The best ways to develop your career
The world is changing rapidly and new technologies are being created and adopted all the time. Commercial, market and labor relations are also evolving at an unprecedented speed. With so many paradigms being broken and so many new ways of seeing the world being created, it becomes a challenge to continue our professional development.
In this new scenario, it is common to feel frustrated and demotivated at times, without knowing how we should develop, which courses to take or which books to read. In order to guide you in your professional development, Soluparts made a series of articles with the main competences and skills necessary to remain competitive in the market and tips on how to determine your purpose. Enjoy!
5 tips for purchasing professionals to boost their careers in the post-pandemic
Living in the 21st century already represents a professional challenge by itself – the pandemic, however, brought a whole new dimension to this transformation flow, accelerating it even more.
In an environment of such fast changes, how to identify which competencies will be essential to have a successful career in the upcoming years? Thinking about these answers, Soluparts, whose mission is to empower buyers and help them develop professionally, brings some trends on the subject.
Before moving on to what should actually be applied in the purchasing sector, it is necessary to understand how the topic “future of work” was already discussed before the pandemic and what should remain from that discussion.
Concepts and trends
The skills for a post-Covid-19 world already had some basis being developed, given the intense transformations in the labor market in recent years. They can be exemplified in two quotes:
“The more a person invests in education, the more they can adapt to a changing market. So much so that, in a crisis, emotional intelligence can mean the difference between your success or failure ”, says Leandro Karnal, professor, historian, speaker and Brazilian writer.
Completing Karnal’s claim, Luiza Trajano, one of the biggest names in Brazilian entrepreneurship and leadership, highlights the importance of the commitment of professionals to an organization, even in times of crisis. “Companies that have people more aligned and more committed to their organizations last longer,” she says.
In other words, what the experts point out as necessary can be translated into three keywords: Strategy (to have a focus on where to direct your career path), Purpose (to engage others in your goals) and Leadership (being able to get the best out of the teams you work with).
These are general goals and valid for any profession. Now, let’s understand how they apply to the routine of the purchasing sector – and what skills are needed for professionals working in this segment to differentiate themselves from the others in the future.
How to bring these concepts into the supply chain routine
In this scenario, some skills will be required of professionals working in purchasing – we’ll highlight the top five:
1. Develop the three “C” s of purchasing leadership
Increasingly in the professional context, the boss is replaced by the leader. A leader is one who, in addition to guiding daily tasks, is able to inspire his team and make them motivated to develop as people and professionals.
Leaders of the future will have three “C” s, described by the following words: Communication, Collaboration and Change.
The first, as the name implies, addresses the ability to correctly address one’s needs to others. Whether they are members of the same team or professionals from other areas, knowing how to express exactly what you need and when is part of the increasingly necessary soft skills.
The second, collaboration, is essentially based on building relationship networks capable of providing a positive environment to develop teamwork. Using persuasion techniques for this is also highly recommended.
Finally, being able to change is a fundamental skill – even if it requires some extra reinforcement, such as improvement courses. Being on top of this trend will help you guide people through turbulent times and make them truly engage in solving problems.
2. Be an active listener
Strategies developed for the purchasing department involve different perspectives to succeed. Among the team and suppliers’ own points of view, it is possible to identify a series of variables that will contribute to a positive final result.
Amid global geopolitical uncertainty, these issues become even more serious and relevant. Therefore, having the ability to listen actively, fully understanding the different aspects and problems involved in a strategy or negotiation is a key skill to develop effective response plans and minimize delays or extra expenses, making the organization even more efficient.
3. Quantify your “cost to serve”
Purchasing professionals will have an even greater potential to be successful if they can quantify how much their decisions are related to the area’s financial results.
Understanding this metric to direct the appropriate attention to the different profiles of suppliers is fundamental to generating profitability, in addition to managing time properly. At this point, it’s helpful to develop analytical skills, have well-defined KPIs and master a Business Intelligence software for example, which allows you to have a general visibility and metrify the different processes in the sector.
4. Have the will to persist – and change
New processes and products are emerging all the time – an increasingly constant movement in the midst of digital transformation. Having the ability to adapt to different scenarios, roles and careers will certainly be a differentiator for the professionals of the future.
