TRAINING STRATEGY AND PURCHASING SKILLS: IS TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGICALLY IMPORTANT?

Andrew Cox Daniel Chicksand

Abstract
This paper rationalises how a training and development strategy can contribute towards obtaining a non-replicable, competitive advantage. The role of skills development for purchasing professionals is then explored with the skills necessary to carry out the purchasing function defined. Finally, the paper presents, two case studies, showing contrasting training and development strategies. The paper concludes that for S & M enterprises to achieve longterm, non-replicable competitive advantage, they must develop a unique culture through the implementation of a robust and dynamic training and development strategy. Keywords: Strategy, Training, Procurement

Introduction
This paper looks at the training and development function and its influence in contribute towards obtaining a non-replicable competitive advantage, from a resource-based perspective of the firm. The role of skills development for purchasing professionals is explored and the skills necessary for the purchasing function are defined. The paper goes on to look at the arguments surrounding return-on-investment analysis, determining when this analysis is most appropriate. The paper then presents two case studies, highlighting two contrasting approached to establishing a training and development strategy. The paper concludes that in order for small and medium enterprises to achieve long-term, non-replicable competitive advantage, training and development should be viewed as strategically important. The Issue of Competitive Advantage A resource-based view of the firm attempts to define a firm’s resources and capabilities, which can be utilised for generating ‘rents’. Rent is seen as profits above normal rates of return. One of the primary goals of the resource-based view of the firm is not only to earn rent, but also to establish a sustainable, non-replicable competitive advantage, thereby maintaining the ability to earn rents in the long-term. In an ever more contested business environment, small and medium-sized enterprises’ competitive advantage will most likely be based on intangible, firm-specific knowledge that allows it to uniquely add value to the resources procured from outside (Spender, 1996). Gratton (2000, p. 1-3), adds weight to this argument. She argues that companies competed with strategies focused on cost reduction during the 1980’s and 1990’s, but have moved The 10th International Annual IPSERA Conference 2001 177

towards strategies based on mergers and acquisitions as markets have become more competitive (during the later part of the 1990’s). Gratton (2000, p. 3) believes that the way to achieve competitive advantage will be through company innovation. She goes on to say that: “the new source of sustainable competitive advantage available to organisations have people at the centre- their creativity and talent, their inspirations and hopes, their dreams and excitement”. This, she argues is one of the reasons why companies, such as Hewlett-Packard, Glaxo Wellcome and Motorola have been able to carve out a unique position and prosper (HP having achieved a 20% annual growth year-on-year for the last ten years!) in highly contested markets. This argument for putting people at the heart of organisations does have some credibility. Many companies have undertaken drastic cost cutting exercises, integration of their supply chains, waste elimination and a plethora of rationalisation strategies over the last 20 years. When a company reaches the position (if attainable) of operating as a lean enterprise there is little room for improved efficiency performance. The initial competitive advantages gained by these measures are quickly whittled away, as the strategies employed are primarily based on cost reduction. Cost reduction-based strategies are relatively easily to replicate. Organisations, having benchmarked and copied these replicable processes, can find themselves competing on a level playing field once more. A resource-based strategy should be focused around utilising the company’s unique resources and capabilities to achieve non-imitable differentiation from competitors. A similar perspective with regards to the issue of gaining a competitive advantage unites Smeltzer,(2000) Carr, (2000) Gratton (2000) and Spender (1996). They believe it is important to develop employees with high skill levels. This will require the alignment of a development and training strategy at the heart of a firm’s core business strategy. Hart (1998, p.35) states that: “tacit skill development would be a capability that is difficult to observe in practice and hard to duplicate quickly”. Jarret (1998, p.45) looks specifically at two companies: GTE and Digital Equipment Corp. Both US based companies realised the importance of their employees’ skills, abilities and attitudes as an influential source of competitive advantage. Subsequently, the companies created and implemented their own training programmes to promote employee development. There is a need to develop highly skilled individuals to set companies apart from their competitors, made all the more relevant as companies operate in an ever increasing knowledge-based economy. It is surprising that with such a body of argument in favour of putting people at the centre of an organisation, with a well-formalised training and development strategy to support this aim, so few companies take the issues of training and development seriously. Only nine of the twenty-six companies interviewed by the authors in a recent study (2000) had a written or formalised training and development strategy. Furthermore, with only six companies had a HR Director sitting on the Board of Directors. Although there is a considerable body of literature that stresses the renewed strategic importance of the HR function (encompassing training and development), very few firms fully appreciate employees as a priority when developing business strategy. A robust training and development strategy should also be dynamic in its ability to concentrate training at a generic and bespoke level. There are generic, cross-functional skill sets, such as leadership and communications, that are vitally important, but a training and development strategy should also consider the individual training needs of employees at a function specific level. Guy and Dales (1993, p.27) emphasise the importance of training at a The 10th International Annual IPSERA Conference 2001 178

