13 October 2008 | Jake Kanter
If you are not willing to promote the purchasing profession, you should not be involved in it, says a leading businesses thinker.
According to René Carayol, conference speaker and author, if buyers want to become good leaders, they have to embrace and promote the profession.
It follows a live survey that found 23 per cent of buyers would be "unlikely" to or would "never" encourage their children to enter procurement. Only 19 per cent said they would "absolutely" recommend a purchasing career.
"If you answered 'never' or 'unlikely', what the hell are you doing in this profession?" said Carayol. "If you're really proud [of procurement] then you've got to be ambassadors."
Belinda Prince, procurement director at Cancer Research, said she had already advised her step-son to embark on a purchasing career. "I think it's a wonderful time to come into the profession and the opportunities out there are fantastic."
The straw poll also revealed 70 per cent of the audience believed not being able to attract talent was the main issue facing procurement. The result was the same as an equivalent poll conducted at the event last year. Carayol urged buyers to set aside their "fix on failure" and become more visionary. He added the profession must sell and communicate better if it is to attract quality entrants.
Stephen Hemmingsley, leadership programme graduate at Rolls Royce, said: "I think it is a really attractive area to enter and I think more high calibre graduates are looking to get into purchasing."
The delegates were also asked what the key focus should be for future procurement leaders. Some 78 per cent said relationship management, while 10 per cent believed it was sustainability issues. Just over a quarter of purchasers said enthusiasm was their greatest leadership skill.