Interested in building a career in procurement? Procurement professionals are counted on to facilitate two main business objectives. The first being the delivery of goods and services, and the second being keeping costs as low as possible. While these responsibilities will be unlikely to go away, even given current business trends, they certainly call for teams to fill other roles within the company. Procurement teams have a real opportunity to become critical, strategic, adaptable professionals in the new world of business challenges. These are just some of the procurement skills that are most valuable to employers.
1. Risk Management
Procurement professionals are heavily involved in predicting, managing, and mitigating risk for the companies they work for. However, the approach to procurement risk management is changing. Don’t expect that what worked in the past will continue in the future. Procurement teams now need to view compliance through a holistic lens, managing total risk exposure, risk mitigation investments, and risk transfer pricing. Risk management is currently expanding throughout an organization with governance structures, ensuring that every department is entirely on board. The skills needed to lead those conversations are varied and nuanced. But in general, a company’s agreements will likely need to be reexamined and potentially redrafted to reduce the overall exposure to risk, in addition to ensuring the way these contracts are managed securely even as the business world becomes digitized and faster-moving.
Where procurement was once focused primarily on simply managing cost, procurement professionals now need to create sustainable supply chains. What that looks like for each business can be wildly different, but at high-level sustainability for supply looks like stable suppliers with consistent, steady business. Continuous use and reuse are essential not only for cost savings but for business and economic benefit. The transition from simple consumption to a more circular economy will enhance business relationships between companies, promote growth for the overall corporate entity, and bring a sustainable pattern of procurement that can be carried into the future.
3. Supplier Relationship Management
As with most jobs in business, a core part of what makes procurement professionals effective in their roles is building and maintaining relationships between a company and its suppliers. Procurement professionals are already engaged in establishing and maintaining supplier relations, but the extended relationships and trust will become more critical with sustainable procurement. Continuous, good relationships increase the chances of good deals and quality while decreasing supply chain risk.
4. Involve New Technology
With so many companies transitioning to digital workflows, procurement professionals need to have an in-depth understanding of the latest procurement technology to perform their job effectively. Such technology may include risk management software, contract lifecycle management platforms, spend analytics, report generators, and others. Being familiar with this technology will streamline the procurement process, improve collaboration between departments and other companies, and result in more efficient and effective procurement strategies.
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