Lack of ability to manage relationships is a key skills gap in procurement – survey

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28 August 2014 | Neus Magrinyà

Relationship management is the primary skill missing from procurement teams, according to a survey.

More than half (60.3 per cent) of the 120 purchasing professionals surveyed by ProcureCon Europe, cited it as a skills gap in their organisation, followed by risk analysis (51.7 per cent), and supply chain analysis (39.7 per cent).

The poll emphasised the importance of building relationships in order to achieve sustainable success, not only internally with stakeholders but also externally with suppliers.

Roger Davies, group head of procurement at Marks & Spencer, told the survey that relationship management and influencing skills were core to the role.

“In my experience procurement people can at times wait for opportunities to come to them rather than selling and pushing what they can offer, or encouraging people to pull on what they do,” he said.

The survey also found “leading change during transformation to continuously drive better results” was the top challenge for 65.5 per cent of buyers in the next year. Other significant tasks for the year ahead included “improving operation efficiency to sustain value creation” (62.1 per cent), and “creating talent to drive business growth form procurement” (60.3 per cent).

When asked how the procurement function would evolve over the next three years, just under two thirds of respondents thought the role would grow in importance, moving to making board level decisions. A fifth of those polled said their CPO already had a place on the board.

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