Procurement - profession and destiny
Like a smartphone coming with a few preinstalled applications, procurement profession comes with its own attributes.
Sexy and mystic. When you tell someone that you deal with procurement – it sounds very sophisticated and enigmatic. Especially, when you raise your eyebrows telling that. Nine out of ten people do not know what procurement is. And while it really is a sophisticated profession, it will never be recognized as much as other well-known sophisticated professions. We will never have a Nobel Prize for procurement.
Undervalued. Bringing billions of euros in savings, introducing top-notch innovations, challenging markets, pushing boundaries with every competitive exercise, hugely influencing any economy – procurement is still unrecognized and undervalued.
Risky. What is the price of a mistake when wrong spare part is procured for a nuclear power plant? Or when a human heart transplant is late for one day? Or when fuel for jets or passenger airplanes is of a different type? Or when water, soap or electricity do not reach a refugee camp? Or even when a malfunctioning chronometer judges who the Olympic champion is. Many examples of procurement mistakes can vividly explain how risky this profession is.
Hidden. While a piano player, a weightlifter or a singer can immediately show his/her skills, procurement needs time to demonstrate quality and value it can bring. You can never see the quality of a procurement professional, unless s/he organizes a number of complex, high value, open international tenders, then guides the client throughout entire procurement cycle and brilliantly administers signed contracts. But it all takes time, doesn’t it? Years, sometimes.
Satisfying. Read the para about risks above and imagine all that smoothly organized without any major mistakes. Now imagine how gratifying, heartwarming and rewarding this profession can be.
Educating. Procurement people cannot and should not be specialists of everything they buy. But every tender is a book. You meet fascinating specialists, gurus, you learn more and more with every bidding. And this is probably another reason to raise eyebrows when you say “procurement”.
Changing. One of the most interesting attributes of this profession. It is in constant development. Formulas and approach working yesterday might not work today. Methods applicable in one country/market might not be applicable in another. Suppliers are myriads of characters. They have different priorities and strategies. Organizations have different mandates and goals.
Procurement profession is a combination of many complex attributes and skills. It matures with years, self-perfecting and obtaining additional qualities.