procurementEvery manufacturing plant, processing center, or job shop accepts daily deliveries of products and parts required to complete the job at hand. How do these components magically arrive in time to be assembled or used?

They have to be specified for function, verified for quality, checked for availability, and price negotiated prior to being boxed up and shipped.

The procurement manager handles all of these tasks to make sure the team has everything they need to keep the business moving forward. So what makes them tick? Glad you asked!

Procurement Managers

Procurement managers and industrial buyers are the purchasing arm of all manufacturing organizations.  They are tasked with identifying, researching, and selecting suppliers for the various projects and inner workings of the business.

To this end they are focused on the end cost per piece, impact of shipping options available, the reliability of on time delivery, and the overall quality of the products or services they are sourcing.  Once the design engineer compiles the BOM, the procurement manager reviews all specifically requested parts (by brand, part number, and attributes) as well as all other components necessary for the project.

The first stop is the internal “approved vendor list” that is maintained by the procurement team. They would much rather use an existing vendor to supply newly required products as this reduces the cost and the contract negotiations necessary to onboard a new vendor (THIS IS WHY IT’S SO IMPORTANT TO MAKE THE LIST!).  If they do not find the appropriate suppliers on the pre-approved list, the external search begins. 

Stress Created By

The procurement manager needs to make certain that the right products are sourced and purchased from reliable suppliers at the best price. If the products are of poor quality or do not arrive on time in the right locations, everything grinds to a halt. If the project runs over budget due to poor supplier selection, the company loses money. If they fail, the company loses money and nothing can be produced.   

Personality

This individual has a strong will and is familiar with tough contract negotiations.  It is second nature to call a supplier and have lengthy discussions over price and terms.

Typical Day

The day consists of tracking shipments of products to make sure arrivals coincide with the production needs, contacting potential suppliers, researching products and services required by engineering and production, and maintaining all documentation and certifications for products and services sourced.

Desired Content

The procurement team likes to see as much info about your products or services as possible. Examples of who you currently work with, industries served, measurable quality standards, your supply chain capabilities, and certifications are desirable.

The more a potential supplier can demonstrate their ability to step right into the supply chain that exists as a new or replacement resource, the more likely they are to make the “short list” for consideration.

Influence on Buying Process

For all commodity products they are usually the final decision makers. When specialty products or services are necessary they work closely with engineering to make sure the right selection is made.  All contracts for ongoing orders are negotiated by the procurement manager.

Whew, that was a lot to take in, right?  Just remember that procurement managers are not a roadblock they are your partner in bringing in new business.  Treat them as extensions of your own team and give them the documentation they need to get you on the approved vendor list.  Once you’re in, they won’t want to use anyone else.

If your products or services are appropriate for the MRO market, they are probably applicable for Design Engineers and MRO Managers (look for this blog soon) as well. Learn more about the 3 most influential personas in the industrial buying process in our free guide below!

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Originally published May 22, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016

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Buyer Personas