Procurement careers and the category dilemma: to specialise or not?

We’re delighted to feature another guest post from James Gherardi , who specialises in the supply chain and procurement function at BIE Group, an executive search and interim management consultancy.

A familiar sounding introduction to a candidate brief goes something like this: “I need someone with five years procurement experience of hard and soft FM but with a few years in broader professional services; a bit of travel would be great as well. Strategy development is important but I also want someone who’s happy to get their hands dirty.”

Information like this rarely imparts very much until I start digging a bit more to find out what’s actually needed. What are the real objectives of the job and the organisation? Only by having this conversation will I get to see just how critical category specialisation and vendor insight really is. It certainly can be is invaluable for some but not all category areas.

The stand-out spend areas where I would say really detailed knowledge is required would be Marketing, Travel and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient raw materials. IT software in financial services is another, but here the driving factor behind specialisation is risk mitigation not so much the category itself. Take trading platforms, for example. Here, the product specification, vendor understanding and tight contractual agreements can potentially cost or save £billions. But with a few exceptions, it really doesn’t matter if you’ve bought HR services, legal services or stationery....

(Continued - read the full article here at Spend Matters search4 procurement!)

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