5 things procurement professionals should do when there’s spare time

As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses across the world, many of you will be incredibly busy. For those working in food production and distribution, to those providing medical supplies, you’re playing a vital role in ensuring your respective nations continue to function amid all the uncertainty generated by lockdowns. 

But for some, who aren’t furloughed, you might not be as busyYou’ll be working from home, trying to keep your things running during the crisis. You might be experiencing a slowdown in activity, directly tied into the global economy and its downturn. As such, you could spend this time honing your skills to emerge a better buyer as the pandemic eases. 

In this blog post, we’ll share our recommendations and suggestions on how to best use this time. 

Take a CIPS qualification studying

It’s the perfect time to take a Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) qualification. Internationally recognised, the courses carry significant weight for employers when considering hiring new procurement staff. 

While you might not be able to leave your home to get to a venue to study, CIPS offers a suite of online webinars to help you hone your skills. 

Read one of these procurement-related books 

When you have spare time, reading a book is always a good thing to do. These procurement-related manuscripts are well worth investing your time in: 

  • The Procurement and Supply Managers Desk Reference  this is an authoritative guide on everything you need to know about a procurement manager. You can find information about sourcing and how to diversify your supplier base. It also contains vital checklists and guides for scenarios that you might come across in your day-to-day. It’s written by seasoned procurement experts Fred Sollish and John Semanik
     
  • The Procurement Game Plan   the Procurement Game Plan helps supply management professionals improve supplier relationships, leverage cost reduction techniques and offer strategies to improve organisational effectiveness and efficiency. It’s a fantastic resource and well worth your time
     
  • Common Sense Purchasing  Dr Tom DePaoli is the author of ‘Common Sense Purchasing’ a candid account of his experience negotiating during purchasing activities. Famed for a no holds barred approach, the book is a straightforward, buzzword-free experience, giving you the skills and experience you need to buy without fuss. 

Spend more time talking to colleagues over video chat

 

Just under half of the world’s population is under some sort of lockdown as we write this. Many of you will be home alone, without any sort of real human contact. So, to battle loneliness and isolation, spend some time talking to your colleagues over video conferencing tools. 

Here are some things you can talk about that aren’t coronavirus-related: 

Bring up pop culture  it’s almost certain to set tongues wagging, but talking about what’s on Netflix, Amazon Instant or Disney+ is a great conversation starter. 

If you’ve watched something recently, share your experiences with your colleagues and tell them all about it. If you’re seeking recommendations, don’t be afraid to ask! 

Ask how your colleagues are coping – the COVID-19 pandemic is a very disruptive and challenging time. In a short period, our lives have been fundamentally changed, with our access to the outside world limited our routines disrupted and much more. What’s more, talk of the pandemic is dominating the television, internet, social media and other online spaces.  

Take the opportunity to check-in with your friends at work and see how they’re doing – they’ll appreciate it. 

Set up something fun – keep things fun with your colleagues by making things competitive and playing games. They don’t have to be video games, like Call of Duty or Rainbow Six Siege – you could set up a pub quiz on a Friday for members of your team to get involved with. 

If not a quiz, other games like Cards Against Humanity, Exploding Kittens or other online-based board games could be fun. 

Complete admin tasks you’ve been struggling to do

Now is the perfect opportunity to do things you’ve been thinking about for a while. Is there a project you’ve been desperate to get off the ground? Or is there data you need to interrogate? Perhaps a big stack of emails you need to get through? Use the time you must clear your task list, so once the pandemic eases, you can be ready to be productive. 

If you’re considering digitising your procurement processes, now is the time to do the research for this, so that when the pandemic eases, you’ll be in a strong position to procure the tools you need to support your business, should future challenges, like the one we’re living through, occur again.   

Plan for post-pandemic pickup 

COVID-19 will gradually ease across the world, and eventually, regular life will resume. Use the time that you have now to prepare for the future. Complete tasks such as: 

  • Identifying new suppliers to drive down costs 
  • Audit contracts and prepare for eAuction activities if appropriate 
  • Use spend analysis tools to identify areas of high spend and devise strategies to save 
  • If there’s an issue with spend culture in your business, prepare strategies to mitigate this 

What are you doing during the pandemic? 

What do you plan on doing during the COVID-19 pandemic? Will you try and get some of these suggestions done? Or do you have another plan? Let us know what you think on LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.