A smooth procurement process can drive the growth of any organization. Skilled procurement professionals not only slash costs, but they can also ensure consistent availability of resources. So, what does it take to succeed in a procurement role? Let’s go over some of the key skills required for success in procurement.
Procurement negotiation expertise
As a procurement professional, you work with suppliers all the time. You’ll be trying to get the most value for your company while the supplier takes their shot at pitching a higher price. Striking the balance between pinning down costs and ensuring a solid working relationship for future purchases can be a daunting task.
Procurement negotiation training skills can help clinch the best deals. Some of the key techniques include:
According to Skills Dynamics, 90% of successful negotiations come from proper planning. So, it pays to spend more time learning as much as possible about the supplier and their product or service. This will help you present a stronger argument as to why the supplier’s cost may be unjustified. Preparation also puts you in a position to gain more value. For instance, you can negotiate to get extra services from the vendor at deeply discounted prices or for free.
People with sound negotiation skills are quick thinkers who search for a variety of solutions to problems. Rather than staying fixated on a desired outcome, proficient negotiators find ways to address key challenges. It helps to also keep your eyes peeled for potential issues that can hinder progress. By getting ahead of problems, you can quickly find ways to solve them to avoid the talks breaking down.
Keeping emotions in check can go a long way in creating concrete relationships that can improve the procurement process. So, it’s worthwhile to master the art of staying composed without becoming cold and distant.
As a procurement professional, you’ll often juggle communicating with people from several organizations and departments. You’ll deal with low-level managers, peers, stakeholders, and senior management.
It helps to be able to put your thoughts into a clear message for the intended audience.
Here are some skills that are at the heart of effective communication:
- Listening skills: Clear communication begins with active listening. If you focus only on what you have to say, you can miss out on the chance to successfully negotiate with suppliers. Train yourself to pay close attention to what the other person is saying. That way you can learn more about what they are looking for to find common ground.
- Empathy: It’s beneficial to understand and relate to someone else’s feelings to build rapport.
- Nonverbal communication skills: Communication often relies on nonverbal cues. It pays to develop an awareness of your body language and tone while also observing the other person’s non-verbal cues.
The procurement department contributes directly to the company’s financial health. If you don’t get the financial aspects down to a tee, costs are going to balloon, and supply chain bottlenecks can cripple the business.
That’s why you need to train in financial concepts such as:
- Budgeting: A clear perception of how the company is going to earn and spend money can help you source products strategically.
- Cash flows: If profits are not backed by smooth cash flows, it could spell disaster for the company. So, procurement professionals will benefit from learning strategies such as negotiating longer payment terms with suppliers to stabilize cash flows.
- Audit: It’s useful to learn the best practices and controls that keep the company accountable. This can help you stay alert when it comes to documentation and proper record-keeping.
- Key performance indicators: Keeping an eye on the bigger picture and the overall financial well-being of the company can improve the procurement process. For instance, saving money on a cheaper product today may cost the company in terms of customer satisfaction metrics in the future. Grasping how financial metrics feed into each other can help improve the procurement process.
On the whole, these skills can help procurement professionals craft better contracts. This, in turn, increases the chances of the businesses thriving.