In this ever-changing digital world of business, every function has the scope of getting dramatically transformed. This is especially true for procurement which holds the reins of business efficiency. Superior digital procurement capability also helps companies gain a competitive advantage and tide through any issues that might pose a threat to business growth. The role & key skills of a procurement professional thus gain a lot more prominence from a strategic perspective. And if you add the various changes that digital technologies bring along, the possibilities become endless.
According to a research study by Hackett, an amalgamation of soft as well as technical skills is required for procurement teams to succeed. These skills have the potential to not just influence team dynamics but can also work wonders for enhancing business performance and bringing the necessary transformation in the procurement function. These skills can be clubbed into the following categories:
- Business acumen: This skill would help unearth key business drivers, dive deep into priorities and adjust seamlessly to short-term and long-term tradeoffs. Some key ways of achieving them could be through professional courses, job rotations, research reports and practical knowledge.
- Relationship management: Managing relations with all stakeholders comprising employees, customers, partners and vendors through multiple modes of communication is essential. This would help discover best practices easily, work collaboratively and make decisions swiftly. The best way to achieve that? Listen, be open to ideas and learn subtle body language cues.
- Supply risk management expertise: With multiple vendors and myriad transactions spanning the globe, managing risks & volatility becomes paramount. And it calls for a more proactive approach to predicting & solving issues. Think about formal risk assessment & evaluation frameworks, advanced analytical tools and a highly cognitive mind and we are sure you will get the drift. Reading up on industry risk factors, researching about the latest tools and learning some best practices are the ideal ways to go about it.
- Strategic mindset: The vision of procurement should be in tandem with the overall direction that an organization is planning to take. Effective procurement professionals take on the role of an advisor, develop strategic frameworks, brainstorm on the best practices and work consistently on emerging challenges. Corporate strategy toolkits and thorough analysis of the business could be your answers to get this aspect right.
- Data analysis and modeling: Data is created in droves. This is a given. But what separates out good data from bad is the insight that it leads to. Armed with the capability to extract large amounts of data and a deep knowledge of analytical tools, top-performing procurement professionals can bring the requisite value to the table and help their organizations look at different scenarios & develop solutions for the same. Spend analysis, data visualization tools and exposure to best practices are some sure shot ways to nail this point.
- Savings and financial analysis: What is the point of savings that do not get translated on the P&L statement? Through advanced creative tools, detailed studies of financial statements and team collaboration, procurement experts can focus on identifying direct procurement impact on the budget.
Digital technologies are making it easier to gain access to knowledge from multiple sources. Online courses, brainstorming sessions, learning networks and social media come in handy when it comes to learning best practices from varied industries & functions. Next-generation procurement experts are “border-less” and believe in free flow of information and knowledge. The ideal model that procurement teams should strive to build would be the one that is flexible enough to adapt to the rapidly changing business environment.
If this sounds interesting to you and you would want to explore the highlighted skills further, you can access the Hackett Research Report here.