A person in charge of purchasing essentials required by a company while maintaining healthy relationships with vendors is called the director of procurement. This senior role in an organisation is offered to persons qualified and experienced to handle large supply volumes. Though the duties of a director of procurement and a procurement manager might be similar, procurement directors have greater responsibilities as they directly have to report to the company’s CEO or MD. The qualifications and experience required to become a procurement director are also much higher than a regular procurement manager. For example, procurement managers need to hold a Master’s degree in business management and a working experience of more than five years in handling types of procurement teams.
An organisation that needs many supplies to function or meet its production targets often hires multiple procurement managers for different goods and services. A director of procurement is in charge of teams led by these procurement managers. He or she might also directly participate in hiring procurement managers and members for the groups.
The skills a procurement director must have vary from sector to sector. For instance, a procurement director working for an apparel-making brand must have in-depth knowledge about the global and national apparel market. They must also have cordial working relationships with a vast network of garment suppliers, fabric producers, and vendors across the country.
However, there are some common skills that procurement directors across multiple sectors must possess. Here are five of them.
The director of procurement is a higher management position in any organisation. These directors work with logistic providers to maintain a consistent flow of essential goods and services. Apart from that, they must also ensure that the essentials are purchased well within the budget and are delivered within the deadline. They are directly involved in creating purchasing strategies and usually head the logistics and operation units involved in the procurement processes.
A procurement director needs to ensure that their company follows the standard process of procurement that helps meet work quality. The procurement directors are directly responsible for maintaining and managing the company’s inventory. Thus, they need to set guidelines for managers while creating and disapproving purchase orders. Therefore, the purchasing policies come under the director of procurement’s control.
To manage the budget efficiently, a procurement director should have a strong understanding of finances. The investment required for purchasing essential goods and services is allocated by the procurement director. Factors such as account balance, stock requirements, and the company’s financial condition have to be considered while deciding the budget. If purchase managers need a higher allocation to procure specific requirements, they must take the procurement director’s consent first.
It is the procurement director who is responsible for reducing the overhead cost in procurement. Therefore, they must create and implement policies that minimise cost-to-company. For example, the director must make sure middlemen are eliminated or reduced greatly. This will streamline the procurement process.
For example, if a company is involved in garment manufacturing, the director must ensure that the necessary fabrics are obtained at competitive prices. However, at the procurement stage, the director can identify and eliminate any middlemen by opting for technological platforms that allow apparel manufacturing companies to interact directly with the fabric suppliers and producers.
Usually, the vendors and suppliers have to bid or quote their prices to do business with a larger organisation. If the company finds a bid perfect for its budget, time, and other constraints, the director can get the proposal approved. The director of procurement has to be in charge of identifying the merits of each bid and selecting the one best for the company. If the company wants to negotiate the terms or the bidding price, the procurement director has to convey it to the vendor directly or through a procurement manager. For instance, if a company finds a bid appropriate but feels that the pricing is on a higher side, the procurement director has to request the vendor to adjust the price. The procurement director must demonstrate strong negotiating, interpersonal, and analytical skills to comply with these duties.
The procurement director has the authority to change the contractual agreements made with the external dealers and vendors. For example, if a particular vendor cannot fulfill certain obligations, the procurement director has to make necessary changes to the contract and might have to negotiate the terms and conditions. The director has to identify the contractual obligations that the vendor is failing to comply with and solve the problems without affecting the supply of essentials to the organisation. The next course of action should be decided after analysing the vendor’s track record, reputation, and relationship.
A director of procurement is the leader of the procurement team. Therefore, it is their duty to demonstrate a solid adherence to the company's values, procurement policies, and ethics. The director must encourage the employees and managers working in procurement teams to work with honesty, transparency, and dedication. However, unless the leader doesn’t demonstrate these traits himself, his managers would have no role model to follow. In short, the procurement director should lead by example. They must not be biased towards any vendors while choosing the bids and encourage the same among his team members.
Recognising hardworking employees and rewarding them regularly is also one of the important traits leaders must showcase. A strong leader should delegate the daily and weekly tasks to his teams and ensure their completion. A director of procurement should be open to suggestions and feedback from the teams. The director must give everyone an equal opportunity to express their opinions and climb the corporate ladder.
Multitasking is another skill that a procurement director must possess. They should supervise multiple projects from the teams simultaneously. While meeting daily deadlines and procurement targets, the director must show extraordinary organisational skills. As a leader, the director needs to demonstrate problem-solving skills during a crisis.
If the employees or managers face any issues while procuring the essentials, the procurement director has to respond quickly and resolve their issues. To achieve this, they need to be empathetic towards subordinates and understand their problems completely. The procurement directors need to consider their team members’ different backgrounds and working capabilities while delegating work. Therefore, the director needs to possess high emotional intelligence to relate to the problems of the teams while providing solutions suitable for everyone.
A procurement director with high emotional intelligence would be also able to foster a healthy working environment in the organisation and among the network of suppliers, vendors, and other essential groups outside the organisation.
The directors of procurement working in the apparel industry can grow their network through Fashinza, an online platform with a vast community of manufacturers, vendors, and suppliers. Managing end-to-end delivery of supplies becomes much easier with quick support and the availability of high-end services such as tracking goods/services in real-time.
Manufacturers can post their requirements and get matched with suppliers instantly through Fashinza. If you are heading the procurement unit of an apparel manufacturer or a designing company, register on this portal today to find the best suppliers. Visit Fashinza to build and foster long-lasting relationships in the apparel manufacturing industry.