Captain Strategic versus Tactical Man. Who’s winning in the procurement talent war?

It’s a well-known fact that procurement teams tend to fall into two categories; those that operate tactically and those that work strategically. Those that favour a tactical buying environment tend to have come from a legacy where the business has  purely focused on buying commodities for the here and now. Typically they will engage with the same/similar suppliers only making changes when costs need to be cut or those suppliers are unable to keep meeting their requirements.

Other organisations are either working towards or fully operating within a strategic procurement model. These businesses are often reliant on products that have to be sourced from other countries. They have ambitious growth plans, many competitors and have to think ahead constantly to ensure their supply chains remain reliable and cost-effective.

When it comes to  recruiting procurement talent for the latter, demand has never been higher. As procurement recruitment specialists we know that 99.9% of the time when we pick up the phone or walk into a business meeting, the hiring manager will ask us to find them a strategically focused procurement professional, someone who can operate in a fast paced environment, engage and influence senior stakeholders and work closely with suppliers to innovate around products with the aim of improving costs and quality.

There are many other things that a strategic procurement professional will prioritise over their tactical counterparts. Careful analysis of spend and measuring the performance of suppliers falls right at the top of the agenda along with forecasting, particularly around pricing and product availability to ensure their respective organisations retain a competitive advantage in the market. The ability to utilise technology to make the procurement process more efficient is also a key attribute alongside the ability to  assess the ‘value-add’ in everyday working practices and make sure things are operationally effective.

There is no right and wrong when it comes to tactical versus strategic procurement. Indeed, some of the most successful organisations are able to embrace both, but when it comes to recruitment Captain Strategic is definitely winning the talent war as forward thinking organisations realise the benefits of looking ahead, taking control and developing procurement teams that can help them compete and succeed in their chosen markets.

About the Author

martinsmith

Senior Manager and experienced procurement recruiter. Positive and results orientated with a passion for finding innovative solutions and delivering on every project. Specialises in placing senior Procurement Professionals across London and the Home Counties.

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