Top Qualities of Successful Procurement Manager
Wondering if you have what it takes to be a successful procurement manager? Take a look at these qualities to see if you’re management material. Don’t worry if you’re not strong in all of these areas -- you can find ways to build your skills to improve in areas you consider weak.
Social and Outgoing
A great deal of procurement tasks involve building and maintaining relationships. Not just with your suppliers, but with your co-workers, stakeholders and others you come into contact with through the course of your work.
You have to be able to strike up conversations, communicate your needs and desires, understand the concerns and issues of others, and more. To get the best possible deal for your company, you’ll need strong, long-term relationships with suppliers.
If you’re not naturally good at talking with people, or would consider yourself shy or introverted, that’s not to say you can’t be successful as a procurement manager. You’ll just have to make an effort to strengthen those skills over time.
Loves Data and Analytics
Contracting materials, products and services from suppliers is measured at several levels. The data has to show that the company will reap specific benefits in a timely manner. The procurement department is also in charge of spending and keeping track of the budgets at a departmental level along with the company as a whole. Successful procurement managers are known to enjoy the data and analytics side of things -- tracking the key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure spend and demonstrate benefits to stakeholders.
As technology continues to grow and transform the way procurement is done efficiently, the most successful procurement managers know how important it is to learn about available technologies. Understanding how to make use of procurement management software keeps your organization at the cutting edge for a competitive advantage.
Procurement management software is designed to handle the entire purchase-to-pay cycle with automation in place to eliminate paper-based processes, reduce maverick spending and fraud, and more.
If you love negotiating, and find that it comes naturally to you, that makes a job in procurement much easier. Negotiation is a critical part of contracting products and services. Since that is the main focus of procurement, you can expect to spend a decent amount of your time working in negotiations with a supplier. Whether it’s a new supplier, or negotiations for a contract renewal for a mission critical raw material, or a backup supplier for something less critical.
Anyone working in business, especially in procurement and especially in management, needs to be ethical in all of their dealings. This means you must clearly and objectively inform all stages of the quotation process, supplier expectations, and the rules ahead of time. Always provide feedback and avoid changing the rules during negotiations.
While it may be tempting to make your friend or family member’s new small business the new supplier for your company, this approach is ethically murky for many reasons. Even if they give you the best bid, the relationship could influence the course of business.
In procurement, one of the most important goals is to save money while still securing the supply you need and getting benefits. That means you need to stay curious about how the company is spending money and what the market is doing specifically in your industry, in general, both locally and globally. Remaining curious ensures you’ll continue to remain informed about the market and what your company is spending.
Loves Policies and Procedures
All the deals an organization closes need to be tracked, filed and updated on a regular basis. You need to make sure that your staff is purchasing from approved suppliers and that those suppliers are abiding by the agreed upon terms of the contract. Audits are necessary for regulatory compliance, and to make sure those run as smoothly as possible, you need to have strong policies and procedures in place. As procurement managers, you’ll be in charge of the processes your team uses to contact suppliers, place and receive orders, and pay invoices.
You’ll be developing policies regarding purchase requisitions and purchase orders, approval thresholds, departmental budgets, etc. You’ll also develop the processes to ensure policies and procedures are adhered to, and what happens in the event of exceptions.
Without solid policies and procedures, and the processes to support them, you won’t have the information you need easily accessible in the event of an issue or an audit. Without an appropriate commitment to tracking all the data, you’ll spend more time and effort cleaning up messes. Plus, the data you collect can be quite helpful when it comes to data-driven decision-making.
Excels in Critical Thinking and Strategy
Procurement is about strategy and tactics. That’s why you need to be able to think critically, sometimes outside the box. Good procurement strategy often requires people to think unconventionally to create mutually beneficial agreements between buyers and suppliers. Strong critical thinking and tactical awareness forms the foundation for creativity and innovation that companies need to stay competitive.
In procurement, there are plenty of things that need to stay organized. From the contracts with suppliers, to the purchase requisitions, orders, goods receipts, invoices and payments, there is a lot of room for error.
Even in a paperless process, if things aren’t managed properly, you could be losing money. Successful procurement managers not only understand the importance of proper organization, they know what it takes to get things organized, and enjoy doing it.
Successful procurement managers know it’s important to designate an organization strategy, even down to file naming conventions and document storage. They know how to adequately train their staff to follow those organizational policies and procedures and what to do if someone deviates from the standard operating procedure.