Procurement professionals have one of the most important jobs in the supply chain. The procurement team is essential because without the right supplies, you can’t function as a business. You also need people who will fight to get you the best pricing so you can keep your budget minimized throughout the manufacturing process.

Here are some of the top skills all procurement professionals should know before they start working with your company.

Time Management

Managing initial quotes until they become done deals takes a lot of time and energy. Procurement professionals have to understand how to time shipments and orders correctly in order to prevent downtime. Businesses need to purchase supplies like clockwork in order to keep operations running smoothly. That’s why time management is an essential skill that every procurement employee should have from the get-go.

Persistence

Purchasing managers know that you have to constantly attack a deal to get the outcome you desire. The first offer you receive is hardly every what you want, so it takes persistent attention to refine it until it’s benefiting to your business. Procurement professionals need to have persistence to secure deals that are in line with the company’s production goals.

Relationship Building

The procurement team is responsible for managing and cultivating strong vendor relationships that lead to excellent products and services. These individuals must understand what it takes to build long-lasting relationships with industry professionals. Having a good relationship with a vendor gives you a level of trust and accountability that simply cannot exist in a short-term situation. Once you’ve developed vendor relationships, you can depend on them to help you get the right solution no matter what it takes.

Negotiation

When working with vendors, negotiation is a skill that procurement professionals need to have. The best negotiators are not only able to persuade the other party to accept new terms, but to create a perception of a win-win situation where everyone’s happy. This allows vendors to see how the offer benefits them while becoming more willing to your demands. Procurement employees are constantly using their negotiation skills to get better pricing, extra benefits, and perks that otherwise would not be accessible.

Financial Responsibility

The purchasing team needs to be fiscally responsible. They are dealing with large amounts of money and budgets that operate on a fine line of success. In order to make sure the company’s funds are well-spent, a procurement specialist needs a good understanding of how different prices affect the overall budget. This financial understanding helps them fight for the lowest prices and the best deals. Even when the budget isn’t running thin, they know that any money saved creates a winning situation because now there’s funding for somewhere else.

Adaptability

Whether you’re dealing with rising material costs or the growing need for sustainability, you need procurement professionals who know how to adapt to changes with confidence. It would be great if everything stayed the same, but when you’re running a business, you know that keeping up with new innovations and opportunities is key to success. That’s why your procurement employees should have the ability to adapt when things start to shift. This important skill allows them to find better pricing, better materials, and better options for your business.

Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking allows an individual to see beyond the everyday needs of the business in order to respond quickly to changes in demand or potential setbacks in the supply chain. This could be remembering the date of a stretch film increase and ordering new supplies before prices go up. It could also mean having a procurement plan in place for the upcoming holiday season and making sure every vendor knows that hefty orders are coming soon. Every procurement professional needs to see the bigger picture and be able to plan accordingly.

It’s important to look for these skills when hiring for your procurement team because you need them to be an advocate for your company. They are developing and maintaining relationships that drastically affect your business, so it’s critical you select individuals who are dependable and capable of the tasks at hand. If your procurement team demonstrates these specific skills, you’re sure to find a successful purchasing strategy.