Dustin Cochran was named a 2020 Pro to Know by Supply and Demand Chain Executive for the third time in recognition of his leadership in helping organizations improve the efficiency of their supply chains to meet changing customer expectations.
Procurement leaders continue to experience an imbalance when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. This imbalance is created in part due to a perceived lack of the aura of status within the procurement function, but primarily due to the evolving requirements of the modern procurement department.
In a recent survey conducted by Deloitte, 87% of respondents agree that talent is the single greatest factor in driving procurement performance.
While the requirements of procurement within departments is evolving, procurement roles are struggling to keep up. Procurement departments need professionals who have expertise in many areas like data visualization, supplier engagement, specialized category knowledge - skills that extend beyond traditional spend management.
For instance, the tactical buyer might be the right individual to negotiate with a supplier to save 5%, but are they the right person to build a relationship with HR stakeholders? The procurement practitioners of the past might be the right people to negotiate terms and conditions, but do they know how the company’s marketing plan is evolving over the next 12-18 months? Are they equipped with the soft skills necessary to be successful in advancing the strategic objectives of procurement?
More often, procurement leaders are finding that their teams lack the skills necessary to deliver on their goals and objectives – creating a talent gap in procurement that is becoming increasingly more common.
The following strategic approaches are just a few ways to close the talent gap in procurement:
Identify Talent Gaps
While expectations of procurement have significantly changed, the approach for managing and hiring talent has not. A new approach to identifying the skill gap is to look more widely at the strengths and weaknesses of your existing employees to discover what’s missing through skill testing. A skills assessment will provide a solid benchmark to further investigate a lack of skills.
Ultimately, this will provide a solution to procurement leaders to know what initiatives to take, what training is necessary, and what will be needed from future hires.
Invest in Current Talent Development to Tackle Staff Shortage
Deloitte’s survey reported over half of CPOs believing their teams do not have the necessary skills to deliver on their procurement strategy and that the recruitment market is becoming more challenging.
Despite this, very little is being spent on training procurement staff that is already employed or focusing on the deployment of talent development strategies. Putting a procurement department’s current staff at the center of their strategy will leave employees feeling a sense of value, encourage professional growth, and open doors for advancement.
Focus on Talent Development
Positive working conditions keep procurement professionals at the top of their game. One way to encourage a positive corporate culture is to foster relationships with employees to make sure they feel that they are an invaluable asset in today’s competitive workforce. Open communication, good management, and encouraging professional growth, are all important factors that can ensure a procurement department will have employees that are motivated and committed.
Procurement departments are starting to hire individuals that look more like salespeople or leaders that come from the business (such as “marketing gurus”) rather than the typical procurement hires of the past. These individuals are ideally suited to build relationships internally, foster change management, find the levers of value and execute upon them via long-term strategic supplier partnerships.
Procurement can become a destination for high performing individuals across the business, a role that exposes them to wide cross-sections of the company.
How Can Your GPO Partner Help?
Group purchasing organizations (GPOs) can connect procurement departments that feel overstretched, burdened by a talent gap or experience limited bandwidth, with internal subject matter experts, capable of aiding evaluation and change management. Also, by leveraging the resources available through their membership & supplier network (thousands of professionals, sales leaders, and executives), a modern GPO can help enhance your procurement strategy and drive efficiency. Savvy procurement departments are leveraging their GPO partner to complement and extend their team.
By leveraging strategic external advocates, like OMNIA Partners, procurement professionals can gain access to more resources, broaden their staff skills, and save time for their teams to dedicate to more strategic focuses, like talent development and internal relationship management.
The team of procurement and supply chain management experts at OMNIA Partners are committed to bringing value to your procurement team to form a true partnership.
Learn more about how OMNIA Partners can act as an extension of your team.