Ahead of an on-line blog interview about what it took to succeed in Procurement I started thinking how the letter P might be used from the word Procurement to describe various verbs or actions that you had to be good at to succeed in procurement. Funnily enough it lent itself quite well to the task.
Based on my experience of working in procurement I would suggest that if you are looking to make a difference in your role you should consider the following characteristics:
1. Pragmatic – no day is ever the same, being flexible of mind and spirit is essential.
2. Patience – the role involves dealing with many different viewpoints, patience is critical in getting the best outcome for your business.
3. Preparation – whether talking with stakeholders or negotiating with suppliers you must always be prepared. In procurement over 80% of the negotiation effort should be in preparation.
4. Process – following a process consistently whether it is sourcing or problem solving, it lies at the heart of procurement success. It also gives comfort to stakeholders in other disciplines.
5. Perseverance – just stick to it, it’s never easy in procurement, but keeping to it, will deliver results.
6. Pace – businesses are having to move at ever increasing pace competitively, your stakeholders want results fast, so should you.
7. Progress – supporting the business is tough, dealing with suppliers challenging, but positive outcomes are a must and fast.
8. Professionalism – dealing with internal and external stakeholders, suppliers and customers requires a consummate level of diplomacy, professionalism in all you do 24 hours a day.
9. Passion – you have to love your role in procurement, showing your energy and passion in your role wins others over to your side. Others need to see this to believe.
10. Profit-centred – after all procurement is essentially about reducing costs both in third party goods and services and the overhead of acquiring them. Most businesses ultimately are driven by profit or value for money.
11. Perspective – thinking about the external marketplace is essential, after all that’s where the suppliers are (and your business customers), this always needs to be contextualised against your own business’ position.
12. Practitioner – never stop learning, stay abreast of best practice, never stop developing and challenging yourself and, of course, the status quo.
If you can deploy these attitudes and characteristics, based on my experience, I don’t think you will go far wrong in your procurement career.