Top 3 Reasons Purchasing Leaders Send Their Teams to Purchasing Training

Training and developing teams in purchasing are important goals for purchasing leaders, now more than ever. For the last four years, purchasing teams have had many additional challenges in the supply chain creating day-to-day challenges: Covid, price increases, inflation, tariffs, and wars throughout the globe to name a few. Moving from all tactical tasks to strategic planning or at least a healthy balance of the two is critical for purchasing leaders as they look to deliver results in 2024. 

Purchasing Skills Training | Advanced Purchasing Dynamics

Whether upskilling your team is done with virtual or in-person training, skill development and filling skills gaps are crucial in driving strategic key initiatives for purchasing teams. For purchasing professionals, ongoing training is also essential for career growth and professional development. 

I have heard many reasons through the years as to why Leaders are sending their team to training, but a few highlighted below are the reasons I have heard continually and most often. 

Here are the top 3 reasons why Purchasing Leadership that I have worked with are sending their teams to training: 

1. Skill Development 

Purchasing leaders often send their teams to training to enhance their team’s skills and knowledge in procurement and purchasing processes. This ensures that team members stay updated with the latest industry trends, best practices, and tools. 

Upskilling and level-setting skill sets across the team are often the highest priority for leaders sending their team to training. Whether managers are looking for increased costing skills, more efficient and effective negotiation skills, or strategic commodity decision making, training provides an opportunity to increase skills and level-set skills across the department. 

Continuous improvement is also very important for purchasing leaders. Negotiation, for example, is a skill that can be continuously enhanced and improved. Training provides a foundation, and ongoing learning and refinement of negotiation skills ensure that purchasing professionals stay effective in the ever-changing business environment. The purchasing landscape is constantly evolving with new technologies and innovative approaches. Purchasing leaders are sending their teams to training to ensure they are knowledgeable about the latest tools and technologies, enabling them to leverage innovations for more effective purchasing processes. Learning new tools, techniques, and workflows can significantly boost productivity, allowing purchasing professionals to handle their responsibilities more effectively. 

Training & Development | Advanced Purchasing Dynamics

Training will enhance the confidence of purchasing professionals. Confidence is crucial during negotiations and other purchasing functions, as it allows individuals to articulate their needs, stand firm on critical issues, and navigate through challenging conversations with suppliers. 

Training allows for increased skills and confidence, leading to a more strategic decision-making process. Purchasing training provides valuable data and insights for strategic decision-making. Having more tools in the toolbox and learning about a strategic approach to purchasing will drive more informed decisions that positively impact purchasing decision and outcomes. 

Understanding your communication style and being able to modify behavior are additional skills crucial for a purchasing team’s success. Leaders are looking to equip their team with the skills to recognize and counteract manipulative tactics in negotiation and apply proven approaches to recognize and adjust to the behavioral style of others to achieve mutually agreeable solutions faster. It is difficult to maintain composure when dealing with difficult counterparties, but training that identifies communication styles and provides tools to modify behavior will help. 

Negotiation basics, like understanding power dynamics and listening before you share, help you forge a productive path. But finesse in communications is necessary as well.

2. Cost Savings 

Well-trained teams are more efficient in managing costs and negotiating favorable deals. Purchasing leaders recognize the potential for cost savings when their teams are equipped with the right skills and strategies, making training a worthwhile investment. This is essential for achieving financial goals and contributing to the overall success of the organization. 

Effective purchasing skills empower purchasing professionals to secure better deals and terms with suppliers. This directly contributes to cost savings for the organization, as negotiators can leverage their skills to obtain favorable prices, discounts, and favorable payment terms. Negotiating better terms has been a highly-ranked need brought up in my conversations with Purchasing Leaders, and this will continue to be a hot topic for years to come.  

Negotiation training provides the tools purchasing professionals need to craft contracts with optimized terms and conditions. This includes delivery schedules and other contractual elements that align with the organization’s goals and requirements. 

Preparation is an important skill taught in purchasing training that will lead to better outcomes in negotiation. Well-prepared negotiators are more likely to anticipate challenges, understand their counterparts’ positions, and develop effective strategies, ultimately leading to better outcomes and cost savings. 

Comprehensive negotiation training courses emphasize the importance of creating value through collaboration. By identifying common interests and areas for mutual gain, negotiators can find solutions that lead to cost savings for both parties involved. 

It is also important that purchasing teams understand the different types of negotiation styles and when to use them. When in negotiations, it is critical to understand the commonly used tactics that may be used when dealing with suppliers and how to counter them. 

Cost Savings | Advanced Purchasing Dynamics

Training that provides a thorough understanding of cost drivers will also deliver cost savings opportunities. Understanding details on a cost breakdown or supplier quote will allow for fact and knowledge-based negotiations with suppliers, identifying outliers, and then having the knowledge to address the discrepancies.   

Training courses that have a course project deliver direct ROI back to the organization by immediately applying skills taught in training to their jobs. An added benefit to course projects is achieving certification in these training courses, by applying what you are learning during the courses by real-world application. 

Lastly, the leaders who I work with say that getting a professional certification in purchasing is also important. Certifications provide a stepping stone for the person receiving the training and certification, separating themselves from their peers by showing value and dedication to continuous improvement. Having certified professionals also looks good for the companies, showing current and future team members that they value continuous improvement and professional development. In addition to training leading to direct cost savings for the company, courses with professional certification are important for both the attendee and the company. 

3. Improved Supplier Relationships 

Obtaining lower prices is an objective of purchasing training, of course, but it also equips purchasing professionals with communication and relationship-building skills.  Building positive and collaborative relationships with suppliers can lead to long-term partnerships, improved cooperation, and better overall long-term outcomes.   

Let’s face it-many companies were in a position in the last few years where their supply base did not have enough parts to fill all their orders. They needed to decide which of their customers were going to get their orders filled and which of their customers were not. Companies that got parts during this incredibly challenging time had the strongest relationship with their supply base. 

Supplier Relationships | Advanced Purchasing Dynamics

Skilled negotiators focus on creating mutually beneficial agreements with the goal of a win-win outcome. Effective purchasing training helps purchasing professionals develop a mindset that seeks outcomes where both parties feel they have gained value. This approach fosters positive supplier relationships and encourages future collaboration. 

Negotiation training teaches skills on mutually beneficial agreements, in addition to the value of long-term strategic partnerships. Instead of viewing suppliers as mere transactional partners, building strong relationships allows for the development of long-term strategic partnerships. These partnerships can lead to joint initiatives, shared goals, and mutual benefits that extend beyond individual transactions. 

Purchasing training can provide skills for more effective collaborative problem solving. When issues arise, purchasing leaders want their team to have the tools to approach the problem collaboratively and with strong problem-solving skills. The team needs the tools and confidence to focus on finding root causes and implementing solutions rather than assigning blame. This will encourage a culture of continuous improvement and learning from challenges. 

In summary, training for purchasing professionals is an investment that pays off through improved skill development, cost savings, and improved supplier relationships. Leaders are sending their purchasing teams to training to increase their overall effectiveness of the purchasing process and fill the skills gaps in their teams. Now more than ever, enhancing your team through training is crucial in driving the most successful outcomes in your purchasing department. 

To learn more about how training can increase your team’s effectiveness or APD training details, please email Denise Mattern at dmattern@apurchasingd.com or set up a meeting with this link. 


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