Bridge Insights

10 Soft Skills Every Purchasing Professional Has

Oct 15, 2019

Hiring would be a piece of cake if we only needed to hire someone from their previous work experience. But it is not that easy. In the world of purchasing, it is important to assess people’s soft skills to determine whether or not they are a strong purchasing professional and would be an added value to the purchasing and supply chain department. Anyone can call suppliers and purchase products from the lowest quote, but there is a lot more that goes into the purchasing process.

Below are 10 Soft Skills we have identified that leads to identifying a successful member of a purchasing team:

[blockquotes]Next time you are interviewing someone for a purchasing role, make sure to ask people questions that relate to these soft skills.[/blockquotes]

1. Knowledge and Organization

Mastery of data is key in purchasing. They must know more about what they are buying than the person selling it. Know the supplier’s prices and how they compare to the price to manufacture it and recall all this information come negotiations.

2. Anticipation

This is most likely the single most important skill to have engaged at all times. This skill is essential to get out of the reactive way of doing business and behaving proactively.

3. Interpersonal Skills

This position is not for someone who is an introvert. They must be able to speak with all types of people and know when to be assertive or personable.

4. Resilience

In a perfect world, everything will go as planned. However, we do not live in a perfect world and not everything will go as planned all the time. How procurement professionals react and adapt to situations is very important.

5. Sense of Urgency

Understanding that timing is everything, purchasing professionals hold one of the major keys to whether a production deadline will be hit. Don’t panic, but don’t dilly-dally. Prioritize and get the job done on time.
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6. Strategic

They must have a long-term plan for success. Executing a plan of action enables purchasing professionals to assess progress toward a goal.

6. Ability to Present Oneself With Confidence

An effective manager shows confidence. Someone who is unsure of themselves and slow to make a decision will lose the respect from their employees and counterparts.

7. Creative Solutions

Outside the box type of thinker. Being creative is sometimes better than taking the most direct approach in reaching a solution.

8. Learn From Mistakes

The faster they can admit to themselves that mistakes happen, the better off they will be. But they must learn from them. It is important they are able to look at a situation after the fact and assess what they could have done differently to prevent the mistake from happening in the first place.

9. Willingness to Learn New Things

Supply Chain work takes individuals into new areas all the time. They must be able to adapt, quantify, and put themselves out there. Successful purchasing professionals don’t let “its not my job” or “I don’t know” prevent them from getting results.

10. Supply Chain Thinker

A purchasing professional needs to think about every aspect of the creation of the product they are seeking to buy as well as its delivery to the doorstep. It’s a lot more than getting the lowest quote. They need to be thinking about things like vertical integration, manufacturing footprint, and freight and packaging. If a supplier stamps a part and another paints it, isn’t it better off to find a supplier who does both?

In Conclusion

Next time you are interviewing someone for a purchasing role, make sure to ask people questions that relate to the soft skills identified above. You will be amazed how different the interview will go and how much more you learn about this person’s overall knowledge, thinking processes, and initiatives.
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