Procurement, if you are not already aware of the term is the process of finding resources, agreeing to terms, acquiring goods and services and negotiating tenders with potential vendors and suppliers in the interest of a business organisation.
Procurement professionals often work with different workforce personalities and under pressure, which is why being in the procurement industry isn’t for everybody. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to succeed in the procurement industry but more than anything else, it takes a certain quality to succeed as procurement professional.
If you are already in the industry and are trying to figure out ways to succeed as a procurement professional, here are some tips and tricks that you can use:
Brush up on your people’s skills
Whether it’s engaging in light conversations, talking to difficult personalities or remembering names and faces, make sure you work on your people’s skills. If you choose to work in the procurement industry, you are going to interact with new faces and familiar faces all the times and an introvert person for example, won’t do as well as an extrovert would.
If you have a hard time remembering names, have a list of the people you have met and connect them to something that you can easily remember. For example: Tom Hu – a guy I met at a conference in KL, has a truck company in Seremban and likes black coffee. It doesn’t matter how ridiculous the details sounds like, if it helps you remember the person – write it down.
Another way to help you engage in conversations is to read or watch the news. News are a great way to communicate with people besides the obvious weather chat. If you want to succeed in procurement, you need to be great with people.
Brush up on your negotiation skills
Negotiation is a procurement professional’s bread and butter. You would negotiate to get better prices, better deals, better product quality and even better contract agreement. Basically speaking, the entire business depends on your ability to negotiate a good deal.
The best negotiator does their research on what is available in the industry, how many vendors and suppliers has the same thing and knows the minimum prices that is set by the government. This being said, just because you are good at arguing, doesn’t mean you will be good with negotiating.
The best negotiators are always able to get the best deals without breaking relationships and the best way to become better at it is to always practice and observe from the best.
Always update your knowledge on the industry you are working in
If your business caters to hotels, you have to know the ins and outs of the hotel industry in Malaysia, or Singapore – wherever you are operating in. If your business is within the import and export industry, you have to learn everything from the government policies to the kind of import and export materials to the supply and demand.
In order for a procurement professional to make the best procurement decision in the market, they have to know what they are working with. The more you know, the easier it is to plan your procurement process, find the right vendors and suppliers, train your employees and avoid from getting tricked by dodgy suppliers.
You can’t succeed as a procurement professional if you only limit your knowledge to the procurement processes. Pick an industry and master it.
Build your network
As we previously mentioned, procurement professionals work a lot with people so of course, having a great network will help you succeed. Not only will it help you find the right vendors and suppliers, it will also help you get great deals.
There are no shortcuts to building a great network. You will have to actually meet people and build a rapport. The best tip is to attend any conference related to your industry, attend seminars and attend as much family and friends gathering as possible – you never know who you will meet and where you will meet them. Your next door neighbour might now a good supplier.
Another tip is to always bring your business card with you. Keep it in your car, in your bad and even in your wallet. It is more professional to hand out a business card to a potential stakeholder. It acts as a reminder for the stakeholders – they can identify your position and the business you are working with and they will instantly know how to contact you.
Last but not least, continue to learn. Even the most successful procurement professionals continue to learn. The business landscape is always changing. Whether it’s a new technology or a new business process, everyone will have to learn new things and as long as you are open to learning, you have a big chance at being successful.
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.