Recruitment in the procurement, operations and supply chain sector is highly competitive. Not only do companies require an ever-evolving range of technical skills, they also need professionals who have strong leadership and communication skills. The good news is that the right candidates are out there - you just need an effective recruitment strategy. And then make them an offer they can’t refuse.
This article offers tips for building your top procurement, operations and supply chain team.
Understand the functions that your business needs to perform
Naturally, the structure and remit of your team will depend on the size of your company, the nature of your products and the spaces in which you operate. It will depend on the technologies you have available and the risks you are exposed to. Every supply chain is different but here are some of the main roles and responsibilities you will need to consider.
In smaller companies, these roles may morph and overlap or they simply may not be needed at all. For companies with a limited inventory, it may make sense to merge the roles of warehouse management and inventory control. If your company deals with a lot of overseas suppliers or mainly deals with established long-term suppliers, you may not need a specific sourcing role. This could be included in the remit of the Purchaser, for example. Or purchasing and sourcing both included under Supplier Management. It’s all about what makes sense to your business at this present time and for the foreseeable period of growth.
Don’t force people into unsuitable roles
When businesses grow it’s understandable to want to keep a tight rein on profits. This sometimes means business leaders try to move staff into more senior roles or move them to other departments. The motives behind this are usually positive - the desire to develop staff and reward loyalty. It also has the potential to minimise costs. Unfortunately, this strategy can backfire if you don’t consider a few important points:
Your loyal staff member may be exactly the right person for the role. But if you’re in doubt take a step back before proposing a move. Make sure you’re doing the right thing for your business - now and into the future.
Find the right cultural fit
The procurement, operations and supply chain sector is a highly dynamic world. It can be challenging and requires people with the right soft skills, as well as technical skills, to make the business a success. There are certain personality traits that suit specific roles. For example, colleagues with good diplomacy, negotiation and conflict resolution skills are well suited to people or supplier-facing roles such as Customer Service or Supplier Management. Tenacious people who simply won’t let an uncrossed ‘t’ through the net will find a happy home in Contract Management or Freight Coordination.
When you are assembling your key players, you want to be sure that they will not only fit well within their roles, and with your clients, you also want to know they’ll work well as a team. Situations in procurement and supply chain can change and escalate in an instant and you need to know that your team will be there for each other, working productively and collaboratively towards the end goal.
Incorporating emotional intelligence tests during recruitment is an excellent method for addressing this issue. Alongside the usual aptitude and experience questions, include others that will help you understand how they perceive, control and evaluate their emotions. Then pay attention to the following:
Plan for the future
It’s no secret that we live in volatile times, both economically and politically. Supply chain is exposed to a considerable amount of risk and companies must remain agile to succeed. Technological advances such as AI and cryptocurrencies will increasingly impact the sector. For businesses to remain competitive they must source the right people to support them. Take a look at your current offering and how it might be improved by investment in tech. Who would you need to help set up and manage this? Companies are already struggling to recruit specialists in these emerging technologies. If you’re going to act, the time is now.
Business leaders need to always be asking themselves, what more can I get from my business and from my team? This doesn’t mean exploiting your staff or worrying that you aren’t doing a great job. It means identifying processes that can be streamlined, seeking opportunities for further collaboration and arming yourself with the top team to make it happen.
Bramwith has an unrivaled pool of procurement, operations and supply chain talent, across the United States. We’re specialists and work hard to find the right teams for our valued clients. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.
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