It is important to highlight that adaptability and resilience are different concepts – but that go together towards professional success.
While the first occupies the sphere of knowing how to react quickly to the most varied situations, the second concerns the persistence and determination necessary to advance towards success.
5. Know how to solve complex problems
Rowan O’Grady, president of Hays Canada, recently highlighted that leaders need to involve their team more in their problem-solving discussions. For this to happen, however, it is necessary that the entire team has technical knowledge and the ability to deal with people within this new scenario.
Professionals who are unable to combine these two concepts to solve complex problems will have a more difficult path to follow in the future. Thinking in an automated way is not enough: today, more than 30% of all functions performed within companies can be replaced by robots, according to McKinsey.
Therefore, investing in human differentials, such as the ability to deal with different factors (human and external), uniting these competences to solve what machines are not able to decipher, will be increasingly demanded skills in the future.
In addition, it is necessary to develop your systemic vision to be able to visualize the best solutions among all the possibilities for solving a specific problem. In a fast and volatile world, having a broad view of the whole instead of focusing on fragments of the process can bring several benefits to purchasing and the supply chain.
Anyone who knows how to explore the rapid transformations of today’s world in the best possible way to bring the attributes necessary for professional growth, will certainly have a considerable advantage.
The new age purchasing professional must also be able to conduct regular self-assessments and identify areas of weakness so that they can be developed. Being in constant learning, knowing its value (including the financial value) and developing leadership skills are points that are increasingly in demand in different sectors.
Investing in in-depth knowledge of the area, understanding the cost structure required for the activities of your department and the financial impact of your decisions will be important steps to move towards the future.
For more tips on how to develop your career, keep following Soluparts’ blog.
3 Fundamental skills of the Purchasing Manager in the Digital Era
Industry 4.0 has brought continuous and fast transformations, requiring the professional new knowledge to keep up with the pace of innovations.
In addition to being up to date with the latest technology and demonstrating to the team that he has knowledge of new processes, the purchasing manager needs to develop some specific skills to obtain more expressive results – for the company and for his career in the digital era.
Read on and learn more.
3 key skills found in an effective purchasing manager in the digital era
In the past, the list of core competencies could be summarized in organization, planning, good interpersonal relationships, knowledge of company strategies and profile, negotiation skills and ethics.
All these skills remain essential, but the arrival of Industry 4.0 demands new capabilities.
The list below helps give good direction in allowing the identification of which of these skills are already part of your profile and which need to be developed.
1. Analytical Capacity
Nowadays, every company deals with a huge amount of data – in the case of the purchasing department it is information about suppliers, quotations already made, stock data, average delivery time and purchase order emission, etc. -, which requires the professional to have an analytical capacity to extract relevant information and have more assertiveness for the decision-making process (such as choosing the best supplier, for example) and increase the productivity of the department as a whole.
Essential in past times, when organizations did not have so many tangible elements for their management, the feeling was replaced by the collection, organization and analysis of data, turning them into indicators and decisive arguments for intelligent and strategic decision-making.
For this reason, the analytical capacity becomes essential to deal in an organized and intelligent way with an increasingly intense and complex volume of data from various sources.
To deepen your knowledge on the subject, read this article on Big Data and this one on Data Science.
2. Critical thinking
The ability to use logic and reasoning to analyze a problem, considering the possible solutions – with their pros and cons – and finally choose the one that offers the most benefits, now more than ever, is essential.
It allows the resolution of complex issues in an agile way, which is very important in a time when everything happens with a vertiginous speed.
And the good news is that this ability can be developed and improved over time, the more we are tested, and we practice in this sense.
According to the World Economic Forum, creativity will be one of the main skills for modern managers, along with the ability to critically analyze information in search of complex solutions – learn more by reading the institution’s article on the subject.
New products, technologies and new ways of working require a more creative behavior in order to benefit from so many changes. And, contrary to what one may think, creativity is not the exclusive domain of artists.
Every person who can use varied information, transforming it into a new and positive idea, is making use of creativity. Allow yourself to think in an unusual way, letting your mind wander in search of different solutions – that is being creative.
