Are Your Team’s Procurement Skills Up To Snuff?

Are you a supervisor, manager, or executive struggling to get the same performance out of your team that leading purchasing departments appear to be getting out of theirs? Are you wondering why this is the case? Then maybe you should consider getting your team profiled.

Although there could be a dozen reasons why your team is not performing at the level you think they should be (skyrocketing raw material and energy prices are significant components of your spend, inappropriate unbreakable multi-year agreements, lack of proper tools to get the job done, etc.), the reality is that you’ll probably never know which is the right reason until you start investigating different hypotheses. And the hypothesis that you should start with is that your team may not have the skills they need to compete against the leaders in today’s procurement landscape.

The skills an average procurement professional needs today are not the skills that an average procurement professional needed ten years ago. It’s not anybody’s fault, but that doesn’t mean you get to sweep the potential problem under the rug. It means you investigate the possibility that maybe your team, including you, could use a bit of polishing and, if it turns out to be the case, do something about it. The leaders are leaders for a reason – they recognize that in today’s world, you can’t ever stand still and you can’t ever stop learning, and they take steps to identify their weaknesses and improve them all the time.

So start by getting an independent third-party skills profile to find out where you are and where you should improve. One possibility is Next Level Purchasing‘s Purchasing Assessment of Skills for Success (PASS) Program, which they offer for free to qualified companies. Although it is, of course, based on the seven dimensions their Senior Professional in Supply Management (SPSM) program is based on, it’s still a good measure of whether or not your staff have the basic skills they need to do well at their jobs.

The PASS program uses a Web-based skills assessment based on 56 multiple choice questions designed to assess competence in seven key skill areas:

  • Purchasing Fundamentals
  • Analysis & Spreadsheets
  • Contract Law
  • Project Management
  • Purchasing Best Practices
  • Sourcing
  • Negotiation

Once your team completes the test, Next Level Purchasing creates a color coded report for each employee across the seven competency areas that indicates whether each employee is highly skilled in the area (green), moderately skilled in the area (yellow), or under-skilled in the area (red). From this, you can put together a custom improvement plan for each employee, which can be based upon standard SPSM courses or custom courses developed for you specifically by Next Level Purchasing. Considering the SPSM is a very affordable industry certification, chances are you’ll be able to upgrade your team’s skills in a very cost effective manner if it turns out that is the appropriate thing to do.