Procurement and supply chain professionals must be aware of and strive to improve their emotional intelligence. It has a key impact in negotiations. Soft skills are becoming more important - even in the digital age.
Running a procurement or supply chain organization poses unique leadership challenges. These organizations are constantly “fighting fires,” handling unique crises, and influencing a broad network of people - internally and externally.
Jack Welch once noted that the only two departments that drive revenue directly to the bottom line are sales and procurement. He noted that the other departments were basically overhead. I would also include supply chain professionals in this revenue generating group.
Why do organizations continue to use high priced consultants and consulting firms instead of their own talented employees? Before I answer this, I must confess that I am an experienced consultant having worked for both small and large consulting firms.
Over the past two decades, procurement has made great strides in transitioning from a transactional, back-office function to a strategic, value-adding organization. However, the hard work is far from over. Procurement has fought to get a seat at the table with c-level executives, but now it’s time for procurement to prove that it deserves that seat and can keep it.
Procurement’s role in an organization touches across many departments, suppliers, countries, and competitors. This situation requires that procurement professionals possess excellent communication skills and the ability to quickly adapt to different cultures, perspectives and crises.
There are times when “no” or “not interested” are positive words. If we contact a supplier and we find out that “no, we don’t owe money”, a “no” can sound lyrically poetic. If we are getting robo-called and the company finally understands that “do not call” means “not interested,” life is good and these words have served our purpose well.
However, “no” or “not interested” are not our favorite words during a job search. Even if we decide that “this is not for me” and we don’t like the job, the team or the company, those words smart when we find out that the feeling is mutual.
Procurement and sales are two vital business functions with varied processes that are often described as opposites. Some companies may find these two departments at odds with each other as they argue which one is more important for the vitality of the organization.