How Do I Find Top Supply Management Talent?

So, after reading yesterday’s post, you now know that if you can’t find* top supply management talent, it’s because you’re looking for a mythical resource that doesn’t exist. In fact, you have a better chance of finding a chimera. Wish all you want, but a senior buyer with a PhD and ten years of experience who speaks three languages, has expertise in multiple e-Sourcing and e-Procurement processes and applications, has bought twelve different categories, has sourced from multiple countries in Europe and Asia, has led global cross-functional teams, has participated in NPD, has financial chops and can help the CFO optimize working capital, is an SRM expert, has a high CQ, is an expert in global negotiations, is a master of spend analysis, can manage multiple projects simultaneously, and lead global services team is not someone out there waiting to be hired. You’d have a better chance finding a CEO for a Fortune 500 than finding a buyer with these skill sets.

So what do you do? You stop focussing on the super-resource and start focussing on the team. Yes you need all the skills, but you don’t need them all in the same person. Break the “super” buyer role into an analyst role, a global trade role, an engineering management role, a contracts role, and a set of buyer roles organized around compatible categories. Then, instead of looking for 7 – 10 “super” buyers, you’re looking for five different roles that will be much easier to fill. For example, the job description from the previous post would break down into the following descriptions:

Supply Management Analyst

  • expert in should cost models, TCO models, and global logistics models
  • experienced user of e-Sourcing and e-Procurement applications and expert in e-Negotiations and award optimization
  • expert in spend analysis
  • working capital management skills
  • financial reporting experience
  • expert at market intelligence

Global Trade Specialist

  • expert in negotiations with a global supply base
  • buying experience in Europe and Asia
  • speaks two or more languages
  • expertise in import/export requirements of the US, the EU, India, and China
  • in-depth knowledge of REACH, WEEE, RoHS, and similar regulations
  • high CQ

Innovation Engineer

  • great project management skills
  • risk management skills
  • innovative and capable of leading cross-functional innovation teams
  • NPD experience
  • experience with CSR and sustainability initiatives

Contract Specialist

  • excellent communication skills
  • excellent writing skills
  • experienced in contract drafting
  • familiar with regulatory requirements
  • experienced with compliance programs

Senior Buyer

  • great communication skills
  • bachelor’s degree with 5 years of experience, master’s preferred
  • buying experience in one or more of manufactured goods, services, IT & Telecommunications, legal, marketing, and temporary labour
  • supervisory experience of global business teams and outsourced services preferred
  • implemented multiple successful SRM initiatives
  • great leadership skills

And your chances of filling these positions are much better than finding a mythical chimera.

* Again, only referring to “find”. There are a number of reasons that you might not be able to “hire” such talent if you can find it, but they are not the subject of this post.