How to acquire the skills of the 4.0 Purchasing Manager
As much as some people are more predisposed to have the skills considered important to the 4.0 purchasing manager, fortunately they can all be developed. Check out some tips to improve them.
Study various themes
Analyzing data and making decisions means integrating different information from various sources into positive insights, so the broader the knowledge, the deeper the conclusions will be. Diversified knowledge allows us to perceive more variables when evaluating situations and seeking solutions.
We live in a time when novelties appear almost daily and it is necessary to have the will to experiment them and learn how to use them. But be prepared: what has been learned today may soon become obsolete and you will need to restart the process!
To better understand this fast, volatile and uncertain world in which we are inserted, we suggest reading about the VUCA world.
Extend your observation and questioning skills
Analyzing what happens around you, paying attention to detail and seeking interesting and relevant conclusions, is a way to develop the capacity for analysis and to make more assertive decisions. But it is necessary to go further, elaborating the right questions and looking for answers in the available data.
Practice with logic games
More than just fun, this type of game allows you to find effective and quick solutions to a given problem, helping to develop analytical skills.
Sleep well and write down your ideas
Sleeping enough is essential to mature the knowledge that has been absorbed during the day – it is worth noting that the sleep time necessary for the well-being of each individual changes from person to person, but according to experts the ideal revolves around 6 to 8 hours.
Research conducted by the University of California, USA, pointed out that the stage of sleep called REM (when dreams occur), stimulates creativity, besides consolidating the memories of the previous day and organizing thinking – broadening the possibility of insights on the problems for which we are seeking solutions. Last but not least, a good night’s sleep prepares our brain for the activities of the next day, increasing mood, well-being and productivity.
If you are interested in going deeper into the subject, you can access the Sleep and Cognition Lab, which has the participation of Sara Mednick, one of the responsible for the aforementioned research.
And one last tip: don’t forget to have a notebook always at hand. The best ideas can come up at any time and, if not noted, may be forgotten in the face of the amount of daily tasks
The Purchasing Manager and Industry 4.0
Digital transformation has changed the way companies do business and execute their processes, but no matter how easy it has been, it still depends on the human being to direct and use resources, generating value for the organization.
In a largely digital age, the purchasing manager needs to know how to deal with the day-to-day of Industry 4.0, in which the emergence of new technologies, resources, regulations and ways of doing things requires specific skills – like the ones we cover in this blog post.
Relying on good suppliers and business partners at this time can be decisive. And Soluparts, a global company with offices in Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Hong Kong and the USA, will help your company to make a difference. With Soluparts, your organization can count on:
- Reduced prices – because we have a team of specialists that researches and negotiates parts aiming the best cost-benefit relation for your company;
- Reduced number of indirect material suppliers;
- Significant reduction in the number of quotations, with a consequent increase in the efficiency of the Purchasing Department
- Guaranteed supply of any item – we have access to the world’s most strategic markets.
Purchase manager, make your work more efficient and gain time to invest in yourself. Try our services: click and order your quote today!
4 essential skills you need for a successful career
Feeling lost, frustrated or disappointed is part of everyone’s career at some point. In a rapidly changing environment, this feeling gains even more strength, in a way that finding a focus may become increasingly difficult.
To avoid this situation – in which many people feel stagnant or distant from their purpose in life – we offer some tips that can facilitate both personal and professional development, in addition to showing what advantages can be obtained from this process:
First of all, it is necessary to understand what this stage of human development is about: acquiring the skills and competences necessary to deal with both personal and career-related challenges. They can vary between different points and be obtained in even more different ways:
Linked to self-esteem, this pillar is about finding your own life purpose. Undoubtedly, it requires strong doses of self-knowledge to identify strengths and weaknesses in order to avoid self-sabotage, to find your own strength, among others.
The reward is worth it. For instance, it is possible to bring an excerpt from the renowned book “The Art of War”, in which Sun Tzu states: “Know the enemy and yourself and you will obtain victory without any danger; know the terrain and conditions of nature, and you will always be victorious. ”
One method that contributes to this is the Individual Development Plan. Basically, it is a document in which you can set goals and objectives related to who you want to be and where you want to go in the short, medium and long terms.
Investing in specialization courses, being attentive to the news in your area and finding ways to innovate are essential steps to contribute to the gradual climb of the career ladder.