function level, as they state that: “the purchasing function should be staffed with well-trained professionals who posses some technical knowledge and skills”.

Is there a Need to Develop Key Skills for Purchasing Professionals?
The focus of the paper thus far has been to establish the importance of non-specific training, with little focus on the skills required for purchasing professionals. It is important to asses some of the current literature regarding competitive advantage, as without a skilled workforce companies will either lose the short term competitive advantage they may currently be enjoying, or, there will be little chance of attaining sustained rent. This section will now focus on the issues surrounding training with specific focus on purchasing professionals. David Adsley, of the specialist consultancy BJD group, discusses the recent survey conducted by Robert Andersons. It was felt that: ‘UK companies have been providing far too little purchasing and supply management training”(Cited in Whitehead, 2000, p. 9). The survey found that only half of the respondent companies offered any training in this area. This has led to a skills shortage for middle and senior-level purchasing supply managers. Ashley goes on to say that: “companies ought to be paying more attention to providing good quality training and professional career development, or thing will get worse” (Whitehead, 2000, p. 9). Furthermore, Carolyn Munton, CIP’s head of marketing and communication argues that, “the growing complexity of management at senior levels was the main reason for the skills shortage”. It is obvious from Anderson’s survey and CBSP’s research that there is not only a lack of specific purchasing and supply management training, but also a lack of training across other functions within organisations. The authors’ study highlighted that only thirty five percent of the companies participating in the study had a written or formalised training and development strategy. It is interesting to note the varying degrees of commitment and integration with business’ core strategy with respect to the to issue of training and development (this will be discussed in the case studies which follow). There was also very little common practice, with only a few of the participants providing good quality training, linked in to professional career development. Work by Carr and Smeltzer emphasises the need to refocus key resources on the provision of training within organisations as: “industrialised economies have shifted away from natural resources to intellectual assets, the management of knowledge has become a key issue for executives” (Listed in Hanson, Nohna & Iierney, 1999, p. 23). Non-replicable competitive advantage can be attained by formulating a cohesive training and development strategy for all functions within an organisation. With superior knowledge management, highly skilled individuals are a company’s key asset, for as Carr and Smeltzer (2000, p. 40) argue: “[h]uman performance and knowledge have become increasingly important within the purchasing function during the past decade”. Yet, as the case studies discussed in this paper show, only a few companies have realised the importance of training employees to ensure that they have the necessary skills. In many cases, companies have done very little to fill the knowledge gaps within their organisations. A training and development strategy should be broken down into functional levels, with the starting point being the definition of the skills necessary to excel at the specific job. Carr and The 10th International Annual IPSERA Conference 2001 179

