Focus on purchasing

Buyers with good communication skills are better at representing corporate goals to third parties.

“From pushing down prices to shaping the company: turning purchasing into profits” is Tanja Dammann-Götsch’s main motive. Her training concept, “Four Steps to Becoming a Purchasing Professional”, applies to a variety of industries. “Even though the conditions in the automotive industry are very specific, some parameters can be extended to other sectors,” says Dammann-Götsch. Born and grown up in Hanau, Dammann-Götsch sees a lot of potential for purchasing to be an important positive influence on a company’s success. Motivated purchasing professionals and managers prevent shortfalls in materials, ensure long-term product quality, enhance the innovation of suppliers, contribute to employee loyalty and counteract the shortage of skilled workers.

Feedback from Sternstunde attendees confirmed to Dammann-Götsch that her topic, “How Purchasing shapes companies”, is becoming increasingly popular with many corporations.

Here are her expert tips for buyers in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs):

Speed is your friend. Buyers from medium-sized companies have an advantage in comparison to buyers in major corporations: they can move faster. They know their company’s internal processes and contact persons by heart. They can come to decisions quickly.

And impress others with detailed knowledge. In negotiations, facts count. Sellers usually only know their own product. Spend some time with your production staff; shadow them for a few days and then impress your negotiation partners with how much you know.

Avoid any excessive focus on price. The cheapest bidders can turn out to be the most expensive in the long run. As a buyer for an SME, you should ideally have your eye on the benefits for your company, i.e. the long term. The supplier should wow you with their technology, quality, service, logistics, sustainability – and price.

Show strength at the social level. Educate yourself in rhetoric. This has enormous advantages for day-to-day business. Buyers with good communications skills are better at representing corporate goals externally and selling those decisions internally.

Use your position of power in negotiations. Many buyers in SMEs are not aware of their position of power, but straightforward hierarchies within a company almost always go hand in hand with a direct communications line to management. Envisaging this strength in negotiations brings the best results with suppliers. This is how you create a good foundation for stable and trusting relationships.