Professionals of many parts

10 September 2013
I once heard the “most effective procurement professionals are conduits of all stakeholder input and must be dynamic in their approach. They must also be a reality check on unrealistic or unsustainable demands”. This made me think of the many different roles we carry out as purchasers. Here’s my own list: Buyer – Physically purchasing goods. Storeperson – Understanding stock management – and lack of. Salesperson – Selling ideas around best value to stakeholders and the benefit of your organisation to suppliers. Visionary – Seeing the bigger picture. Negotiator – Understanding your organisation’s worth or potential to a supplier in order to obtain best value. Fortune teller – Predicting how the future will impact on current direction. Lawyer – Having a working knowledge of applicable and current case law. Counsellor – Managing realistic stakeholder expectations and supplier disappointment at not being selected. Stakeholder – Investigating what is actually needed rather than what is wanted. Author – Articulate in writing what the need is in the tender documents. Interpreter – Tender submissions can often be open to interpretation, so we must ask: “Have they answered my question? What are they trying to tell me here?”. Judge (and jury) – Mediating and ruling 
on stakeholder and supplier concerns to maintain best value. Historian – Understanding what has happened in the past gives insight into how to avoid issues in the future. Primary school teacher – Explaining a clear tender process that a five-year-old, supplier or stakeholder understand. Leader – Taking charge of direction if obstacles are put in the way of progress. Mathematician/statistician – Devising scoring methodologies that are consistent, reflective and proportionate. Psychologist – Understanding what (really) drives stakeholder and providers. Reformer – Championing change GP – Knowing a little about a lot and how best to seek treatment for an ailment. Martyr – Preparing to sacrifice personal goals to conclude a successful agreement. Grafter – Working to ensure everyone is consulted, notes are kept, the law adhered to – and doing it all again the next day. Soldier – Engaging in friendly and hostile situations and adapting your response and strategy to suit the landscape in which you find yourself to bring the troops home safely. We are being taken seriously as guides during times of economic hardship. It’s our job to use every opportunity to promote our value to our organisations. The stage is ours, so let’s make the most of it.
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