In addition, networking can be an essential piece of the professional puzzle: stay close to people who contribute to your development and who can help you gain the skills needed to reach the top.
The benefits are many, both for yourself and for companies that are aware of this potential. In numbers, a survey by the Sales Readiness Group shows that companies that invest in good training programs achieve 52.6% higher performance than those that do not invest in training or that provide inconsistent programs to their employees.
Based on these points, professionals from the new era must develop for the future, around three key concepts:
1. Lifelong Learning
With the increasing transformations brought up by technology, professionals will have to become true lifelong learners. The concept, which must already be familiar, shows the importance of valuing continuing education by professionals, the ability to be constantly updated on the latest trends and innovations in the market, taking a “sense of ownership” in relation to one’s own career – this particular trend increasingly valued in professionals working in pretty much all fields.
If 20 years ago people still chose the profession they would have their whole lives, researches show that today’s professionals tend to change their career on average five times in their lives. Furthermore, changing scenarios and adopting new technologies require constant recycling and the need for new knowledge and skills.
Why should this gain even more strength in the years to come? A study recently published by Gartner shows that the change in organizational culture will be one of the main pillars for the digital transformation of business in the supply chain, as shown in the graph below:
Another example of how this concept can be applied in the future is in a report published by the European Commission. The material aims to guide professionals regarding the digital skills needed in the upcoming years and unites both concepts (digital and lifelong learning) in a very interesting way. Learning digital skills is necessary and capable of being incorporated into teaching in all subjects, at any stage of learning.
2. Autonomy in relation to one’s career
It is essential that professionals start thinking about their own learning early, incorporating lifelong learning into their knowledge strategy and increasingly gaining autonomy to do so, instead of waiting for the company to offer courses and internal workshops for talent development.
This is defined by Kathryn Sherratt, CFO and board member of different companies, as her career-related responsibility. “Many people can help you to start, but you need to take the first step and embrace the initiative. You need to have some idea of what you want to achieve and how to get there” she says.
Perhaps the most important concept for fruitful professional development is curation. Once you understand the importance of remaining an eternal learner and have autonomy and focus to develop, you must have the ability to choose what to absorb and study, what type of course and content will make a difference in your career and bring you closer to your goals.
In a world with a large volume of easily accessible information, it is common to find ourselves taking courses or reading books that are not necessarily ideal for our life project. In other words, it is necessary that the professional establishes by himself the relevant information for him, continuously curating what really matters for his own improvement. In this sense, establishing your own criteria is essential.
4. Have a purpose
In times of change and crisis, it is the purpose that keeps us steady and in the right direction to achieve our goals despite some eventual changes in paths. A well-defined purpose also brings benefits such as motivation, persistence and resilience in one’s own trajectory – personal and professional. Besides, finding your purpose can be a very satisfactory process, according to Mario Sergio Cortella, a brazilian philosopher in his book, “Why do we do what we do?”.
Finding it, however, is not an easy task. To help with this, Glassdoor, one of the world’s biggest recruitment companies, brings four questions that professionals should ask themselves in order to achieve self-knowledge, as a kick-off:
- What do you want to bring to the world?
- What do you want to do?
- How can your personal life go at the same pace as your professional life?
- Where do you add value?
Bringing the idea of purpose into the routine helps to form a clear sense of perspective and collaborates to obtain more chances for future success. Ultimately, Luiza Helena Trajano defines it as “the backbone of a company”.
Developing these four pillars can bring significant benefits to professionals in any field. Nowadays, the main impasses imposed for this to be achieved are: the lack of communication and the development of soft skills, the culture of competition instead of collaboration and the lack of available knowledge within the area.
Overcoming those obstacles, however, is not impossible: start thinking about ways to build your own career going beyond what is usually offered in formal educational institutions. It is increasingly necessary to have multidisciplinary knowledge to know where and how to act, working as a team and establishing clear and reliable methodologies. This way, it’s possible to be prepared for what lies ahead.
Did you like our tips? How about starting your learning today? Follow Soluparts’ blog and tell us how your career has been going. Whenever we can help you, count on us!
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, employees can benefit from the advancement of technology to make crescively strategic decisions.