Are you a procurement professional?
Professionalism in procurement can be defined as the practical and visible application of qualities and competencies covering knowledge, appropriate skills and behaviors. In a general sense, professionalism comes from knowing one has done a good job to the best of one’s ability.
Working within the area of professional procurement requires solid experience of the commercial world and also a deep rooted understanding of the strategy and goals of the business you are in. Today’s procurement professional is faced with having to make many decisions some of which may have long term implications. Making high quality decisions in a short amount of time with confidence is a requisite competency for success in procurement.
Education and Training
A basic understanding of economics, finance and the operation of a business or entity can be gained from formal studying. For a person to achieve the level of professionalism that is expected procurement competencies need to be learnt, both on-the-job and in the classroom. Professionalism in procurement cannot be achieved without education and training in both technical and soft skills but it doesn’t stop there. A genuine curiosity about relevant news and events is useful to keep on top of the latest thinking and techniques.
A procurement professional has an in-depth understanding of the whole process from sourcing goods and services through to completion and exiting of contracts.
There are many sub-processes that are vital to a successful operation of a business including negotiating and contracting with suppliers, supplier relationship management and the need for compliance and risk mitigation. Any person with aspirations to become a senior manager in procurement should be well versed in both the sourcing and contracting processes as well as transactional purchasing.
Professionalism and ethics
Professionalism in procurement and ethics both relate to proper conduct. Ethics covers the conduct and moral principles recognized as appropriate within the profession. Most world class procurement teams work within a code of ethics which covers issues such as disclosure, fairness, objectivity and transparency. It is recommended that leading procurement professionals exhibit an understanding of these concepts and identify with them.
There is an overwhelming agreement amongst procurement professionals that being able to effectively negotiate with suppliers and deliver quality procurement solutions requires a wider range of skills than many other professions. Professional procurement is not only about functional knowledge, the ability to develop strong relationship management skills and to be able to communicate clearly in writing and verbally are also critical.
So what is professionalism in procurement?
Procurement has established itself with an important strategic role to play in leading organizations. Professionals will regularly scan and know their industry, their markets, their supplier base and work to derive more value. Procurement professionals will understand the policies and processes, be able to communicate effectively and be able to make good decisions based on facts.