Expert Purchasing Management, A Review, Part II

To emphasize my point that I believe Next Level Purchasing‘s new course Expert Purchasing Management is worth your time and dollars, with kind permission, I am going to dive into a few topics covered in the course that I believe illustrate the expert advice contained within the course.

The course begins by noting that there are four critical areas to the success of a purchasing department.

  • Organizational Perceptions of Purchasing
    if you’re not perceived as effective, your internal customers will try to bypass you instead of working with you
  • Purchasing Performance Measurements
    since management often only cares about metrics
  • Purchasing Staff Skill Levels
    since purchasing today requires top notch skill sets
  • Purchasing Staff Morale
    as a happy employee is a productive employee

It provides methodologies to gather intelligence on organizational perceptions and paint a clear picture, to determine how purchasing is measured and how well it is performing, to determine current staff skill levels and gaps between what the skill levels should be, and to improve morale.

A little over halfway through the course in lesson five it points out that a purchasing manager must act independently. A purchasing manager must be a leader and not a doer and not fall into the trap of doing the buyers work for them – as this will ensure the manager never has time to focus on department strategy, improvements, and cost savings and reduction innovation. It provides some good tips to help purchasing managers from falling into the trap of doing a buyers work for them, which include:

  • adding “works independently and solves problems with a minimum of management assistance” on performance evaluations
  • holding weekly meetings to encourage buyers to share challenges and solutions with their colleagues
  • encouraging buyers to think through situations and develop several potential solutions on their own – they should only come to you for advice on choosing the best solution

Finally, near the end (in lesson seven) it notes that, when it comes to eSourcing systems, sometimes less in more and when evaluating such systems you should only use a basic capabilities checklist and not detailed specifications (even though the sponsors of Sourcing RFP Template might disagree). Specifically, detailed specifications have the following disadvantages:

  • specifications can be slanted to a particular provider
  • strict specifications may penalize more cost-effective software which actually does 90% of what you want and 99% of what you really need
  • strict specifications could result in a provider adding functionality that could then become a foundation for a patent dispute, which could be a problem for you if you are using the only instance with that customization

Finally, the course provides you with a starting capabilities checklist that you can use when evaluating eSourcing solutions.

I hope this has given you some more insight into the importance of continued education and appropriate courses for your professional development and why I believe the Expert Purchasing Management course and the Senior Professional in Supply Management certification is most likely worth your time and investment as a procurement professional.