Smeltzer’s (2000, p. 40) paper, having defined the key skills for a purchasing professional goes on to investigate: “the relationship among these skills and strategic purchasing, a firms performance, and supplier responsiveness”. They define ‘skill’ within their study as ability gained by practice or knowledge. Strategic purchasing is defined as the process of planning, implementing and controlling and evaluating highly important purchasing decisions in an effort to meet a firm’s goals. A firm’s performance is measured in financial terms, such as returns on investment, market share, profits as a percentage of sales and net income before taxes. Finally supplier responsiveness is defined as the willingness of suppliers to meet the needs of the buying firm (Carr and Smeltzer, 2000, p. 41). The study attempts to link the establishment of skills and skilled employees’ ability to company performance. The terms used to define a firm’s performance, such as return on investment (ROI), market share e.t.c. are often, in practice, highly difficult to attribute to specific skills that may have been developed during training received within or outside of a company’s training and development programme. There are many ‘soft skills’ necessary for purchasing professionals which may contribute to improved performance, but these are very difficult to monitor with respect to their financial impact. The issue of ROI analysis is, in itself, a highly contentious issue. The research by Carr and Smeltzer (2000, p.40-54) indicated that specific skills ‘positively related’ to a firm’s strategic purchasing and goes on to recommend that: “ organisations may use internal classes to teach these skills to their employees or may find it necessary to recruit purchasing professionals with these skills”. There is a full list of the purchasing skills needed, as listed in the study in the appendix. However, it is important to note that there is a relationship between purchasing skills and a firm’s performance. The research indicates that: “the most important category of skills is technical skills”. Carr and Smeltzer (2000, p.46) go on to argue that: “purchasing professionals are required to be involved in activities that require technical knowledge and skills and must be able to intelligently communicate their ideas”. Yet, skills techniques, such as communication and presentation skills, along with behavioural skills such as ‘people skills’ (for full list see Appendix 1) also impact greatly on the ability of the purchaser. Technical skills were found to be the most important category of skills. However, this could reflect that it is these types of skills which can be monitored and measured most effectively, and conclusions can then be drawn as to their ability to improve company performance. Herein lies the greatest weakness of ROI analysis for training and development programmes. There is an obvious desire and need to financially justify training. However, there are many important skills, other than technical skills, which are vitally important for the purchasing professional (see appendix 1). Many of the skill techniques and behavioural skills listed in Carr and Smeltzer’s study and those identified in an earlier study by Kolchin and Giuipero (1993) (see appendix 2) are difficult to assess, in terms of their direct impact on the firm’s financial performance. ROI analysis is playing an ever increasingly important role in today’s training programes. Gone, have the days when training departments had a black chequebook, with little or no accountability for the costs incurred by training and developing employees. Phillips and Phillips (2000, p. 8-120) have discussed a ROI process. Within the process (evaluation planning, data collection and reporting), there is an attempt to convert collected data into monetary value and calculate the return on investment within the data analysis phase. The process does take into account intangible benefits derived from training, such as increased job satisfaction, improved customer service, reduced complaints and reduced conflicts. However, The 10th International Annual IPSERA Conference 2001 180

Renkins (2000, p. 152) argues that: “calculating the real profit for training is complicated due to its intangible benefits as well as hidden cost.” Regardless of the obstacles to overcome, ROI analysis should be included, as one element within a training and development strategy. One model, typically used to evaluate the impact of training, which has stood the test of time, is Kirkpatrick’s four levels of evaluation criteria. Yet this model is no longer perceived by many as adequate. Training, be it specific purchasing training or more generic training, should now also be evaluated in terms of money or as expressed by many as ROI. There is now a fifth level to Kirkpatrick’s four levels. According to Kandola (2000, p.): “[f]or training that is related to a specific set of skills or knowledge, particularly related to using, for example, specific tools or equipment, it will be possible to evaluate improvement in behaviour”. In this case, it will then be possible to exact some measure of the financial saving (ROI) derived from this specific training. This is also the case with specific computer software training. It will be relatively easy to determine improved performance and, conversely, relate this to increased productivity then carry out some level of ROI analysis. The problem, as highlighted by Kandola (2000, p.), is that with most other forms of training, the impact of the skills attained is not so readily analysed. However, the work of Phillips & Phillips argues that many companies are successfully carrying out ROI analysis for training provided to employees, taking into account intangible benefits. Some of the skills outlined for purchasing professionals, in particular technical skills, can be evaluated in financial terms as their impact is more readily measurable. Yet many of the other, often labelled ‘soft skills’, are equally important for the purchasing professional. Kandola (2000, p.) states: “absolute evaluation of the effectiveness (of soft skills) is impossible to obtain, certainly in the short term”. The studies by Smeltzer and Carr (2000, p40-53.) and Phillips & Phillips (2000, p. 8-12) on a ROI process, emphasise the importance of developing employees, whatever their function, with high skill levels and then attempt to link these skills directly with job performance and ultimately with the firm’s performance. It has been argued that, although some form of ROI analysis is useful in some cases, the actual impact of training is often very difficult to quantify. However, at no point within the two studies outlined is there a process discussed, for incorporating generic, specific and cross-functional training into a cohesive training and development strategy. This strategy could lead to providing a learning environment, where professionals within purchasing and other functions will enable a firm to obtain a competitive advantage that is less easy to replicate, with skilled people at the heart of the organisation. The following two case studies follow on from the literature discussed, by contrasting the extent to which training and development is viewed as strategically important. The first case study is related to the purchasing function but not specifically within a small or medium sized enterprise. With both case studies a more general approach is taken, for many of the practices discussed can be used on a functional level, adapted depending on the resources allocated for running such a program within a specific organisation. Regardless of whether a company is creating a training and development programme for a small or medium sized enterprise, practices utilised in larger organisations are still relevant and can be adapted and enhanced to meet the training and employee development needs of the specific company.

