Daily Archives: May 17, 2015

Why Can’t I Find Top Supply Management Talent? (Repost)

This post originally ran four years ago today. But it’s relevance has not waned.

The simple answer: you’re looking for a resource that is so rare it may not even exist! And I’m not the only one who thinks so. After talking with a number of thought leaders over the years it’s become clear that this is the most common reason Supply Management organizations can’t find talent. (Note that this is only the case with respect to “find”. The reasons a Supply Management organization can’t hire talent or keep talent are different.)

As Supply Management has become more and more challenging, the average reaction of a supply management organization has been to continually augment the job description of a supply manager to the point where the individual is expected to not only be a jack of all trades but master of all. This has resulted in a search for senior buyers with an eclectic collection of skills and experience so rare that you can probably count the number of global supply professionals around the globe that make the grade. For example, whereas the average job description for a senior buyer ten to fifteen years ago might have looked like:

  • good communication skills
  • college degree
  • negotiation experience
  • buying experience in chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and energy
  • some supervisory experience

Today’s average job description for a senior buyer looks like:

  • great communication skills
  • excellent writing skills
  • master’s degree with 10 years experience, PhD preferred
  • expert in negotiations with a global supply base
  • buying experience in manufactured goods, services, IT & Telecommunications, legal, marketing, and temporary labour
  • supervisory experience of global business teams and outsourced services
  • buying experience in Europe and Asia
  • speaks English, Hindi, and Mandarin fluently
  • experienced in contract drafting
  • expertise in import/export requirements of the US, the EU,
    India, and China
  • in-depth knowledge of REACH, WEEE, RoHS, and similar regulations
  • 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
  • great project management skills
  • risk management skills
  • working capital management skills
  • financial reporting experience
  • innovative and capable of leading cross-functional innovation teams
  • NPD experience
  • implemented multiple successful SRM initiatives
  • experience with CSR and sustainability initiatives
  • expert at market intelligence
  • high CQ
  • great leadership skills
  • adept at navigating regulatory issues
  • speaks techie
  • etc.

See the problem?

If you don’t, think about it for a while.

Or, better yet, to get a clearer picture, check out The Chief Procurement Officer Job Description: An Overview co-authored by yours truly and the maverick over on the new Spend Matters CPO site as well as the follow-on posts: