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Procurement can make or break a project. Think about it: Almost every project will require you to obtain good or services from third parties. Procure the wrong goods, or get stuck in a bad supplier relationship, and your project budget and timelines can spiral out of control.

Yet, many project managers do not fully understand the procurement practice, how it fits into their role and how to get the best results.

How much exactly do project managers need to know about procurement?

It depends on how much of the procurement you’ll be handling for projects. Sometimes you’ll work closely with the procurement team; sometimes you’ll fly solo.

Either way, you need to know how procurement works, and your role within the process, to ensure your project runs smoothly and your suppliers add value where needed. That’s why CIO Magazine puts procurement management in the list of skills every project manager should have.

Take these five steps before your next project:

Learn the basics of procurement.

At the very least, project managers need to know:

  • What procurement is
  •  How it can bring value to your project
  •  How the process works

Depending on your roles, you can also delve deeper into contract management, negotiations, evaluating tenders and quotes, and more.

There are plenty of procurement qualifications and short online courses you can take to ensure you have the specific knowledge skills required for your role.

 Know the procurement process for your organisation.

Every procurement process is the different from the next. Make sure you’re clear on how procurement works in your organisation and who’s responsible for what. For example, whose job is it to create requests for bids and tenders? How long does this typically take? Who looks after contract management and supplier reviews? Find out sooner rather than later so you can streamline your project procurement and avoid unnecessary hold-ups.

Get to know your procurement team. 

The procurement team is NOT the enemy. They aren’t there to put a spanner in your project and hold things up. They exist to make sure the organisation is getting value for money from vendors. See them as an extension of your project them. Get to know their strengths and plan how you will work together to ensure a successful project.

Become an expert in managing suppliers. 

Project managers are usually responsible for managing suppliers for their projects. But do you know what it takes to build strong, valuable supplier relationships? If you’re unsure, now is the time to hone your skills. Take a short course on contract management and ask your procurement team for tried-and-tested tips.

Work out how to document lessons learned. 

As the project manager, you and your team who have worked closely with the suppliers will have the best insight into how successful the procurement process was.

How did the suppliers perform? Would you deal with them again? Did you get value from the suppliers? Document these lessons as they will be critical for your future projects.

Over to you

No two projects are ever the same. Sometimes you might need additional goods and services from external vendors, other times you might need more people power. But one thing is sure – by learning more about procurement and understanding exactly how it can add value to your project, you’re on the road to success.

 Want to take your procurement skills to the next level? Find out how Transformed can help- contact us!


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