10 Skills That Every Procurement Official Should Have—Part One

Procurement officers have typically been focused on two things: ensuring the delivery of goods and services while keeping costs as low as possible. While these responsibilities will certainly not be fading any time soon, there will be a call for these same procurement professionals to fill other roles within the company. Procurement officers will soon need to be adaptable professionals with a whole new set of skills in their toolbox. These are a few of the skills that will be most valuable to procurement officers in the next ten to fifteen years.


1.    Holistically Manage Risk

While procurement officers are already heavily involved in predicting, managing, and mitigating risk, the approach to procurement risk management will begin to shift soon. Procurement officers will need to place less of an emphasis on compliance (though never neglect it), and more of an emphasis on managing total risk exposure, risk mitigation investments, and risk transfer pricing. Risk management will need to expand throughout the company, perhaps through governance structures which ensure that every department is completely on board. Contracts throughout the company will need to be reexamined and redrafted in order to reduce the overall exposure to risk. A procurement officer’s view of risk must become all–inclusive.


2.    Enhance Sustainability

Where once procurement was focused primarily on simply managing cost, procurement officers will soon need to create sustainable supply chains. These supply chains must involve stable suppliers who can provide steady business. Industry Week suggests that procurement officials will need to move their companies from a “’linear economy’ of consumption and disposition” to a “’circular economy’ based on continuous use and reuse.” This transition will enhance the 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.    Improve Supplier Relationships

An integral part of establishing a sustainable supply chain is improving the relationship that a company has with it suppliers. Procurement officers are already engaged in establishing and maintaining supplier relations, but the need for improving and maintaining excellent relationships with suppliers for extended amounts of time is becoming a more significant skill. It is important that procurement officials locate a trustworthy supplier and continue to work with that supplier, because it increases the chances of good deals for good quality, and it decreases supply chain risk.


4.    Participate in a Global Market

New, innovative companies are rising up all over the world. An effective procurement officer will not only keep their eyes open for rising companies on a global scale, they will also learn the best method for dealing with international suppliers. They will work effectively to localize and use third-party entities that speak the correct language and understand the culture when dealing with international companies. Some of the places which procurement officers will wish to look include China, Brazil Russia, India, and other developing countries.


5.    Involve New Technology

With so many companies transitioning to paperless offices, procurement officials need to have updated technology in order to perform their job effectively. Such technology will include risk management software, contract lifecycle management software, spend analytics, report generators, and many others. Becoming 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.