The world’s development has been very fast. Technologies introduced in the last 5 years are already outdated, or used to support new discoveries. These constant updates and the difficult times we are experiencing require both a new pace and new behavior from the market.

It isn’t a novelty that several segments had to learn working again. This includes particularly those jobs that require relationship and strategy practices to guarantee a successful career.

This is the case with buyers, for instance. The profile of procurement professionals has been adapted over the years and, currently, it isn’t enough to get the lowest price: they must now add value and help in the innovation process.

In this post, we address the main skills that the current buyer must develop to have that successful career.

Are you ready? So keep on reading!


5 skills every successful buyer must have

1. Knowledge on strategic sourcing

Strategic sourcing is a method to assess the complexity of getting a given product on the market – consumer goods or services – versus the impact on the business caused by this choice. In other words, it’s the practice of improving a company’s procurement continuously.

With such analysis, it’s possible to check internal and external costs, supply network and service levels provided for a given product group, and then plan specific and strategic actions, with the purpose of meeting the organization’s needs.

Strategic sourcing can be the key technique to minimize supply problems and delivery delays throughout this international crisis, for instance.

2. Adaptation to new procurement-related technologies

Any buyer who takes technology as a ‘partner’ in procurement processes can be very successful throughout his/her career. Digital platforms optimize those previously slow and bureaucratic processes, helping buyers to be more strategic and important to the company’s business.

According to a study by the Hackett Group, an international consultancy firm, procurement areas that use technologies 4.0 are able to achieve up to 17% in cost reduction. However, when they truly accept digital transformation – that is, when they change their mindset, instead of using a specific technology only occasionally – they can reduce costs by 45% or more.

All professionals capable of using each one of them in their daily life will certainly be one step ahead of their competitors, and ready to serve the market in the best possible way.

3. Knowing how to relate to suppliers.

Technology is the rule for business, but relationship is just as important. Buyers won’t be able to make good deals without a good communication and service customization with their suppliers. Most organizations survived the recession period for the simple reason that they knew how to relate with others.

Knowing how to deal with suppliers as partners can bring a host of benefits. Companies can achieve not only better prices and better delivery times, but also encourage collaboration among parties, which favors innovation.

Many companies had already understood that collaboration between them, in a supply chain, helps promoting a long-term and promising coexistence. When supported by technology, such interaction will eventually bring the relationship closer and leverage it even further, providing governance and compliance to businesses.

4. Risk management in the supply chain

No business is untouchable. Threats are inherent to everyone and, when we talk about risks, there will always be those we can predict and avoid, and those that just happen and force us to act quickly, to minimize possible impacts both on the business and society. Therefore, successful buyers must always have a contingency plan, and be ready when something unexpected happens.

Buyers who don’t manage risks will hardly stand out in the company. For those who aren’t very familiar with the term yet, Risk Management involves a set of activities to manage and control a company with regard to potential threats.

Any planning should then include alternative supply sources and different inventory levels, considering also a possible demand drop for companies’ products or services.

5. Governance and compliance in the supplier matrix

Compliance is a hot topic among buyers, within their very companies. Most of them are familiar with it, but few appreciate the bureaucracy that involves the subject. After all, it’s often seen as an obstacle, something related to simply obeying, adapting and placing oneself within an established rule format.

Organizations are looking more and more for transparency, regarding their internal / external processes and negotiations. Successful buyers understand the importance of compliance within the procurement processes, and know how to take advantage of it, using it as a competitive edge in everyday work.

A relationship with suppliers that abides by new regulations and legal obligations (such as SPED and Anticorruption Law, among others) adds much more value to the supply chain, decreasing risks and assuring a win-win relationship.

However, assuring compliance within processes isn’t enough; governance must be also in place, to ensure that the partners will follow a series of rules to preserve negotiation integrity.


Do you agree with the 5 skills to be a successful buyer? Have you some more to add? Tell us in the comments field!

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