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25 November 2013

Key skills for procurement professionals identified

Content team

There are three different types of skills which all procurement professionals should possess, one expert has claimed.

Peter Smith of Spend Matters UK and author of the paper 'The Four Faces of Procurement' said while each of the skills pay vary importance, each is vital to doing the role effectively.

The first ability he highlighted is technical skills. He pointed out that this the first area of training as it involves all the "how to do" skills. It includes learning about category management, strategic sourcing and negotiation or contract management.

"Of course this can be broken down further to the level of market analysis, demand planning and many others," Mr Smith explained. "But I’d argue it goes well beyond this. Project management or financial skills are vital in many procurement roles, and are technical skills in themselves."

Next up is behavioural skills and attributes. Here, Mr Smith highlighed the fact this is an area is harder to teach and some overlap with aspects of technical skills, such as communication.

Some cannot even be taught at all, such as integrity, but he feels that, in general, a list of behaviours and attitudes can be drawn up and adhered to.

Lastly, he highlighted category specific skills and knowledge.

"We might argue this is part of those 'technical' skills, but this feels like it is sufficiently different to the other two skill groups to consider separately. Here, it is usually a combination of skills and relatively 'hard' knowledge," Mr Smith wrote.

A skill in this area might include analysing futures markets or being able to understand complicated energy agreements. Knowledge would involve understanding a certain market and its main players.

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) recently said that procurement professionals should be made to obtain licenses in order to practice.

The body feels this would ensure that people are fit and proper for their role, preventing crises in supply chain and protecting customers.

David Noble, global chief executive of CIPS, said that supply-side risks are "getting out of control" and licensing workers formally would help to ensure the stability of operations.
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Content team, Bureau van Dijk

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