Are your procurement people square pegs in round holes?

Square pegs

Your procurement department is missing the mark somehow, and you can’t put your finger on the cause. You’ve invested in a team of top people, but they’re not delivering the results you want.

Your procurement manager is great at evaluating suppliers and finding the best in the business. But as for negotiating skills – she’s more at home negotiating a pay rise than getting the best deals from your suppliers.

And your procurement specialist just doesn’t seem too interested in building supplier relationships.  However, you’ve noticed that he’s negotiated everything from his working hours to his dress code (he absolutely will not wear a tie to work).  He also made negotiating his next holiday schedule a piece of cake – backed up with solid reasons why he absolutely has to visit Machu Picchu in June, even though the end of the financial year means you need all hands on deck.

The contracts manager you hired is doing well in most areas, but when it comes to measuring supplier performance, it’s always mañana.

It’s time for some serious role reversal strategies, maybe after some personality profiling.

The art of negotiation.

You need a gun negotiator, but one who can also see the supplier side of the equation. Your procurement specialist could fit the bill, but his negotiation skills will need to be honed – and he may just have to consider rescheduling his trip. A one-way negotiator who tries to strong-arm your suppliers won’t make for a great supplier relationship.  Negotiation is an art and to get the best deal, both sides have to agree.

Building positive supplier relationships.

So you can remove any negotiations from your procurement manager’s job description. Let her do what she does best – source and manage your suppliers and develop positive relationships with them to ensure that your business expectations align and everything hums along.

Service needs monitoring.

Your contracts manager needs to learn that it is vital to have key performance indicators in place to be able to effectively monitor the level of service from your suppliers. And that means regular, on-going monitoring to ensure that service level agreement terms are met.

It’s also a great way to ascertain if there are any changes required to a service level agreement to keep it in line with supplier updates or product or service enhancements. An outdated service level agreement with its relevant monitoring mechanisms could hold back valuable supplier benefits from your company.

Upskilling your procurement workforce.

Now that you’ve made the relevant changes to your procurement people’s job descriptions, it’s time to back up your actions with some savvy training decisions. Upskilling your procurement people will reward them – and you – big time.

The Academy of Procurement has courses that will help all of your procurement staff improve their performance – and make them feel valued in your organisation.

Their sessions are usually in the form of Workshops, led by experienced facilitators. Learning in a less formal environment than a classroom means less stress on participants.

So your procurement specialist will learn how to negotiate effectively. Your procurement manager will find out how to enhance supplier relationships, and your contracts manager will learn about building a contract management plan, developing a service level agreement and establishing workable key performance indicators.

And that’s not all. A major benefit of attending an Academy of Procurement Workshop is that your procurement staff will meet others who either have similar experiences to theirs, or have a different perspective that could open minds to new possibilities.

Have a chat with us about how you can improve the performance of your Procurement staff through our training programs or our corporate E-learning.

For chalk and talk, see our open training calendar for a session, date, location and time that suits you.


Phone +61 (03) 8547 3940