When HR outlines skills for procurement professionals, they find that much has changed in the purchasing, procurement and supply chain industry within the last 20 years. Whereas a bachelor’s degree was often sufficient in the past, the educational bar has been raised for those seeking careers in purchasing, procurement and supply chain management.

Beyond the stereotypical master’s degrees and professional certifications, there has been a growing strategic value of these roles in organizations. Today, the industry looks for skills for procurement professionals beyond a candidate’s technical proficiencies.

A study by Deloitte Access Economics predicts that soft skill-intensive occupations will account for two-thirds of all jobs by 2030. Considered the hidden gems of career growth, their value is chronicled, with studies showing their impact on productivity, career advancement, and rising to meet the shifting needs of the modern workplace.

Adaptability:

If there is anything the recent pandemic has taught us all, it is that we live in an unpredictable age. From disruptions in the supply chain to volatile prices to evolving regulations, it’s one curveball after another!

How quickly could you respond to the demands of change? How do you manage a sudden change to production schedules? Does your plan account for altered distribution routes? Can you pivot quickly enough to shift suppliers when needed?

An adaptable advantage may include how quickly you can come up with alternate options. It’s being quick on your feet to minimize disruptions. It’s that prowess in problem-solving and a proactive mindset to develop contingency plans.

Collaboration

Collaboration is integral to a cohesive partnership, whether it involves sharing updates and information, aligning strategies or liaising responses and change updates with all stakeholders.

Here are some situations where collaboration may be required: clearly communicating objectives, drafting shared KPIs and monitoring progress to ensure all stakeholders are on track towards common targets.

More importantly, when challenges inevitably arise, collaborative supply chain professionals work to resolve them constructively. A bachelor’s degree doesn’t necessarily guarantee one’s ability to bring the right people together. In times like these, troubleshooting, identifying root causes and developing mutually beneficial solutions to roadblocks encountered are the soft skills that rise to such occasions.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ):

Having EQ equates to having an arsenal of self-awareness, empathy, effective communication, relationship-building, and conflict-resolution skills.

Keeping one’s emotions in check and understanding how they may impact decision-making is a display of self-awareness. It’s maintaining composure when interacting during negotiations. It’s also how quickly one can ‘regroup’ and adapt to changes with a positive attitude.

Competent Communication:

Effective Communication is another soft skill in tasks such as supplier relationship management, demand forecasting, sourcing, logistics, inventory management, risk management, and crisis response.

These skills facilitate collaboration, problem-solving, and efficient operations within the supply chain. They relay needs, specifications and terms and conditions when dealing with suppliers. They ensure the right products are sourced at the best prices and likewise facilitate internal departments’ collaboration to align procurement strategies with organizational goals while being guided by budget constraints.

Embrace the Unexpected

Developing these unexpected skills may initially seem daunting. Nevertheless, lifelong learning is key. Seek opportunities to hone your emotional intelligence, master data visualization, and become a collaborative leader. With dedication and practice, you’ll unlock a world of possibilities, build stronger relationships, and elevate your procurement career to new heights.

Visit NLPA Learning, the new home to all our certifications and online courses. The Learning site also includes learning resources, including live and on-demand webinars, publications and reports, articles, templates, white papers, and more!

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Published On: March 20th, 2024Comments Off on Unexpected Skills Every Procurement Pro Needs
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