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7 Things Every Procurement Specialist Should Know


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Whether you’re a seasoned procurement specialist or just starting in the field, certain tips and tricks can help you get the best value for your organization. Procurement professionals need to be able to find the best suppliers, negotiate good deals and ensure their company is compliant with all relevant regulations. Here are seven pieces of advice that every procurement professional should know. 

Procurement is an interdependent industry 

“You could do the best job in the world of buying but if your installer doesn't perform, then you still don't have a project”

Procurement is a complex industry that involves the transfer of goods and services between business entities. This often requires careful coordination, as every contributor is indispensable in ensuring a successful end product. For example, it may require bringing together multiple vendors to provide different components that go into the manufacturing process simultaneously. Procurement also allows businesses to purchase materials at the best price while having access to the latest technology available on the market. Since all parts are interdependent, any disruptions along the supply chain can affect the entire operation and cause delays or even failure of the project. Therefore, a skilled procurement team is essential for managing dependencies across all services or products required for the completion of tasks.

Learn How To Manage Expectations

Happy clients have well-managed expectations. Before starting the procurement process, establish clear goals and objectives for your project so that everyone involved knows what needs to be accomplished. This will help ensure that all parties are on the same page and that there is no confusion or miscommunication down the line.

A successful procurement project requires a great deal of careful planning and meticulous management of client expectations. Learning how to manage client expectations is key to having a successful project outcome. Setting the right tone with your clients from the start is essential; they need to be heard, respected and kept updated with timely information. Understanding what the client wants and communicating clear objectives as well as realistic deadlines are all important factors in keeping their expectations managed throughout the duration of the project. Additionally, it's important to outline any potential risks that could arise during the project and how to address them if necessary. Ultimately, learning how to properly manage expectations can help build trust and increase collaboration with your clients for a successful procurement project.

Be Ready To Adapt To New Cultures

Globalization has opened the markets to different strongholds. Working in procurement means having to source from suppliers from all over the world. In an age of interconnected global commerce, the supply chain can span continents, crossing countries, and cultures in its wake. It is often a challenge to navigate so many different customs, languages, and regulations, but it yields its rewards; mainly access to a diverse range of resources and product innovation opportunities. With careful management and planning building bridges between the different cultures that are inevitably woven into the supply chain can yield exceptional results.

Good vendor relationships will allow you to go above and beyond

Good vendor relationships are essential in procurement, allowing you and your team to go beyond the normal buying process. By understanding what your vendors need, you can build trust between the two parties, ensuring that each partner is working towards mutually beneficial goals. This will provide access to more specialized products and services that can better meet customer demands and help you gain a competitive edge. Additionally, building relationships with reliable suppliers can be an important factor in cost management as vendors understand their partners' needs and preferences, making them more likely to give discounts when appropriate. Furthermore, investing in quality vendor relations also provides access to valuable industry knowledge and advice which can come in handy when making critical business decisions. All-in-all, Good vendor relationships are crucial for success in procurement and should be treated as part of a long-term plan.

Freight distribution is not your only option 

Procurement specialists are strategists. When push comes to shove, cast a wide net of options. 

Freight transportation may be the first choice when it comes time to ship goods or materials, but if you need a project done right and in a timely manner, you have to think beyond the traditional. Creative solutions can include utilizing multiple modes of transportation, using third-party logistics services to deliver on a tight timeline, researching non-traditional sources of packing materials, or even seeking out alternate supply chains. By putting thought and effort into researching each of these options, you can be sure that your project will succeed despite challenging deadlines or complex needs.

It’s always important to have a contingency plan in place in case something goes wrong during the procurement process or after a contract has been signed with a vendor. Having a backup plan can help protect against unexpected delays or problems down the line while keeping costs manageable if something does go wrong unexpectedly during the project timeline.

Cheaper isn't always better

In procurement, it's easy to be tempted by the cheapest option, but this strategy is often counterproductive. Not only can it put you at risk in regard to the quality or durability of a product, but it also comes with other hidden costs. For example, if a cheaper product requires more maintenance or repairs down the road, that could result in long-term expenses as well as financial losses associated with delayed projects and services. Additionally, coming in under budget may not make up for such pitfalls. That's why it's important to calculate risks before jumping on board with a particularly low-cost option. Taking into account factors such as price, quality assurance and overall value can help ensure that you are making the best decision for your organization's bottom line in both the short and long term.

Enjoy the challenge!

In the world of purchasing and supply chain management, there is no such thing as a formula for success. The reality is that this ever-evolving field of work is full of surprises. At any moment an element out of the blue can be thrown into the mix and set off a chain reaction leading to unforeseen results. While it's natural to want guaranteed outcomes when dealing with procurement, it's impossible to predict what will happen in a dynamic environment like the supply chain. The best approach is learning to accept and embrace the unpredictable nature of the process - by approaching every situation with optimism, you may be delightfully surprised with the outcome.

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Published Dec 20, 2022