10 Best practices for procurement managers in 2020

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LindaAshok_100.jpgBy Linda Ashok
A content, communications and branding professional

So many things are slated to change in 2020, the milestone year! But what matters most is your career; how is it going to prepare you as a procurement manager? Okay, let me clarify that there isn't any significant difference between a Purchasing or Procurement Manager. Of course, you know it because you are in the procurement arena already.

Typically, a procurement manager's job description entails the following:
• Partner with the category teams and leaders in developing and implementing strategies to drive significant value from the supplier base
• Conduct in-depth research on existing and emerging trends, identifying new technology/solutions, screening potential new suppliers, and performing complex analytical studies
• Manage relationships with key suppliers, developing negotiation strategies, and conducting negotiatio
• Lead critical process improvement projects and drive higher value for the operating companies.
• Consult internal functional areas such as marketing, R&D, operations, logistics, legal, and corporate functions

With such expectations in mind, an aspiring procurement manager must possess modern skillsets that organizations will seek in 2020. In this article, we cover both the elementary and advanced expectations from the role of a procurement manager.

1. Supplier evaluation

The ability to evaluate is a crucial skill. You have to apply your analytical acumen in evaluating a supplier before contracting him for your company. Before your company signs a contract with a particular supplier, you will have to assess the supplier. You have to run due diligence of pricing, quality, delivery capacity, supply chain transparency in the production of your goods, and many more.

2. Interviewing vendors

During your interview for the role of a procurement manager with your concerned organization or department, you'll have to inform the panel on how you are going to conduct vendor interviews so that the company benefits the maximum from your vendor selection. In addition to that, to select vendors, you have to talk to them in person, learn about their products and services.

3. Site visits

If you are the introvert kind, then it is time you put in efforts to overcome that aspect. As a senior procurement professional, you'll go for site visits to understand your supplier. You'll be responsible for the induction of the new supplier through various evaluations, including manufacturing, storing, and shipping arrangements.

4. External outreach

As a purchasing/procurement manager, you will always be on the toes to learn and assimilate new things. We would be required to attend summits, conferences, and be up-to-date with the latest industry trends. You'll be at the helm of understanding new product launches in the market, conditions influencing sales, and other miscellanies.

5. Pricing audit

As a procurement manager, your company will expect your leadership to figure bast pricing in the market. The better pricing you win for your company, the more you can demonstrate your market authority. For every acquisition, you'll be in charge of analyzing pricing proposals and the company's financial record before attempting negotiation.

6. Contract negotiation

Are you good at bargaining? If you are determined to take your career to the next level, then negotiation is a crucial skill. You'll have to negotiate a contract without compromising either in quality or quantity. Furthermore, a well-negotiated deal gives your organization the edge over market competitors in terms of saving against procurement.

7. Supplier collaboration

As a procurement manager, you'll be responsible for a steady workflow. It is on you to strike a collaborative rapport with your suppliers, so that product shipment is always smooth. If your working style has been very individualistic so far, then try and study the dynamics of people management.

8. Inhouse collaboration

Procurement managers, in most cases, can win over suppliers. However, to earn the confidence of in-house staff members becomes a concern. It will be on you and the management how you'd train your staff members on quality and quantity expectations. The better you prepare, the more you'll be able to command success in your business.

9. Periodic review

It is not over yet. Post-contract-signing, you'll have to be vigilant about suppliers fulfilling agreed-upon terms. You have to handle it very diplomatically. Keeping a watch on the contract ensures timely revision and adjustments to the clauses as per prevalent market conditions, and services/provisions are fulfilling business requirements.

Conclusion

Finally, you are now completely aware of the expected role and responsibilities of a procurement manager. While you can easily apply for opportunities if you have the above skills already, you may just need a few months to train yourself, ready for the next jump. What you have to keep in mind is that at all times, you should be self-motivated and enterprising. In addition to that, it is possible that next summer, you may be working with Zycus as my colleague and helping us scale our procurement strategy.

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