4 ways purchasing professionals can prepare for the digital era
Labor relations changed – and must continue changing with technological advances. From the invention of computers to the home office, much was already done: professions have ceased to exist, others (many) have been created in the midst of conflict between generations and robotization.
In this scenario, a question arises: after all, which skills are necessary in order to become a professional capable of surviving this new era? See Soluparts tips below and understand the path taken to think about future strategies.
How purchasing professionals can adapt to this scenario
A 2018 survey conducted by ManpowerGroup with 18,000 managers showed that 90% of them said their work routine would be impacted by technology in a maximum of two years. The result emphasizes the importance of a theme that is increasingly debated within organizations: constant innovation.
This desired attribute depends on two essential factors: organizational culture and investments in technology. Companies are progressively addressing investments in artificial intelligence, big data and analytics, but it is essential to remember that a healthy ecosystem combines these tools with highly trained teams capable of working in synergy.
This ecosystem is achieved with multidisciplinary teams, more and more willing to cooperate and constant affinity with the latest innovations. In general, these crews must be formed by professionals with some specific skills from the new era.
Before understanding what are some of the main attributes needed for change in the digital era, it is necessary to first acknowledge what competence means.
What are competencies?
According to Lino de Macedo’s definition, “competence is a general skill, while skill is a specific competence” A little confusing, right? Let’s exemplify the three essential pillars of competence:
It is linked to “knowing what to do”, having the idea or notion of how to perform a certain task. For purchasing professionals, it’s related to know the concept of supply chains, logistics and what role the area plays in this context.
Can be translated into “knowing how to do it”. It brings knowledge to a practical, daily role, with a deeper understanding of what a particular topic addresses. It is about understanding what is necessary to play each role within the supply chain, acquiring the hard skills necessary for daily work.
It is the desire to direct the focus to a certain point, that is, where one wants to go. The desire to understand more about the purchasing sector to work in it and build a career within that segment, for example.
Therefore, the intersection between these three pillars constitutes the concept of competence: the union between knowing what to do, how to do it and making the necessary efforts to carry it out. It is, basically, the junction between the disposition, a clear objective and the will to build paths to accomplish it.
Skills required for the digital era
According to a McKinsey report, 62% of executives believe that they will need to retrain or replace a quarter of their workforce by 2023. In this scenario, in addition to acquiring practical and multidisciplinary knowledge, it is necessary to ask what tasks performed by humans cannot be done by robots.
Therefore, leaders of the future are crescively focused on soft skills and emotional intelligence. To be able to absorb and apply new knowledge in new contexts it is necessary to reinvent oneself, and people with a developed emotional quotient will be more successful in this endeavor.
Although hybrid coexistence between people and robots is progressively present, especially in the supply chain, well-prepared people will still be responsible for making strategic decisions within any company.
2. Multidisciplinary view
In an increasingly volatile world, knowing how to deal with different people and having an progressively global understanding of each situation will be highly demanded by professionals of the future: these professionals will need transversal knowledge between different areas. In this sense, if you are a purchasing professional, for example, acquiring financial knowledge will be a differential in the future.
According to KPMG, this will be one of the most demanded skills by the sector in the coming years and, to promote it, people must interact with their peers internally, in addition to dealing with suppliers and others interested in the development of the sector.
Here, connectivity and innovation also play essential roles, since well-prepared people who are able to see the potential that the area itself can achieve over time will be more and more valued. This way, they will be able to prevent risks and provide relevant insights to industry leaders even more accurately and effectively – some of the main goals of the future of supply chain.
3. Explore your sense of innovation
Purchasing indirect materials is not an easy task. It is necessary to pay constant attention to the origin of the parts, their availability and their potential use in the midst of a constant risk assessment scenario.
Even in a space that requires so much attention, it is possible to innovate – revisiting processes, having new partners, etc. In this scenario, proactivity and the ability to adapt to different situations will also be some of the skills required of professionals of the future.
4. Develop advanced IT knowledge
Gone are the days when purchasing professionals could rely on the knowledge of others to perform digital tasks. Today, these professionals are expected to know everything about ERP modules, among other softwares, and to understand the applications of business intelligence within the company itself. This way, it will be possible to better discuss tasks with other areas, avoid errors and delays in problem-solving or generating reports.
In addition, knowing how to migrate between various computer programs, equipment, channels and technologies is essential and knowing how to extract from them their benefits that optimize and bring more quality to your work.
According to Himanshu Palsule, president of Epicor, a global leader in providing industry-specific software designed for its customers, innovation has always created new markets and new opportunities, allowing companies to grow. This scenario will be no different for the professionals of the future, who must use the evolution of supply chain management for their own benefit.
Using the right tools and continuous learning, without necessarily depending on training or talent programs from companies, professionals can benefit from the advancement of technology to make strategic decisions.
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