I’ve written a lot about the skills required to be a successful buyer in today’s world. But today’s blog post will focus instead on qualities – attributes that are more related to one’s personality rather than their ability to learn a skill.

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To be a buyer, you have to have “thick skin.” When you’re dealing with dozens or hundreds of vendors, things will go wrong. As much as smart buying can help minimize these problems, things will still go wrong.

Even if all of your suppliers have six sigma capabilities, that still means that they will produce 3.4 defects per million opportunities. One of those defects may be an order of yours!

So you have to have the personality that can withstand unexpected problems. Don’t take them personally and let your emotions take over. You can’t be the type that has a coronary at the slightest anomaly.

All such anomalies must be fixed, so you have to diligently pursue resolutions. And you don’t handle each resolution the same way. I’ve seen a lot of buyers make mistakes in this area.

Some suppliers are chronically bad and are most responsive when taken to task, military-style. But other suppliers are committed to quality and customer satisfaction and will make corrective action an immediate priority. They don’t need to be barked at. But unseasoned buyers sometimes go barking away. And that’s an error in judgement.

When a problem arises with a supplier, you have to ask yourself “Can I get the same results in the same timeframe by being collaborative as opposed to combative?” If so, do not rip the supplier’s head off! You hurt your reputation and may forever damage your company’s relationship with that supplier.

The bottom line is that today’s buyers must be capable of dealing with problems professionally. If you’re not, then another profession may be right for you!

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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