The roles and responsibilities of the purchasing population have considerably changed these last 5 years.
To reach your objectives, you need the right people, with the right skills, at the right place in the organisation chart. The skills needed have evolved from administration tasks, to supplier identification and negotiation, and now to supplier relationship management, environmental and social issues and generally speaking to network management. The emphasis is therefore definitely moving from hard skills to soft skills, as businesses need people with leadership capacities, the ability to take initiatives, drive people and projects, communicate properly with all kind of people and finally make the right decisions. This evolution in skills requirements represents a significant change in the profiles required in today’s organisations.
The biggest challenge today in purchasing is to find talented people who are able to align themselves with the business drivers of the company.
In fact more than purchasing professionals, the people in purchasing today are real business drivers.
Having people with the right skills and mindsets is essential : purchasing also requires people capable of taking full ownership of new types of approaches and tools and more especially accept that old working ways and habits are not necessary the best.
Supplier-Relationship Development which allows the constant improvement of supplier’s performance is an integral part of purchasing professionals’ daily responsibilities. The clear objective is to develop and implement supplier strategies which will constantly offer improved quality and service, enhance innovation capture and improve ‘speed-to-market’ whilst constantly striving to eliminate all non value-adding costs from the system.
Another vital ingredient of the purchasing team is the leadership. Purchasing requires people with the leadership qualities and necessary communication skills and charisma to enable their companies to rapidly optimise purchasing in a multi-site, multi-cultural environment.
The purchasing organisation must have the right people (purchasing structure) and a rigorous management system in order to ensure implementation. The purchasing team must be composed of different types of profiles, based upon the roles and responsibilities involved and hard skills required but also based on personalities and soft skills.