When working in foodservice chain procurement, there are a few different skills that you should have to survive amidst the changing work enviorment.  There’s nothing simple when it comes to change that affects you, and now that times are harder, your failure to secure new skills, on your own, can be taxing and without appeal, 'cause you may have to leave the industry after going before the courts.

- negotiation skills   you need to expand your card scan file with new vendor contacts and improve your negotiation skills with business units within your organization. Remember, when the next wave of downsizing hits, every Concept Development Officer, VP of F&B and tenured Executive Chef will think they can take over the purchasing function by multi-tasking their way to greatness!  Your playing field is in the court of superintendence, where accomplishments can only be second guessed, if they are not documented.

- communication skills   you need to know how to build and manage relationships and be clear in your communications, or the articulation bug will stop "buck-naked" on your desk. The new foodservice work enviorment, in my openion, seems to be about people taking credit for others accomplishments. If you can actually get an executive to make a decision, you cover your tail, because if anything does go wrong, you will face the court of presupposition (aka "second guessing")

-organizational skills – you already need to follow food commodity markets, contract expiration dates,  and critical product inventory.  Now you must expand your skills and track distributor price-compliance, the price change impact on line item costs, and remember to keep a cost savings log!  The plain fact is you set the boss’s expectation bar too high by doing a great job, while others who contribute nothing have more face time and more influence.  This forces you to prove your worth in the vulgar court of opinion

If you are not strong in all of these areas go out and strengthen your individual skills so you don’t get blind sided by court decisions that tax your ability to work on skills while subordinating your right to deliver great  performance.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Fred's Bio

Fred Favole is President of Strategic Purchasing Services (SPS), America's most experienced consulting firm specializing in purchasing department outsourcing for foodservice organizations. Contact Information:

P. 912.634.0030 email:

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