Why you need to focus on Behavioural Procurement

Jan 13, 2021 | Blog, Featured

We all like to think of ourselves as logical.  After all, who would want to admit that sometimes they do things that make no sense?  I’m sure you have thought to yourself that your decision to award that contract to a supplier was completely based on facts and figures, that you agreed to that price in a negotiation because you weighed up the facts and believed it was the best deal.

However, though later that evening when you are browsing an online shop having added over £300 worth of goods, you like me, might find yourself when checking out, immensely irritated to find there is a small delivery fee so much so that you close the browser and do not purchase.  This makes no sense as in the grand scheme of things it’s a small proportion of the total amount spent, but yet I find myself doing this weekly, and I would be willing to bet that many of you also do this.

Human beings are not logical naturally.  Our decisions are impacted by a variety of factors.  These range from the amount we have slept, to how much we like a person, to subconscious biases or heuristics (mental shortcuts) and their non-verbal behaviour.

The team at Business Academy Online and myself are incredibly passionate about the importance of Behavioural Procurement.  Procurement and behaviour are my two passions.  It is for that reason that over the years I have undertaken training in a variety of institutions to become a Behaviour Analyst and study the many channels of human communication not just our words.   I wanted to understand the reasons behind the strange things that I did, and why others acted in similar ways.

The term Behavioural Procurement is relatively new, and as David Loseby and CIPS have defined it in their white paper it is “the study of the effects of psychological, social, cognitive, and emotional factors on the commercial decisions of individuals and institutions and the consequences for competitive advantage, innovation and resource allocation”

A slightly long-winded definition, but essentially it boils down to how factors can impact our behaviour and therefore our competitive advantage.   Behavioural procurement covers areas such as stakeholder management, effective communications, non-verbal behaviour, psychological influencing, emotional intelligence and heuristics and biases.

Previously it was referred to as ‘soft skills’  This is a term I actively despise as it suggests that it is less important than the hard, technical skills.  I believe that these soft skills are, if anything, more important than the hard skills.  This is because of the point I made above, that we aren’t always logical, and we do business with those that we know and like.

I’m excited to see that my argument is starting to be backed up by several bodies.  Most importantly the Hays Salary Report released in May 2020.  This report highlighted that soft skills were especially important across all sectors, with communication being the top skill needed for procurement across the board.

Here is a direct quote from that report.  “The CIPS/Hays Salary Guide 2020 highlights a growing recognition of the importance of soft skills to today’s procurement professionals. Communication, supplier relationship management (SRM), influencing skills, internal stakeholder management and leadership are all, along with others, part of the soft skills, or ‘Behavioural Procurement’, skills from a growing body of academic research.”

Therefore if you want the best chance to improve your profession and your professional advantage I highly recommend that you engage in further investigation into this area.  With that in mind, we at Business Academy Online, are very excited to announce that our new Behavioural Procurement online course is almost ready to launch.

Our Behavioural Procurement online course helps procurement and supply chain professionals struggling with adversarial stakeholder relationships and conflict, and assists with creating rapport and more effective relationships to achieve better deals, longer-term contracts and more engaged stakeholders.  We do all of this using our 7 step model.  Covering topics such as effective communication, non-verbal behaviour, mindfulness and influencing this is an innovative and engaging masterclass in the concept of Behavioural Procurement.

If you are interested and want to be notified when our course launches, please register here.