What Does a Purchasing Professional Do? – Answering Your Questions

21st April 2022

The ins and outs of what it takes to be a purchasing professional

The term ‘purchasing professional’ carries a lot of weight with successful companies. A purchasing professional is a crucial component of any procurement department, and with this blog, you’ll discover why. Most consider a purchasing professional to be concerned with price alone…But there’s more to their role than that. By the end of this blog, if you don’t have one, you’ll want to outsource one.

What skills are required of a purchasing professional?

Any successful procurement consultancy would outline the central attributes of a purchasing professional as:

  1. Adaptiveness – If a purchasing professional isn’t flexible to the fluctuating needs of organisations, work will be hard to complete. With events such as the pandemic and other world events, to both supply chains and markets, adaptability is a must.
  2. A sharp eye for detail – More often than not, as a purchasing professional, you need to be detail-oriented. If they aren’t devoted to cost savings, procurement issues such as tail and maverick spending could occur.
  3. Sound judgement – Good judgements and sure decision-making skills are needed for any purchasing professional. You need to be level-headed in evaluating your decisions. In smaller organisations, a purchasing professional can authorise and place orders, alongside delivery, so good judgement is vital.
  4. Prioritising – Efficiently evaluating tasks is a lifesaver for companies, and it’s a core component in a purchasing professional’s skill set. Tasks, activities, processes, suppliers… all of these need to be carefully assessed for their procurement value.
  5. Negotiation – Most consider this exclusively from the point of cost savings. However, there is much more to this, as it can include product quality, delivery dates, and future relations. Similar to the point above, negotiation can be instrumental in maintaining relations.
  6. Charisma – Building effective relationships with others can be a game-changer when it comes to procurement. Ultimately, nurturing and refreshing those supplier relations can have wide-ranging benefits for both the company and the suppliers.

So, what does a purchasing professional role cover?

1.    Managing cost savings

A large majority of businesses aim to cut costs without sacrificing profitability. Effective cost management is not only a crucial component in business management, but it also supports supply chain management.

2.    Selecting and managing suppliers

A purchasing professional holds an elevated position within companies, partly due to their ability to choose suppliers. By choosing the right suppliers, a company can revolutionise its competitiveness, and purchasing professionals are an important part of that. Simply put, using suppliers that have the latest equipment, technology and processes can put your company on the map. To attain the best suppliers, they may utilise a competitive bidding process, involving tender documents. The main focus for bidders is achieving the best quality and price. Alongside this, a purchasing professional needs to ensure that suppliers are well managed. This can range from basic providers to equity partnerships.

3.    Zeroing in on new opportunities

A Purchasing Consultant has a great eye for innovation, and sometimes this can be in new markets. Previously untapped markets can be full of potential, with eager companies ready for growth and development. Ultimately, with such a global market, a purchasing professional must have the intuition to look abroad for supplier opportunities.

4.    Managing compliance, corporate responsibility and business ethics

Corporate responsibility (also known as corporate social responsibility) is an important aspect of business management nowadays. It focuses on the accountability of companies for the impacts of their decisions on society and the environment. These need to be above and beyond their legal obligations. In the UK, corporate responsibility plays a part in social value and sustainable procurement. Alongside this, compliance focuses on adhering to contractual norms and procedures such as:

  • Supplier pattern investigations
  • Ordering procedures
  • Auditing schedules
  • Tracking supplier performance
  • Fraud prevention.

A competent compliance policy can aid a company in preventing other issues, such as corruption and rogue spending.

With effective management of both compliance and corporate responsibility, purchasing professionals ensure that the business acts responsibly on multiple levels.

Who would benefit from working with a purchasing professional?

Many organisations would benefit from outsourcing their procurement activities to a purchasing professional. In particular, it’s a great option for businesses that lack:

  • Time

Perhaps you don’t have enough time to dedicate your attention to the procurement process. It’s understandable – running a business takes a lot of time and effort! However, if that’s the case, then you might benefit from working with a purchasing professional.

  • Resources

This is similar to our point above. Without a dedicated team, you’re unlikely to have enough resources to carry out your own procurement function. After all, your team will be focused on their day-to-day responsibilities. So, outsourcing your procurement function a purchasing professional could be the perfect solution for you.

  • Knowledge

Do you know enough about procurement to handle your spending processes in-house? The world of procurement can be incredibly complex. If you’re new to the process, you might not have enough knowledge for this. And that’s okay! Instead, you can outsource the process to a purchasing professional with years of procurement experience under their belt.

  • Confidence

Finally, some businesses might lack confidence when it comes to procurement. This is especially the case for newer or smaller businesses with limited experience with the process. If you lack confidence, you could benefit from working with a purchasing professional. They live and breathe procurement, and have enough expertise to guide you through the process with ease!

In summary

So, now you’re all clued up when it comes to a purchasing professional’s role. You’re now aware that these people tend to be incredible negotiators, with strong skills in analysis, data and adaptability. In particular, they’re able to help organisations that lack time, resources, knowledge or confidence when it comes to the procurement process.

What if you’re still unsure about purchasing professionals and need more information? Fortunately, we have procurement professionals on hand to aid in all of your procurement enquiries…

How can Hudson Procure help?

At Hudson Procure, our procurement experts have nearly two decades of experience. No matter what kind of support you’re looking for, we can help.

Procure Consult

With Procure Consult, we provide support with tender management and ad-hoc procurement consultancy. Our expert team will offer assistance at any stage, as and when required.

Procure Health Check

With Procure Health Check, we’ll conduct a full review of the strategic and operational procurement processes within your organisation. We’ll identify the areas that need improvement and help you drive greater value from the procurement process.

Procure Analyse

The purpose of Procure Analyse is to conduct a high-level analysis of your strategic purchasing activity. We’ll help you understand your current purchasing behaviour and highlight areas that can deliver greater value. Procure Analyse is offered as part of Procure Health Check or as a standalone service.

Procure Outsourcing  

With Procure Outsourcing, we deliver a range of procurement solutions on an outsourced basis, completely bespoke to you. This can range from delivering multiple tender projects as a package to delivering the full procurement function of your organisation.

Procure Post

With Procure Post, you can share your tender on one or more of our 11 sector-specific portals. We’ll advertise your tender to our community of engaged suppliers, looking to deliver similar contracts. This way, you’ll increase your chances of finding the perfect supplier. The best part? Procure Post is completely free with no limitations on the quantity of tenders you can upload.
Get in touch for a consultation and find out how we can help your organisation drive greater value for money.

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