PROCUREMENT HEADS BLOG

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Indirect and direct Procurement

Can Procurement professionals succeed in both?

With Procurement continuing to rise in 2020, organisations are continuing to heavily invest in top talent.

Procurement functions around the world are continuing to deal with a period of change, for example, the expansion of digital technologies, and the pace of change is showing no signs of slowing down.

Organisations need to be attracting the top talent across both direct and indirect spend to continue operating coherently. But can the same procurement professional be successful in both direct and indirect spend?

Both indirect and direct procurement are equally essential to the running of a company, they work hand in hand, one cannot exist without the other. With both spends falling under the same procurement umbrella, they both need procurement professionals to tackle the roles.

It is widely thought that if you specialise in indirect procurement it is near impossible to transition to direct procurement and vice versa, as each category requires a different skill set. Recently we have seen that one of the most important skills when specialising in indirect procurement is being able to collaborate with stakeholders. It is deemed that you need impeccable influencing and listening skills, empathy and ability to take initiative as well as being decisive when the need arises. When looking at skills for direct procurement professionals we have seen that you need to have experience in managing spend of a commodity or materials, working in an agile and sometimes reactive way to maintain a smooth operation.

When advertising Procurement vacancies, organisations are still looking for solid experience in either direct or indirect procurement rather than solid experience across either. This could result in some candidates being turned down from a role based on their experience but they, in fact, could be a great fit for the role and the organisation.

Recently in the market, we have seen growing examples of procurement professionals moving from direct to indirect procurement and vice versa, and these individuals are excited by the challenge that they are facing. Although their skill set may be different from what is required of their new category, the foundations are common to both direct and indirect procurement.

Do you think that a procurement professional can be successful across both direct and indirect procurement? Or is the transition going to be too challenging?


About the author

Hannah Abraham specialises in recruiting Buyer to Procurement Manager level roles across Surrey and Sussex, with typical salaries ranging from £30-50k.

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