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Training And Development Case Studies
Introduction to the Study The authors, using a standard questionnaire, interviewed human resource (HR)/training professionals from twenty-six companies, representing seventeen business sectors. The findings were then collated and set into a report. For the purpose of this paper two companies will form the basis of the case studies. Three groups of companies were broadly isolated, dependent on the level of training and development activities within the organisation. Company A is representative of the first group of companies, those which have established a written/formalised training and development strategy and programme. Only nine of the twenty-six companies interviewed (thirty five percent) fell into this group. The second group, represents the majority of the companies (twelve from twenty-six). These companies, although not having a formalised training/development strategy, offered, at minimum, a minimum of a yearly employee development programme. They also had key employee skills linked with training programmes. The third group of companies (nineteen percent) such as Company B, had little or no organised training or development activities. When training was carried out it was often on an ad hoc basis. Within each group of companies, there is a crossover of activities, practices and ideologies. However, the two case studies best represent the two extremes. It is interesting to note that the study found that seventy percent of companies who did not currently have a written/formalised training and development strategy were in the process of, or, planning to develop one in the near future. Of relevance to HR professionals currently planning a training and development programme, be it on a functional (procurement) or generic level, is that sixty five percent of respondents actively linked key employee skills with training programmes. Eighty-five percent of companies operated with a minimum of annual employee development programmes. Yet only twenty three percent of companies went on to link these with employee performance and pay. This emphasised that there are widely differing approaches within companies, which have been grouped together. Although there are some commonalities there are also as many differences between companies with respect to their individual approach to training. Case Study - Company A Company A is a leading consumables manufacturer with one of the most advanced and well thought-out training and development strategy. Company A was one of only five companies that had both a written/formalised training and development strategy with a HR Director also sitting on the Board of Directors. The company ran annual career development programs, with key employee skills linked to training programs and key employee performance linked to remuneration. So what sets this company above almost all the companies interviewed? First, the top-level management commitment to the HR function was considerable, having already split the HR function from the training and development function. It was immediately obvious that training and development was viewed as strategic rather than a necessary evil at best. The day-to-day administrative running of the HR department was seen as a separate issue, supported by a well-conceived HR intranet site. This enabled the HR professionals to concentrate on working as internal consultants, supporting the other business functions and The 10th International Annual IPSERA Conference 2001 182

