Working in the Procurement Industry takes a lot of hard work and skills and despite putting in all the efforts, sometimes Procurement Professionals don’t get enough credits. Despite that being the case sometimes, people working in the procurement industries still do their job with a lot of passion.
There are a lot of skills that are needed if you want to be a procurement professional and while most of the skill set would be similar no matter where you go in the world, some skills might differ. In a country as vast as Malaysia, you may need more than just the procurement skills to succeed as a procurement professional. To help you out, here are the top 5 attributes a procurement professional in Malaysia should have:
Have an in-depth knowledge of how the local procurement works
Not one country has the same way of operations. Even if they do, the key players will be different. So if you want to succeed as a procurement professional in Malaysia, you will first have to understand who the players are in your industry. For example, if you are in the textile industry, you will need to know who are the biggest textile supplier in Malaysia, the most sought after textile importer and exporter that does business in Malaysia, which retail stores cater to the textile industry and how big the market is.
Procurement isn’t just about managing stocks and getting the right contract for your company. It is also about growing your business’s name and building rapport with other procurement professionals in the country and in order to do so, you must first know who the right people are.
Be flexible with your working hours.
It is no secret that as a procurement professional, you will be working with different working style characters. Especially in a country as diverse in Malaysia, some people are hugely affected by their culture and religion in the way they do business.
If you work with a supplier in Kelantan for example, it would be advisable to not do any business meetings on a Friday for example as Kelantan’s business days starts from Sunday to Thursday as opposed to the normal Monday to Friday. On top of that, if you choose to have business meetings on Friday, it is advisable to avoid the time between 11am to 2pm as the Muslims performs their Friday Prayers and break time is usually extended and during Ramadhan business hours are usually cut shorter.
Learn the local lingo
Malaysia is a multi-racial country and with that, comes different languages. Although the official language of the country is Malay and most businesses uses English as a medium, people still speak other languages when making business deals such as Mandarin, Cantonese, Tamil and even State accents like Kedahans or Sabahans.
This doesn’t mean that you have to master all the languages but you should always be aware of the lingo and what is acceptable. For example, using the term Dato’ or Tauke is an acceptable form of showing respect to another person – it shows that you acknowledge their higher position in the business hierarchy. On the other hand, while it is not common, some people with the title Dato’ granted might take offence when not being addressed with the correct title.
Be aware of the public holidays in Malaysia and work around it
Malaysia is one of the countries with the most public holidays and while most businesses close down operations during public holidays, some might still be working – depending on the type of holidays. To be a successful procurement professional, you have to be aware of the public holiday and the people you work with. For example, a Malay supplier might not work during the Eid’l Adha holiday but a Chinese supplier would still be able to do deliveries. Some states have different public holidays too, so take notes of them. For example, Sabah and Sarawak might celebrate Hari Gawai and people working in the capital of Kuala Lumpur might not be working on Hari Wilayah Persekutuan.
On the other hand, all your suppliers might be working on less religion-related holiday such as Hari Malaysia or The Agong’s Birthday.
Build your network, maintain your rapport and be respectful
Last but not least, in Malaysia, good relationships are valued especially in the business industry. People tend to give better deals to people who maintain good, respectful relationships with them rather than just another stranger in the industry.
Never underestimate the power of getting in touch and communicate with your Suppliers and Vendors even outside of the work scope. A simple exchange of gifts during religious and cultural celebration like Thaipusam or Chinese New Year goes along way in maintaining rapport with your suppliers.
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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.