5 Top Tips for a New Procurement Manager

5 Top Tips for a New Procurement Manager

Starting in a new role is always an exciting opportunity, but it’s also one that can come with its own challenges. As a new Procurement Manager it’s not all as simple as working out which part of the office fridge is free for conquest, it’s about learning to build relationships and set out goals for your team.

Great management isn’t just based on business results. A great manager knows how to support and encourage their team to achieve key business goals in partnership. With that in mind, here are our 5 top tips for a new Procurement Manager.

It’s the first place to start in any new role, but it’s especially important when you’re the manager. Building successful relationships is part and parcel of the procurement function, and there’s no reason you should neglect that within your own organisation.

Working to understand your team’s strengths, ambitions, and even personal circumstances, provides valuable information for you in how to formulate and deliver your procurement strategy. It’s not all cold-hearted practicality either. Working with people you understand, and equally importantly who understand you, makes for a far more positive and productive working environment.

Quickly getting up to speed with key suppliers is the crucial next step. That positive relationship you’re building with your team is a great place to start. The business procurement figures you have in front of you might not tell you everything you need to know, so always work to leverage the in-house knowledge that’s at hand.

Of course it’s not just about hearing about your suppliers, it’s about engaging with them directly. Providing that personal contact and building lines of communication at an early stage helps ensure the smooth-running of contracts on all sides.

Exploring relationships is an important first step, but just as important is taking the opportunity to apply your fresh perspective to long-term contracts. There’s sometimes a tendency with long-running supply arrangements to let them tick over for fear of rocking the boat. As the new Procurement Manager you have an opportunity to provide positive disruption to potentially stale contracts that can generate greater savings and wider opportunity.

Just like established contracts, established systems are an area ripe for positive improvement that can benefit from your fresh perspective. Give yourself some time to experience the current operational systems, but keep track of all the areas that present bottlenecks or you feel could be improved.

Once you’ve gained enough insight to present the business case, it’s time to explore technology opportunities that can unlock business value. Software tools like e-procurement provide an obvious example for significant savings, but they’re not alone. Messaging software such as Google Hangouts or Slack can help provide a more harmonious office communications environment, while cloud-based file sharing presents another potentially beneficial area to explore.

Your greatest asset in entering a new role is the fresh perspective you bring. Don’t be afraid to question how things are done. As a Procurement Manager, you’re the one who is ultimately responsible for ensuring the procurement department is operating smoothly.

This is your chance to do things differently. It’s the opportunity to put to use your hard-won knowledge and experience. And besides all that, don’t forget to enjoy yourself!  

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