Executive Briefings

Procurement and Sourcing Has Talent! Or Does It?

Analyst Insight: Procurement and sourcing is a continuously evolving profession. A global Gartner Supply Chain study of 453 companies finds 51 percent of procurement and sourcing talent hired in the last three years was to satisfy short-term needs, with a focus on basic, intermediate and advanced procurement and sourcing skill sets. Procurement and sourcing hiring strategies for 2012 shifts to long-term needs and advanced skills requirements in the areas of SRM, supplier collaboration, performance management and analytics, and financial procurement. - Mickey North Rizza, Gartner Supply Chain Research

Procurement and sourcing talent requirements shifted significantly in 2011 into 2012 to advanced and expert skill sets in supplier relationship management, supplier collaboration, performance management and analytics, and financial procurement.  These skill sets require individuals to have extensive knowledge of broad processes across the business as they relate to their given area of expertise.  These individuals can serve as subject matter experts for both improvements and implementation.  Unfortunately these skill sets are often hard to find within a procurement team that has been focused on filling short-term needs.

To fill the current and immediate gap in 2012, many procurement leaders are hiring experienced external procurement professionals or from internal job rotation programs that might include finance, engineering and manufacturing skill sets.  Internal job rotation programs bring a broader business perspective and technical expertise that can be applied to procurement and sourcing disciplines.

The procurement and sourcing skill set shift will continue into 2016.  Gartner Supply Chain Research found procurement and sourcing skills required in 2016 will be advanced skills in financial procurement, new-product introduction and sustainability - but will also require leadership and strategic skills for strategy and change management, performance management and analytics, and SRM.  Leadership and strategic skills require visionaries who can articulate evolving and critical trends in the given process, identify new opportunities by drawing upon extensive experience and business knowledge, and lead the organization in necessary change management.

Gartner Supply Chain research found that in order to close this larger gap by 2016, U.S. and UK organizations are integrating human-resource training programs into the business plan and making extensive use of mentoring programs.   In contrast, Asia Pacific countries are using masters of discipline and masters of orchestration for career development and retention.  Master of discipline is a deep subject matter expert that ensures an individual function within the supply chain is operating at industry-leading levels.  Master of orchestration has broad supply chain knowledge and an intimate feel for how the functions enable or inhibit one another in the execution of critical end-to-end processes.

Interestingly, university programs tailored to meet business objectives and transformational activities along with industry certification programs and best practices are not at the top of the list to assist procurement and sourcing talent gap shortages by 2016.  Continuing research finds many procurement and sourcing organizations have still not focused enough attention on required future skill sets, and have not strategized with university and industry certification programs.

2012 is a prime opportunity to address future organizational needs and work with the above-mentioned external resources to develop the right curriculum and career development framework, work study and internship programs, retention programs, and hiring strategies.

The good news is procurement and sourcing has talent, but it must quickly and continuously evolve to meet the business needs.

                                        The Outlook

In 2012, organizations will focus on current needs gap closure but with long-term objectives in mind.  First, procurement and sourcing team expertise must be assessed; then business objectives and growth plans should be scrutinized and tied to the assessment.

Many professionals can develop longer-term skill requirements with a training, development and retention strategy.  Training, career development, and retention programs must also be implemented, however, to improve the future value contribution of procurement and sourcing.


Keywords: HR & Labor Management, Business Strategy Alignment, Global Supply Chain Management, Gartner, Human-Resource Management, Master of Discipline, Master of Orchestration

Procurement and sourcing talent requirements shifted significantly in 2011 into 2012 to advanced and expert skill sets in supplier relationship management, supplier collaboration, performance management and analytics, and financial procurement.  These skill sets require individuals to have extensive knowledge of broad processes across the business as they relate to their given area of expertise.  These individuals can serve as subject matter experts for both improvements and implementation.  Unfortunately these skill sets are often hard to find within a procurement team that has been focused on filling short-term needs.

To fill the current and immediate gap in 2012, many procurement leaders are hiring experienced external procurement professionals or from internal job rotation programs that might include finance, engineering and manufacturing skill sets.  Internal job rotation programs bring a broader business perspective and technical expertise that can be applied to procurement and sourcing disciplines.

The procurement and sourcing skill set shift will continue into 2016.  Gartner Supply Chain Research found procurement and sourcing skills required in 2016 will be advanced skills in financial procurement, new-product introduction and sustainability - but will also require leadership and strategic skills for strategy and change management, performance management and analytics, and SRM.  Leadership and strategic skills require visionaries who can articulate evolving and critical trends in the given process, identify new opportunities by drawing upon extensive experience and business knowledge, and lead the organization in necessary change management.

Gartner Supply Chain research found that in order to close this larger gap by 2016, U.S. and UK organizations are integrating human-resource training programs into the business plan and making extensive use of mentoring programs.   In contrast, Asia Pacific countries are using masters of discipline and masters of orchestration for career development and retention.  Master of discipline is a deep subject matter expert that ensures an individual function within the supply chain is operating at industry-leading levels.  Master of orchestration has broad supply chain knowledge and an intimate feel for how the functions enable or inhibit one another in the execution of critical end-to-end processes.

Interestingly, university programs tailored to meet business objectives and transformational activities along with industry certification programs and best practices are not at the top of the list to assist procurement and sourcing talent gap shortages by 2016.  Continuing research finds many procurement and sourcing organizations have still not focused enough attention on required future skill sets, and have not strategized with university and industry certification programs.

2012 is a prime opportunity to address future organizational needs and work with the above-mentioned external resources to develop the right curriculum and career development framework, work study and internship programs, retention programs, and hiring strategies.

The good news is procurement and sourcing has talent, but it must quickly and continuously evolve to meet the business needs.

                                        The Outlook

In 2012, organizations will focus on current needs gap closure but with long-term objectives in mind.  First, procurement and sourcing team expertise must be assessed; then business objectives and growth plans should be scrutinized and tied to the assessment.

Many professionals can develop longer-term skill requirements with a training, development and retention strategy.  Training, career development, and retention programs must also be implemented, however, to improve the future value contribution of procurement and sourcing.


Keywords: HR & Labor Management, Business Strategy Alignment, Global Supply Chain Management, Gartner, Human-Resource Management, Master of Discipline, Master of Orchestration