Five Types of Procurement Expertise

Do You Have These Types of Procurement Expertise?
The scope of procurement work has grown to include much more than it did 10, or even five, years ago. There are five areas of expertise that employers seek in their procurement team members.

1. Classic procurement expertise. Classic procurement expertise means being able to negotiate fantastic deals from suppliers. To analyze spend to identify exactly where savings opportunities are. To collaborate with suppliers to take out cost, improve performance and gain a competitive advantage.

2. Category expertise. Category expertise refers to thoroughly understanding the nuances of the products and services you are responsible for buying. Knowing what drives cost. Knowing what may constrain supplier capacity. Knowing the technical details necessary to ensure the optimum quality of delivered goods and performed services.

3. Interpersonal expertise. Today’s true procurement professionals are not the type of people that sit at a desk and stare at a computer screen the entire day. They inspire internal customers to comply with procurement initiatives. They persuade senior management to give support to procurement strategies and investments. They motivate cross-functional teams to succeed at their projects.

4. Industry expertise. Industry expertise means knowing how other similar organizations operate. What the business cycle is in that industry. What differentiates one competitor from another. And what possibilities there are beyond doing things the way the organization has always done them.

5. Organization expertise. To achieve maximum success in the team environment in business today, procurement professionals need to be familiar with the intricacies of their own organizations. Who are the people whose approval needs to be won? What processes must be followed to avoid bureaucratic delays? And what cultural constraints must be observed so that others don’t try to block the path to success?

This article originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of College Planning & Management.

About the Author

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3, is the president and chief procurement officer of the Next Level Purchasing Association (www.NextLevelPuchasing.com), a leading provider of procurement training and certification. He is also the lead author of The Procurement Game Plan: Strategies & Techniques for Supply Management Professionals. Prior to founding the Next Level Purchasing Association, Charles managed procurement for three leading organizations, including the University of Pittsburgh.

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