Author: Nigel Wardropper, Managing Director, PASA
Over the last few weeks I have had numerous discussions with senior procurement leaders about the current state of procurement and where its future lies. These discussions have primarily been as I have been developing the programme for the 3rd Annual Premier ConfeX and pick up the theme of two articles we have published recently – ‘The Disappearing world of procurement’ and ‘The changing world of procurement’.
As I have commented on previously, there does seem to be, at the senior level at least, a clear recognition of the direction that procurement needs to head if it is to deliver sustainable value in the future. During these discussions the conversation invariably turns towards people and the skills and attributes they require to excel in this new world of procurement. We are looking for people with strong EQ or emotional intelligence, people with broad knowledge and often specialised knowledge within particular categories, of course we want them to be technically proficient in procurement, we want them to have a good commercial understanding of the business and how it works, and the list goes on. As Gerard Chick, co-author of The Procurement Value Proposition, writes in his piece published by PASA this week entitled “Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form”, we are looking for Mr and Ms Impossible.
So how do we develop these ‘super-people’ who are going to drive procurement value for their organisations in the future? Do we recruit for the EQ or soft skills and train the technical proficiencies? How do we develop the broad commercial understanding either in a general sense or specific to our particular business? Where do we find these people – inside the business or out? Can people schooled in traditional purchasing practices be developed to fill these roles? Opinions vary on the answers to these questions, but overwhelmingly the view among people I talk to is that you need to recruit for the skills that you can’t teach, such as EQ or soft skills, and train the rest.
While the technical procurement training is readily available from a plethora of sources, how do we develop the less tangible skills and knowledge that our new super-people need? In my opinion one of the best ways is by exposing people to new ideas and providing them opportunities to hear and discuss what others are doing; to raise the bar in terms of what they expect of themselves and what their organisations increasingly expect of them.
As mentioned previously, many of these conversations I have had recently have been as I am developing the programme for the 3rd Annual Premier ConfeX in October. These issues therefore will feature strongly in the 32 seminar sessions that will provide attendees with an unprecedented opportunity to gain exposure to how others are working with their business to deliver value, and how they are developing the necessary skills and capabilities. I anticipate releasing the programme in the next week or so – so watch this space.
The 3rd Annual PASA Premier ConfeX takes place at Crown Promenade in Melbourne on 14th & 15th October. This will be the largest event for the procurement profession in the region this year. For more information, click here.