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Top 7 Winning Procurement Skills And How To Acquire Them

Procurement managers of products and services occupy one of the most important positions in a company.

In manufacturing companies, they purchase raw materials and semi-finished products that go into the finished product and production equipment directly from manufacturers or from wholesale supplier companies, in accordance with the production needs of the company, or they order the services of service companies. 

Therefore, you can imagine the responsibilities the individual faces, and, of course, the best way to deal with all the tasks is to acquire a skill set worth every penny. But, what are the winning procurement skills and how can one acquire them? Read on, as we’ll discuss exactly this in the text below.

Planning and preparation 

Based on the annual production plan, procurement and/or import managers prepare a procurement plan. In that plan, they harmonize four types of procurement: price, quality, delivery terms, and transportation costs.

Procurement managers use procurement solutions to optimize these processes. This integration helps managers forecast demand accurately, manage inventory levels, evaluate supplier performance, and negotiate better terms. Users receive immediate notifications about new purchase requests, allowing them to approve orders quickly, create purchase orders (POs), and dispatch them to vendors.

They collect data on producers and suppliers of goods in the domestic and foreign markets. In doing so, they use commercial catalogs or magazines from the company’s production activities, or more recently, IT databases.

This means the individual must be a responsible and practical person, and one character trait that the individual must possess is research knowledge. They must be good at gathering the needed data, categorizing it according to demand and importance, and ultimately choosing what chain of supply will suit the company’s interests the most. 

Constantly learning and improving 

Every procurement manager is constantly working on acquiring new knowledge while expanding their existing ones. There is always something new to learn; new ideas, methods, and strategies that can be implemented, or new products that can be acquired.

To that end, procurement training courses are extremely helpful and beneficial for both those who have been in the business for a long time and those who are just getting started, as the individual gradually becomes accustomed to the concept of constant learning and improvement.

Success comes and goes, but what keeps a person high on the chain is their will to work on themselves and improve if needed. Rethinking their previous strategies and always looking for ways to become better at what they do are some of the things that make a great procurement worker. 

Agreement and negotiation skills 

 If the product is satisfactory, the managers agree on the technical, business, and transport conditions of purchase, quantity, terms of delivery, and payment method. If they reach a satisfactory agreement through negotiations, they enter into a purchase contract with manufacturers or suppliers on behalf of the companies they represent.

Based on that, they then issue orders for the purchase of certain types of goods. They always take care of the inventory status, so that everything needed for production is available in the warehouse, and the ordered goods are not piled up.

Relationship management with clients 

After choosing a potential manufacturer or supplier, they make an official visit to management to make initial contact, meet business partners, introduce their company, and receive samples or promotional material about the products they want to order.

If necessary, they visit the manufacturer’s facilities in order to examine the manufacturer’s capacities or investigate their business reputation. 

This means one of the most important procurement skills is being good at establishing contact with clients and maintaining conversations.

So, we are talking about an extrovert person with a certain charisma and sense of humor, someone professional who can maintain these relations established with suppliers and clients. And once again, the investigation and research skills mentioned above are once again at play. 

Quality control and overseeing projects 

After establishing business cooperation with some of the manufacturers or suppliers in the country or abroad, the procurement managers monitor the implementation of the contract, especially the quality of the goods and the delivery dynamics.

They return low-quality delivered goods or urge them to be returned if deliveries are late, so that there is no stoppage in production. If the company takes over the goods at the place of production, the managers give orders to the transport service to take over the ordered goods.

Additionally, procurement software enhances quality control and project oversight by integrating supplier performance data and standardizing procurement processes to ensure all purchases meet company standards. It manages and stores relevant documents like contracts and quality certificates, providing easy access and ensuring compliance. 

The software supports comprehensive audit trails for all transactions, aiding in quality checks and adherence to project specifications. Real-time data analytics allow for monitoring of supplier performance, product quality, and costs, facilitating proactive management and immediate correction of deviations. Collaboration tools improve communication between procurement teams, project managers, and suppliers, aligning all parties on quality expectations and requirements. 

Moreover, project tracking features link procurement activities with project timelines, ensuring materials and services are delivered according to schedule, thus supporting overall project management and enhancing project success.

Always looking for alternatives 

Procurement managers maintain contact with their permanent partners but also with potential ones, in order to reduce the risk of production downtime if the main suppliers fail.

Regardless of the chain of permanent suppliers, managers visit specialized fairs or use the findings of procurement market research in order to secure spare producers or suppliers and possibly negotiate even more favorable purchase prices with them.

If the products or services are procured in foreign countries, the procurement and import managers prepare and supervise the import operations through the representative offices of those companies or import trading companies.

Procurement and import managers utilize representative offices or import trading companies in foreign countries to streamline import operations. These local entities manage supplier relations, ensure compliance with regulations, and handle logistics and customs clearances. They perform quality inspections before shipment and manage necessary documentation like import licenses and customs declarations. 

By coordinating logistics, these offices or partners ensure timely and cost-effective delivery. They also mitigate risks related to currency fluctuations and political instability. Regular communication between these entities and the main procurement team ensures efficient monitoring and management of the import process, maintaining the supply chain’s integrity.

Success-oriented and analytical skills 

A procurement worker is someone who is always striving towards success for their company and themselves. Someone with a success mindset will make sure the best deals are struck, the best suppliers are contracted, and deadlines are respected.

Analytical skills are closely bonded with their ability to investigate and research, but more importantly, to calculate risk factors and predict possible failure. We are not saying you have to be psychic, but with the right analytical skills, you can presume the outcome of certain deals. 

All in all, the job is demanding and the position is worthy of the demands, but with the right training, determination, and patience, one can easily excel at all expectations in no time.

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