Commercial Procurement and Supply

The work of procurement and supply professionals include the process of procurement, or buying goods and services; however, these roles can be much broader than just procurement. These roles can extend to a huge range of related commercial activity such as influencing policy, financial analysis, engaging in contract law, and developing strategy to deliver services. The variety of goods and services that procurement professionals are responsible for is vast: goods could range from buying a plane to negotiating new stationary supply. Securing services could include: finding new and innovative IT systems, outsourcing translation services or closing a deal on a construction project for a new building.

Encompassing the entire procurement cycle, achieving the Level 4 in Procurement and Supply will enable an individual to use their breadth and depth of experience to position themselves as a fully effective commercially skilled professional with transferable skills and career options that span the public, private and charitable sectors. This will be supported by the attainment of a Level 4 Diploma with the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS).

Typical job roles in this area include: Commercial Support, Commercial Analyst, Sourcing Executive, Procurement Operations Support, Buyer, Assistant Buyer, Commercial Relationship Support, Commissioning and Performance Monitoring Officer, Framework Management Support, Contract Associate, Contract Support.

Skills

  • Identify approaches to achieve agreements with external and internal organisations and stakeholders including developing the communication skills that can influence positive negotiated outcomes.
  • Use a range of contract and supplier performance monitoring, management and reporting techniques to ensure that cost, service, quality and sustainability objectives are being achieved and maintained.
  • To be able to carry out cost management, including the cost base, and variances from budget.
  • Use appropriate software, spreadsheet, word processing and presentation packages plus specialist programmes and systems associated with the organisation to convey information.
  • Clearly and concisely raise items for discussion and negotiation in order to resolve an issue that may be with customers, suppliers or colleagues.
  • Recognise the impact that decision-making has on costs and identify opportunities to save money or deliver services in the most effective or efficient way.
  • Evaluate costs by comparison with industry standards or high performers (benchmarking).
  • Confidently display supplier/customer relationship management skills with a range of stakeholders, keeping key stakeholders and customers appropriately informed.
  • Take responsibility for activities such as change control, managing contractual obligations, risk management and measurement and delivering to the required performance standard.
  • Use selection and award criteria commonly applied when sourcing requirements from external suppliers and evidence how supplier bids are evaluated against these criteria.
  • Use the different types of documentation and terminology that frequently form part of the commercial procurement process for the supply of goods and services.
  • Liaise, negotiate and undertake proactive actions with suppliers and stakeholders to ensure successful delivery of purchased goods and services, taking appropriate actions to address any shortfalls or excess.

Knowledge

  • How an organisation’s money is spent, including the organisation’s own rules on managing budgets.
  • The difference between public and private Sector procurement life-cycles and how they fit into the organisation’s structure.
  • Show understanding of the market, regulatory environment, supplier and service landscape before beginning the tendering process. Whilst knowing about the ability to utilise market and commodity intelligence, including supplier innovation, customer requirement and how the use of internal and external data can support the development of a robust business case.
  • Cost and pricing models and commercial concepts and how they influence supplier/customer behaviours.
  • Financial awareness that enables a focus on achieving efficiencies and continuous improvement.
  • Recognise business needs that shape decisions, for example financial restrictions or time requirements. Show how such business objectives are articulated in procurement specifications using a set of appropriate tools/techniques e.g. LEAN sourcing.
  • The principles and purpose of commercial contracting and how contract terms, conditions and obligations affect delivery and supplier performance.
  • Understand sustainability risks and opportunities associated with sourcing decisions. Know that these decisions assist with conducting pre-procurement market engagement to make sure the requirement is deliverable, clear and attractive to suppliers whilst also offering maximum value for money.
  • Different procurement and contractual models e.g. use of SMEs, mutual and joint ventures.
  • The use of the different types of documentation and terminology that frequently form part of the commercial contract process, e.g. the contract and its appendices.
  • The aims of and tactics and techniques for successful negotiation.
  • The organisation’s commercial strategy and policies, procedures and governance mechanisms.
  • The principles and purpose of contract governance, risk management and the internal controls within their own organisation and conduct work within those frameworks.
  • A range of supplier performance monitoring, management and reporting techniques to ensure that cost, service, quality and sustainability objectives are being achieved.
  • The need to develop strong collaborative relationships with customer, supplier and stakeholders.
  • What techniques to use to add value through building positive commercial relationships and trust.
  • How to forecast and plan requirements with internal stakeholders and suppliers to ensure the supply of goods and services matches demand taking into account actual demand.
  • Both national and international contractual and procedural procurement law. Recognise the use of legal terms that regulate commercial agreements.
  • How specific areas of procurement spend can be organised into appropriate categories.
  • The main components, benefits and constraints to taking a category management approach across all stages of the commercial procurement life-cycle.

Behaviours

  • Maintain an economic, long-term focus whilst considering the objective of achieving value for money in combination to maximising quality in all activities.
  • Be responsive, innovative and seek out opportunities to create effective change.
  • Have a strong commitment and be self-motivated to develop and learn.
  • Create and maintain positive, professional and trusting working relationships with a wide range of internal, external and connected stakeholders. Maintain effective partnerships with suppliers and customers through the commercial process to achieve business objectives.
  • Show consideration for objective and accurate judgments using sound evidence and knowledge.
  • Work to appropriate timescales and take responsibility and accountability for quality outcomes.
  • Always take into account diverse stakeholder needs and requirements.

Entry Requirement

Any entry requirements will be determined by individual employers which may, for example, typically require 5x A*-C Grade GCSEs (must include English & Maths).

Duration

Typically 2 years with a minimum of 12 months

Professional Qualification / Recognition

This is a Level 4 (L4) qualification. Completion of CIPS L4 gains eligibility for equivalent membership of the Institute. CIPS L4 is a prerequisite for MCIPS (L6) and the full professional licence and offers the potential for Chartered status. 

Originally published on Gov.uk, this information has been re-used under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

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