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Building a Procurement Team

Procurement teams are similar to other teams. They differ in exactly the same way as other teams from informal teams and they need to satisf... thumbnail 1 summary
Procurement teams are similar to other teams. They differ in exactly the same way as other teams from informal teams and they need to satisfy each individual team member's wants and needs.

Procurement teams need the same widespread variety of skills and types of persons and it is a challenge for procurement managers to identify those persons with the right types of skill and talent when building their teams. This is particularly important when working with cross functional teams. There is often a tendency to try and recruit very similar types of person to teams in the hope that they will work better together.

Homogenous teams are less liable to suffer from disruption arising from team member conflict. On the other hand, they are less productive than heterogeneous teams. Peace comes at a price.

Key aspects of team management are facilitating the development of a team (through the processes of forming, storming, norming and performing); identifying and developing the task; managing the environment and leading the team.

There has been increased recognition of the importance of team working in procurement. This reflects the increasing importance of services in many economies. It is usually less easy to compartmentalise the work of specifying and managing services. Despite its importance, very little attention is paid in procurement training to understanding and applying good team techniques which might account for procurement still occupying a relatively junior role in many organisations.

Leading a procurement team:

Leadership of a procurement team requires the leader to act in a variety of roles. He/she has to be an expert in procurement, an inspirer of subordinates, an inspiration to internal customers, a reliable subordinate to senior management and a trusted manager of suppliers.

Such leadership depends on a variety of factors, not all of which are under the control of the procurement expert. The ability to respond to situations and make the most of them is essential and so is the ability to recognise that different leadership styles are required for different tasks.

Within procurement teams, there is a need to change the style and adapt to differing circumstances and to do this without being a source of confusion to the team members. A procurement leader balances various mutually contradictory demands. Leaders need to understand the basics of leadership theory in order to do this.