FIVE TOP TIPS for someone new to procurement

Someone raised an important question about what should a newcomer to the procurement profession be thinking about, if they wish to make a splash in joining the function.

Here’s my top five tips:

  1. Be humble. Learn from everyone. From your colleagues in the function and from other stakeholders. You’re going to be on a step learning curve, and you won’t have the answers yet. Embrace the learning experience and don’t be too pushy in offering your solutions. Your boss will respect your desire to learn.
  2. Understand the role Procurement plays in the organisation. Do senior executives and stakeholder functions consider the function strategic, or is it considered more of an operational support function? Different business sectors have differing expectations of the role; some high, some less so.
  3. Understand the Procurement strategy. What are the CPO’s goals and targets? Try and get your own contribution clearly defined, so you have real clarity on what you have to do.
  4. Be patient. Learn those technical procurement skills that help you bring tangible value to the organisation. Accept that becoming truly competent will take time, and that stakeholders will expect you to be developing and demonstrating expertise. Being nice and collaborative won’t be enough. You need to add value.
  5. Recognise that managing supply chains and suppliers is not all collaboration and ‘partnering’. Sometimes you have to be tough, and even unforgiving, if supplier performance is poor. Your internal stakeholders will expect you to be no pushover. You might want to prioritise developing your negotiation skills, as your ability to influence internally and externally is going to be particularly important.

What would you add?

Oh, and if you’re having any doubts about your ability, then watch this. 🙂


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