Negotiation is no longer the most important skill for purchasing professionals, at least not according to an annual survey conducted by the Next Level Purchasing Association (NLPA) of over 2,500 global purchasing professionals. The survey, conducted in January 2012, asked participants to identify the most important skill in purchasing and supply management; Sourcing & Supplier Selection placed first. Negotiation, which held the top spot for the last four years, placed second. This is a strong indicator that today’s purchasing professionals realize that the best deal you can negotiate from a supplier is still a bad deal if the supplier cannot perform to expectations.

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Recognizing the importance of these and other skill areas, procurement professionals are increasingly engaging in training to improve their skill levels. Online training, often regarded as the most cost-effective approach to education, continues to be popular with this year’s survey respondents reporting that they’ve participated in an average number of 1.8 online classes in the past year. This represents a 12.5% increase over last year’s average of 1.6 and over double the average number of online classes taken seven years ago (0.75). Indications are that online training will become even more popular in 2012 as the respondents expect to participate in an average of 4.28 online classes in the 12 months following the survey.

These statistics and many more – such as the average annual cost savings and avoidance of a purchasing professional, the average per-person purchasing training budget, and the difference that a certification makes in cost savings performance and salary, among others – are available in the 2012 Purchasing & Supply Management Career & Skills Report. The Career & Skills Report is free to members of the NLPA, and a NLPA membership is also free and instant.

Here’s how to get the report:

If you’re already an NLPA member: Log in to the association at and navigate to the “What’s New” tab. There you’ll find a link to the report.
If you’re not yet an NLPA member: Sign up for your free membership in the Next Level Purchasing Association at After doing so, you’ll receive an email with a link to the report.

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2
President & Chief Procurement Officer – Next Level Purchasing Association
Author – The Procurement Game Plan
Struggling To Have A Rewarding Purchasing Career?
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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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