manager has a pleasant disposition and can communicate well. This means being capable of expressing oneself clearly in writing and in conversation, and having the patience to listen when others are communicating their needs, concerns and perspectives.
An innovative mind
An innovative procurement manager is creative, highly-motivated, and capable of thinking out-of-the-box. He/she is forward-thinking and can always be depended upon to come up with new and disruptive ideas on improving the procurement system, or devise ways to solve a problem. They constantly challenge the status quo and look to gain a competitive advantage for the company. These attributes are important for the role, as a procurement manager is responsible for implementing strategic plans to improve the procurement process. An innovative procurement manager can galvanise the procurement department to practice innovation when carrying out the procurement process, which can lead to better outcomes for the company. To be a successful business, there is a need to be one step ahead of your competitors, so having an innovative procurement manager is a must.
Savvy negotiation skills
A good procurement manager is a good negotiator. A subset of communication, negotiation is another key skill that will determine whether the procurement manager successfully meets business requirements. Negotiating doesn’t just involve getting the cheapest price for a product or service, but also ensuring that the quality is top-notch, the delivery dates are followed, and the buy-supplier relationship is maintained effectively. Having good negotiation skills allows you to manage the supplier well and extract the best value out of the partnership. A big part of being a procurement manager involves having to reduce procurement costs for the company, and in this case, having good negotiation skills definitely helps. One of the goals of the procurement process is to ensure a fair deal between the buyer and the supplier, and to reach that goal, there is a need to negotiate effectively.
Good financial acumen
According to Deloitte’s 2016 Global Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) Study, 74% of CPOs are citing cost reduction as a strong business priority in the next 12 months. With this in mind, the procurement manager that you bring on board must have good financial acumen and is able to make salient decisions on financial matters that concern procurement. To make fiscally-responsible decisions, the procurement manager needs to know how to use appropriate analytic tools to gain insights into the current standing of the procurement process, and emplace improvements to the system. There are a variety of software that can analyse a company’s expenditure and produce reports to aid the procurement manager in his/her financial decisions when it comes to bidding and sourcing activities. Essentially, the procurement manager should manage the procurement budget well, employ cost-effective measures in the procurement process, and make responsible decisions when it comes to procurement.
As a person in the front line, a procurement manager liaises with many internal and external stakeholders. The procurement manager represents the company when negotiating and making deals with suppliers, and as such, must have integrity and honesty when carrying out these tasks. Customers will also come into contact with the procurement manager, either to voice their complaints or provide input on their requirements. Therefore, it’s important that the procurement manager takes these complaints or information seriously and make good on any promises that he/she makes to the customer. Integrity is vital to many professions, but it is especially important in procurement. A procurement manager with integrity commands the respect and trust of his/her stakeholders, and is seen as reliable.
A team player
The role of a procurement manager involves managing a team of procurement professionals and liaising with team members from various business units, a task which requires active collaboration and effective communication. This requires teamwork and the willingness to consider other people’s points of view. A good procurement manager makes everyone feel heard and appreciated, and tries to accommodate all their needs without being a pushover. A procurement manager that values teamwork can form good relationships with all his/her stakeholders and contribute significantly to the company’s success.
Good foresight and planning skills
A procurement manager is expected to reduce costs for the company, and do that, he/she must have a clear understanding of present and future business needs. It’s also important for the procurement manager to understand consumer behaviour and preferences, and be able to recognise and capitalise on the latest trends. A good procurement manager will also be able to synthesise all this information and make salient decisions on the annual procurement plan. Good foresight and planning skills grow with experience, but it helps to have a clear understanding of the industry and the company history.
In a nutshell, a procurement manager should possess many skills to be able to carry out all of his duties as smoothly and efficiently as possible. For related articles as this, we invite you to come pay us a visit at ThunderQuote today!
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.