Procurement professionals need to be great communicators ©123RF
Procurement professionals need to be great communicators ©123RF

Be visible and communicate, and other career lessons

7 September 2018

The CIPS Switzerland Branch has been interviewing Swiss-based CPOs

Here Daniela Hahn, head of strategic procurement at watch movements manufacturer ETA SA, shares some of her key lessons. 

1. Balance hard and soft

“Concentrate on the skills of your team. Creating the right balance between hard and soft skills is a task that should not be underestimated. Soft skills such as communication and entrepreneurship are much harder to learn than elaborate Excel sheets.”

2. Be visible and communicate

“The procurement function has to sell itself better than in the past. It’s key that the procurement professional is a great communicator, besides their analytical and negotiation skills – a person who turns themselves towards others. You either have this skill or you don’t. If you don’t, being located closer to your client [in a client-partnership organisational model] will not per se improve your performance. The CPO of the future will evolve [to be] a community manager, demonstrating leadership, the capacity to convince and to communicate.”

3. Reporting lines don’t matter

“I’ve worked in organisations where procurement reports to CEOs, COOs, CFOs or supply chain managers. In my opinion, the reporting line is not the key to success. [What matters] is the sponsorship, the willingness of executives to understand the challenges of our function. That drives sustainable performance.”

4. Change needs open minds

“Implementing new approaches needs open-minded people and management support, and an attitude to be ready at any moment for new challenges. Our industry is in constant evolution. Digitisation is a tool that only works when the organisation is ready for it and adapted to it. Getting your people motivated is key for changing things and getting recognised by your management.” 

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