A continuation of 10 Skills That Every Procurement Official Should Have, Part One, here we continue to cover the additional skills that will be most valuable to procurement officers in the next ten to fifteen years.
6. Develop Financial Skills
Working as a procurement officer will demand a versatile skill set, which includes an ability to handle finances appropriately. The link between the finance department and the procurement department will need to be stronger than ever, and procurement officers will need to have a firm grasp of the finance principles that govern their company. The procurement process will likely become more and more rapid, meaning that procurement officials will need to be able to do their work without the luxury of consulting finance on every deal. This necessitates at least a basic understanding and application of the company’s governing financial principles and trajectory.
7. Lead-Out in Innovation
While procurement officers will not be called upon to develop new technology, they should be aware of the developments in engineering, design, and new product development. They will want to be aware of what the best product on the market is, and they will want to develop innovative ways to reduce cost and maximize efficiency. Understanding which new technology will be of most use to the company, and then procuring that technology, will help the procurement officer’s own company to develop new innovations and compete in the market today.
8. Collaborate Effectively
Both external collaboration and internal collaboration will become increasingly important in future years. These collaborative efforts will be crucial for procurement officers who wish to understand the necessary goods for their own company, what goods and service are the best, how to effectively manage their time and contracts, and how to properly outsource certain key functions of a company. The synergy created by inter-departmental communication will increase output, sales, revenue, and overall company efficiency.
9. Increase Transparency
Procurement officials will also need to be savvy in the realm of public relations. Because of social media and transparency laws, including Sarbanes-Oxley laws governing internal control, procurement practices will need to be easily accessible, traceable, and explainable. Utilizing contract management technology, salesforce software, procurement software, and other paperless solutions will increase transparency for the company by making records easily available and traceable. Procurement officers will need to be able to effectively navigate discussions with consumers, regulators, and the press in addition to their current suppliers.
10. Analyze Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Once information has been gathered, whether from internal sources or from external sources, procurement officials must improve their ability to handle and analyze KPIs. KPIs indicate the level of performance of a company (whether that is the procurement official’s own company, or a supplier that the official is researching). If the procurement official is researching an external entity, then the KPIs will be an important indicator for risk. If the company has a poor record of reaching their goals, or is unable to meet standard KPI, then that company may pose a greater risk. Understanding KPIs is already an important skill for procurement officials, and we mention it here simply so that it does not leave the forefront of anyone’s mind. It will continue to be an important method for improving risk management in the future, and every procurement official should be adept at analyzing KPIs.