Procurement managers are an integral part of every organisation, and especially essential to the cost containment goals of a business. Among other things, the tasks of a procurement manager include analysing and anticipating the product and service needs of the business, negotiating with vendors and suppliers to secure value-added deals, and managing multiple stakeholders across the organisation. Cost reductions are a key priority for procurement managers everywhere, and many are under increasing pressure to deliver greater savings for their companies. For a role with such high expectations, it’s imperative that a procurement manager continues to stay on top of his game and produce excellent results. Here, we take a look at several ways for a procurement manager to excel when the stakes are high.
Make tech solutions and innovation your close friend
You may have the expertise and personality to take on the role of a procurement manager, but even the best man for the job will need a bit of help, occasionally. Procurement software are designed to fulfil the needs of procurement managers everywhere, providing tech solutions that promise to aid their decision-making and simplify existing procurement processes. More procurement managers are now turning to eProcurement systems to manage the bidding process and streamline administrative tasks such as creating purchase orders and invoicing. Recent innovations to eProcurement platforms have also helped procurement managers to optimise analysis reports and purchasing data to drive higher savings and profits for the company. There are also many tech solutions available to enhance collaboration and communication between procurement team members and even external stakeholders such as vendors and suppliers. There is a wide range of tech solutions on the market to assist you in your role as a procurement manager, so it makes perfect sense to enlist the help of these innovations to reduce your workload, optimise resources, and drive cost-savings for the company.
Build solid relationships with stakeholders
A procurement manager’s role is very much in the front line and requires the tact and courtesy of a good communicator. A procurement manager is expected to liaise with multiple internal and external stakeholders across the business and as such, must come across as a people-person and be likeable. These plus points will come in handy when managing your procurement team, influencing upper management, and negotiating with vendors and suppliers. Procurement managers pride themselves on the ability to negotiate good deals with suppliers, but before that can happen, both the procurement manager and the supplier must have built a good working relationship. Suppliers are more likely to offer you better pricings for your purchases if they have had many positive experiences working with you over the years. Start building strong relationships with your stakeholders by honing your people skills. Actively listen to their concerns and suggestions, take a keen interest in their roles and responsibilities, emphasise value-add and fairness when negotiating deals, and be courteous and pleasant at all times. These best practices will go a long way towards engendering trust and respect between you and your stakeholders, leading to stronger relationships and better business outcomes.
Keep communication lines open
As a procurement manager, you will have a team of procurement professionals that report to you. While it’s important for the procurement team to meet business goals and team KPIs, the onus lies with you to ensure that each team member understands what is expected of them and that they have the necessary resources and assistance to fulfil their responsibilities. This requires procurement managers to open the lines of communication in the procurement department, and ensure that communication between team members is regular and transparent. At department meetings, encourage your team members to share their concerns on current procurement processes, and encourage suggestions on improvement. It’s also a good idea to keep to the agenda during meetings, and ensure that everyone is on the same page on team decisions and follow-up responsibilities. It’s not uncommon to find that many employees leave meetings without knowing what they’re supposed to do next, so clear and succinct communication is vital. Regularly hold knowledge-sharing sessions to cultivate a culture of collaboration and teamwork in the procurement team, and emphasise the fact that team members are free to express their thoughts in a constructive manner. It’s also important that you keep the procurement team in the loop on management decisions and new developments in the business so that they feel included and appreciated.
Be your team’s biggest champion
Gallup’s 2016 report, How Millennials Want to Work and Live, found that 59% of millennials value professional development opportunities immensely when applying for a job. However, it’s not just millennials who are keen to grow their skills set and move up the organisation. All employees are appreciative of managers who recognise and acknowledge good work, and this applies to the procurement sphere as well. As a procurement manager, it’s important to provide your team with ample opportunities to grow their knowledge base and learn new skills, thereby greatly improving the odds of them getting a promotion. Make it a point to acknowledge the contributions of the procurement team at management meetings so that the powers-that-be know who to consider when opportunities for promotions come up. Promoting from within is a good practice that raises employee morale, so try to promote your own people when senior-level positions open up in the procurement department. It’s a well-known fact that promoting a candidate internally is more cost-effective than hiring externally. Internal promotions catalyse employees to work even harder to secure the next promotion that comes along, resulting in a team that is stronger and more effective.
In a nutshell, it is expected that a procurement manager is always on his feet . This article has given insight on how a procurement manager can step up his game whenever things get a little boring or shaky. For more tips, information and guides head on over to 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.