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Why We Should Work Hard on Our Soft Skills

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Procurement is more than numbers and spreadsheets. It is people, too, and that’s why the important role of emotional intelligence is increasingly recognized in this field.

In the current environment, “good companies are looking after their micro and small suppliers,” noted Nic Walden, senior adviser in The Hackett Group’s procurement advisory. “Some are paying suppliers immediately. Suppliers will remember how they are being treated right now and that will set the tone for the relationships of the future.”

Walden was quoted in an excellent article in Raconteur that surveyed supply chain leaders about their thoughts on the role of emotional intelligence. The consensus: Smart organizations work hard at developing their soft skills.

One piece of advice could be summed up as making sure you don’t always approach your supply chain partners in “gimme” mode. People notice and remember that behavior.

“When there is a limit in the supply of anything, someone has to make the decision of who gets what is available and who misses out,” said Jason Kay, chief executive of LiveLead. “It stands to reason that those customers who always pay on time, who haven’t screwed the price down to the bare minimum and aren’t always calling with emergency orders will most often get preference in these situations.”

The importance of emotional intelligence is changing what some organizations look for in their new procurement hires. “Today, employers seek to recruit procurement professionals with strong emotional intelligence, recognizing the benefits they can bring to their organizations,” Julien Brunel, automotive sector specialist at consultancy Vendigital, told Raconteur. “By collaborating more closely, it might be possible to accelerate innovation processes, enhance key services, reduce risk or improve operational efficiency.”

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