The Battle for Strategic Procurement Resources
As the global economy continues to stumble and stutter, the strategic procurement profession is more and more being looked to, to help organizations survive and weather the economic storm, by driving cost savings to the bottom line. This is great for the profession but skilled resources and business partner alignment continues to be a challenge.
Skilled resources for this popular but relatively new profession, in the Canadian market place, is in high demand. All industries alike, fight for skilled resources who are no longer just purchasing traditional goods and services. Skilled procurement professionals can no longer just be good at sourcing, they must also be experts at their business sector, their spend category, project management, financial analysis and be a polished communicator and relationship builder. They need to be able to persuade and influence at the executive level to often hostile business partners who see them as the invader.
These resources are scarce and in extremely high demand. Companies are all fighting for these resources and are scratching their heads over how to woo them including offering big salaries, lofty titles or hiring interim, flexible resources to augment their already overtaxed teams. To fill the void and step up their game, these companies must think differently about how they attract, retain or contract with these scarce skills.
One approach is to look for resources who are new to the profession and who are eager to learn. They should be groomed and mentored to become accomplished, skilled and experienced professionals. In my career, this approach, for those who I have mentored along the way, giving them actual hands on experience, supporting large complex projects, has proven to be one of the best ways to teach and prepare these diamonds in the rough.
Alternatively, the “interim“, “flexible”, “agile”, “entrepreneurial”, “freelance” or “independent” work force, are a viable and newly popular way of accessing these skilled resources. Many of these types of resources are deep subject matter experts with many years of experience, who prefer the consultative approach, working on multiple projects, picking and choosing the plum assignments. This is the basis of the Associate model, used currently at my company, ProcurePro Consulting, www.procurepro.ca.
Companies must get more creative if they are to attract, retain or contract for top talent. They need to think differently and look outside the traditional recruiting channels. They need to help new resources, who posses good foundational skills, by giving them access to the education and mentoring experiences they need to grow and flourish in their new high demand and critical roles. For companies who need to augment their team, or companies looking for a virtual procurement team, they can look to companies like ProcurePro for a flexible, highly skilled and experienced workforce.