The purchasers of the future
The development of purchasing in the next 5 to 10 years. Concerning purchasing in general, i.e. organisational structure and significance and the corresponding expanded qualification profile for purchasers.
Frankfurt am Main, September 16, 2015 – Tanja Dammann Götsch is an expert in purchasing for the automotive industry and owner of PURCHASING PARTNER. In the first half of 2015 alone, she worked on-site in the USA, Mexico, China and Germany. In response to the request of a student of the Würzburg-Schweinfurt University of Applied Sciences (FHWS) she elucidates her perspective on the future of the purchaser in the automotive industry.
Tanja Dammann-Götsch: The purchaser of the future will be a manager of his product category, carry considerable responsibility, be able to master intercultural communication and therefore be an all-rounder of a modern industrial operation. In my opinion, the classic organisational structure will therefore no longer exist in the future. This applies to all purchasers. As for management, there will be "cross-functional" teams with professional rather than disciplinary superiors. Their negotiating skills will determine the purchaser´s success. He will no longer be the price cutters of recent years, but "negotiating with personality" will be what distinguishes him. He will travel and always have his office with him. He will work project-based in interdisciplinary teams together with developers, technicians and sales reps. Meetings will take place as before, but more efficiently than today. Participants will ensure that the time is used creatively and solutions are worked out together. The purchaser will therefore be an intercultural commodity group manager.
What does this mean in contrast to today? In 2015 the classic purchaser job usually looks like this: The buyer sitting in the open-plan office in front of the computer along with other buyers. Half of his working time is spent entering data into the system, while the other half is busy answering e-mails. In between meetings are held, which usually take place fraught with conflict. The result of this mode of operation is often: high dissatisfaction and turnover, skills shortages.
At present, therefore, a rethinking is happening. The change can be felt in the beginning stages: Already more and more young people from universities are coming into purchasing who no longer want to sit in the open-plan office. They are very well educated, well connected and want to work from the home office or on the road. They are used to communicating via the Internet and open to intercultural exchange.
The qualification requirements for graduates and young professionals in purchasing in the automotive industry in the future will be: bringing technical expertise and of course having very good business management skills. At least as important, if not more important, are personal skills. These include the openness needed for intercultural and interdisciplinary teamwork, excellent language skills and a high degree of social competence, plus the capacity for self-discipline and good time management and creativity.
About Tanja Dammann-Götsch
As managing director of PURCHASING PARTNER since 2006, Tanja Dammann-Götsch has trained and coached Purchasing executives in the automobile industry in the United States, Mexico, Europe and China. She is also a speaker at trade fairs and congresses. Previously she was an executive in the branch for over 15 years, including in Training and Development for one of the world's largest automakers. Tanja Dammann-Götsch lives in Hanau, Germany.