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Procurement has often been regarded as a back-office function and roadblock to other departments’ spending, rigidly reactionary to disruption and devoid of strategy outside of cost-cutting. The role often reported to various departments that eventually rolled up to senior leadership. That is all changing as digitalization has brought procurement out from the shadows and into the spotlight and, in some cases, reporting directly to the CEO. Today’s procurement leaders have an innate sense of curiosity that touches every level of the organization.
Project management and negotiation skills are essential to the procurement leader, but so are active listening, conflict resolution, and empathy. The best procurement officers possess tactical hard skills as well as strategic soft skills. For those interested in going into a career in procurement, many colleges and universities now offer majors in procurement and supply chain management.