What makes a procurement professional successful?
Do supply chain grads outperform their liberal arts colleagues? Do seasoned workers hit the ground running better than new grads? Are people with outgoing personalities better negotiators than introverts?
In other words, are there “procuremetrics”: objective traits that predict success of procurement professionals?
After more than 20 years in the industry, interviewing thousands of candidates, following the careers of hundreds of new hires and conducting a large state-of-the-industry survey – we say yes, there are defining traits. But, they’re not as clear cut as you might suspect.
Education vs. experience
Our research has shown that it does not matter if the procuremetrics skills are obtained through education or experience or a combination of both. As we explained in a recent whitepaper, “The Roles of Education & Experience in Procurement,” those in power have more education, but those with higher education are not all in power. In other words, education alone does not predict success.
Likewise, experience alone does not predict success and those who have non-traditional experience are as likely to succeed in their careers as the individuals who studied extensively or focused their career exclusively in supply chain or procurement.
Source One is an experienced consulting firm that many companies turn to in order to supplement or enhance their in-house strategic sourcing, procurement transformation, logistics or supply chain competencies. We’re often asked what are the specific backgrounds or educations that we look for in developing our own internal competencies. Our answer is simple: Smart Diversity. The background of our consulting team is incredibly diverse, and we feel that is a primary reason why our projects for our clients are so successful.
What is Smart Diversity?
We find that individuals with MIS backgrounds are well suited to reverse engineer just about any statements of work (SOWs) for just about any professional service, and they are also adept at proposing new ways to improve business processes.
Individuals who studied supply chain might have a better idea on how to manage international supply risks than your classically trained purchasing manager.
Meanwhile, finance majors and former accountants can help department heads understand total cost of ownership and help bring a longer-term view into the costs of a supplier relationship.
Former marketing professionals bring the creative process to traditional spend categories and encourage out of the box thinking.
Trained project managers tend to lend discipline to media buying and agency negotiations.
Engineers, if given the opportunity, can be incredibly good at building requirement documents and auditing product specifications, which ensures you pay too much for an overly specific product.
And the list goes on and on. The one underlying theme is that we recruit smart people.
In part 2 of this post, I’ll go through the 8 skill sets identified as ones that procurement professionals must master to be successful.
What kind of Smart Diversity do you have in your department? Do you have any “unlikely” candidates that turned out to be great assets to your team?
Ryann Kahn: Former Marketing and Communications Manager at Source One Management Services