Procurement Professionals – The Next Generation

July 10th, 2015

With the world of data and procurement changing every day, what are you looking for in the next generation of procurement professionals?


Today’s post is from our  SafeSourcing archive.

As competition for qualified procurement talent begins to increase with the departure of a strong Baby Boomer generation and the lack of an equivalent group of strong resources, managers must begin to rethink the talent they are searching for and explore new methods for getting the best associates possible.  Luckily there is an increase of institutions offering procurement and supply chain specific degrees and students that are actively pursuing these paths.  Today we will look at some of these new areas to focus on when beginning your searches for new employees.

Work with the Schools – A few weeks ago we posted a blog about the rising increase in universities who are bolstering their offering for degrees in Supply Chain Management and Procurement and in the rise in students seeking these degrees.  By working with the universities directly, you can ensure that your company is able to get the first pick at the best and the brightest.  As the stronger students in traditional areas like Law, Medicine and Engineering begin to move towards new untapped areas of business, this group of potential employees will get stronger and stronger.  Many times there are even groups of several universities that share common resources and hiring sites for all of their students to search.

Data Analysis Skills – We no longer live in a world that is going to continue to source based on face to face meetings and paper bids alone.  Whether or not you work with a 3rd party Strategic Sourcing company like SafeSourcing, the need to analyze and understand data is going to become critical as we move forward.  Pivot tables, excel skills and even some SQL knowledge will not just be nice-to-have skillsets they will be requirements.  Understanding where your potential candidates are in this area will help you to gauge how effective they can be for your team.  As with any sourcing project, the foundation of data you start with and provide vendors will set the stage for the success of the project and having data analytics skills are crucial to creating that foundation.

Deep VS Broad – This is one of the struggles of any procurement manager trying to hire for their team.  The case can be made for both sides.  On the one hand having an employee who has broad knowledge across several categories allows them to take on more projects and be effective immediately.  This type of experience is good when the team they are going to is smaller and needs a diverse experience.  Candidates with deep knowledge in a few of the more difficult areas such as construction, services or IT are also very important because the stakeholders in your company want to work with people who know what they are doing.  Larger procurement teams have the luxury of hiring more specialized candidates but in reality the ideal candidate will be a mix; someone who has a specialty area or two, but also has a broad level of experience in other areas.  Understanding the specific projects someone has worked on will be an important evaluation piece through the hiring process.

The team you build for your procurement department is changing as quickly as the landscape of procurement and new elements need to be focused on.  Skills in data analysis and broad category experience with a focus on a few complex areas are now key for delivering projects successfully and efficiently.  For more information about SafeSourcing can help fill in some of the experience categories or can assist you with spend analysis, or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Project Manager.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

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