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The 7 traits of top procurement professionals

What makes a great procurement professional? We all know procurement is growing in stature and importance, and being asked to take on more within the organization. One of the biggest challenges to executing on that is finding top talent. With that in mind, we thought it would be interesting to share one professional’s perspective.

 

Bruno Alvarez is a twenty-year procurement professional, blogger and author of the e-book “Procurement Stories.” He’s often called on to recommend candidates, and based on his experience, has come up with a short list of common traits he sees in the best, excerpted from a recent blog post:

 

1. People person

Being at the top of the collaborative work, procurement is very much about relationships and networking. Most contracting and procurement professionals score high in people relations, as high as sales people. This stands to reason, as deals are made every day internally with stakeholders and externally with vendors, contractors and suppliers.

2. Likes KPI and metrics

Contracting and procurement is a highly measured activity, tasked with bringing specific benefits in a timely matter. Procurement is also the owner of “the spend.” They are inclined to like KPIs that can measure spend and reflect benefit for the stakeholder and the organization.

 

3. Negotiator by nature

Not only do they like to negotiate, it comes as naturally as breathing. Negotiation is a constant in a contracting and procurement department so it should be an inherent trait.

 

4. Unconventional thinker

A long time ago I learned a negotiation method called “three dimensional negotiations.” The main premise is that you can find answers to deadlocked negotiations in a “third dimension” that is “out of the box.” That’s because when you come to a deadlock there is something missing. When you step outside the box an array of solutions are waiting for you.

 

5. Generates process and procedures

All the deals that are generated need to be tracked, filed and revised all the time. Audits come all the time, and only commitment to good processes and procedures can get you the needed information.

 

6. Curious

One of the main goals in contracting and procurement is to come up with new ways to save money, get benefits and secure supply. You have to continually investigate how you spend your money and what the market in the outside world is doing. Curiosity drives you to stay informed on the market and on your spend.

 

7. Tactical

Contracting, procurement, sourcing, and the supply chain are about generating a winning strategy –and tactics. Being a good tactician is the foundation to finding the innovative, creative solutions your business needs.

 

What about you? What other traits do you think make for a great procurement professional? Please share your thoughts.

 

Learn how procurement leadership is embracing technology and employee engagement, including five techniques that immediately improve procurement.

 

Bruno Alvarez is regional category manager, procurement and sourcing, for Corporacion Multi-Inversiones.  He previously held procurement and supply chain roles at Duke Energy International and Shell.