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Top skills of a strategic procurement leader

By Scott Dance, Director of Hays Procurement & Supply Chain

The importance of procurement continues to go from strength to strength, and an increasing number of organisations are making the move from a tactical to a strategic procurement function.

Recent Hays research shows 71% of professionals want to move to a more senior position in the next two years. However, with fierce competition for top talent, and the function undergoing rapid evolution, organisations need to ensure their senior procurement staff are up to the challenge and equipped with the necessary skills.

Here are four essential skills that separate a good procurement executive from a great strategic leader.

1. Strong/Good communication

The study also shows 83% of employers rate communication as a top rated requirement from a senior professional. For some this may seem surprising but within procurement it is necessary for the smooth operation of their function. A good strategic leader must be able to communicate their processes and objectives to key stakeholders and the wider team as a whole to ensure constant success.

2. Relationship management

Relationship management is important for all procurement professionals and even more so at senior levels. Senior professionals should lead by example and demonstrate how to keep key suppliers happy, yielding the best possible prices and adding value for their organisation.

3. Influencing

In order for strategic managers to achieve desired goals, it’s important they are able to influence, persuade and encourage members of their teams. This skill will help the entire procurement function work towards the same goals.

4. Strong ability to negotiate

The ability to discover and articulate a solution to get through a challenge is an important skill to have as a senior leader within procurement. A successful negotiation occurs when all parties are satisfied with the outcome, therefore advanced negotiation skills are essential in developing long-running relationships with key suppliers as well as business stakeholders.

To find out more, or to discuss your recruitment needs, please contact your local consultant

About this author

Scott joined Hays in 2002 as a Trainee Consultant, and is now Director of Hays Procurement & Supply Chain. With over 15 years’ experience, Scott advises clients on workforce management solutions, works with the industry institute CIPS as a trusted knowledge partner, and provides strategic leadership to Hays’ procurement and supply chain recruitment experts.

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