driving through top-level strategic change. In addition, the company had a global HR department, which set and implemented strategy for the entire group. Within this HR global department there was also a HR Director who sat on the Board. The HR Director was supported by a separate, dedicated training team that focused directly on developing, maintaining and aligning generic training programmes, along with developing courses to fill specific, highlighted knowledge gaps or programmes to drive through strategic changed. Company A established their own ‘UK Training program 2000’. This lists skills-building courses available for all levels of staff, including middle management. There were two types of training provided: “Skills Building”; (focused on company specific skills) and, “Making Things Happen” (focused on the so-called ‘soft skills’). Although this is a portfolio of available courses, which may seem inflexible and unable to deal with individual training needs, there are other, more specialised courses, set up as the need arises (or are included in separate Job Family Hand Books) by the dedicated training team. It would be fair to say that the courses available within the ‘UK training Program 2000’ are generic, cross functional courses. They are however important on a strategic level as vehicles for cultural development within the organisation and to achieve differentiation from their competitors, with the ultimate aim of being perceived as a ‘leading edge organisation’. Running concurrently with the generic training programmes are various ‘Job family Handbooks.’ The aim of these programmes is to “build upon the strength of our people, by increasing and rewarding personal capability and better equipping all of our employees to meet the needs and challenges of the future”. Employees’ jobs are divided into ‘job families’. These describe a number of positions, engaged in the same, or similar kind of work. This framework is then used by an individual to manage their own work development, helping them to understand the outputs (accountabilities and performance indicators) of a job and the necessary inputs. One interesting aspect of Company A’s training and development strategy is that employees can instantly see what is required of them for a specific job. This is then linked into their own career development programmes, by identifying ‘current capabilities’ and ‘future opportunities’. By having defined the job skills required, it is then possible to link, these to their annual career and competence development programme and have a direct link into appraisals and the bonus scheme. There is, as previously mentioned, a ‘Job Family Handbook’ for each function i.e. procurement, marketing and finance, with the ability to compare roles not only within the same families but also across functions. Taking the procurement job family framework as an example, they have identified 4 levels with their own profiles. Each level within procurement have differing accountabilities, which measure employee outputs. In alignment with the accountability statements, there are performance indicators, which indicate how success at each job level can be measured. There are also technical skills required specifically within the procurement job family. The specific skills isolated were: contractual issues; principals of procurement; supplier environment; product knowledge; computer literacy; negotiating skills; and, risk management. Company A has, therefore, defined job skills on a functional level for procurement professionals. An equally important component of the procurement job family are personal skills listed as: processing work; commitment; communications; analysing and understanding; relationship adaptability; initiative; and, planning and organising.

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Each of the above mentioned skills are explained in detail, leaving employees in no doubt about what is required of them and identifying any gaps in their knowledge. What sets this company apart from many of the other companies is the direct, clearly stated link with personal development programmes. It was relatively easy to determine what skills were missing during the yearly developmental meetings and, again, it was relatively clear if the job description’s ‘outputs’ were being met. The methods of identifying and closing any knowledge gaps were innovative and dynamic, as there were several options open to employees to develop skill stages, such as on-the-job activities, open learning material and inhouse/external training programmes. Learning logs, with the aim of applying some structure and order to gain maximum benefit from the learning experience, supported all training. In conclusion, Company A has devised a robust training and development programme, which linked directly into the core business strategy. The programme, briefly described, is a good example of a fully integrated training and development strategy, with relevant courses/methods of learning linked to career development, which in turn is linked to employee appraisal/performance and then to remuneration. Company A has shown that, although the programme is complicated at times, with top level commitment to creating a learning organisation, training and development can be successfully placed at the heart of an organisation and at the centre of corporate strategy. Case Study - Company B Company B- a leading food and drug retailer, contrasts greatly with Company A. Considering a large part of their business is customer-facing it is surprising that so little work has been carried out in the field of training and development. Company B fell well behind many of the twenty -six companies included in the study. They had no written/formalised training and development strategy, no Director sitting on the Board of Directors, with training and development not even perceived as important by the Board Members. Unbelievably, they carried out no annual employee development programmes and did not link key employee skills with training programmes. It was, therefore, not surprising that key employee performance was not linked to rewards. It is glaringly obvious that Company B operates in stark contrast to Company A, with little thought, as yet, to developing the necessary program to train, retain and retrain staff. Due to poor staff moral (and, it can be argued, the lack of career development) Company B is suffering from excessive staff turnover, way above the industry norm. The company is also performing poorly on the stock market. Is it possible that poor staff moral and lack of employee training and development are linked to the company’s poor financial performance? It is obviously too simplistic to make a direct link. However, a company with poor employee career development and inadequate training is unlikely to attract and retain the best possible employees. As is often the case, once a company is experiencing financial pressures, the first activity, which is curtailed within subsequent cost cutting activities, is training. Training is regarded by many company Directors as a non value-added activity and a necessary irritation at best. Company B did run a range of training activities, as you would expect. However, there was no real understanding of how specific training activities fitted into the core business strategy. Training tended to be carried out for specific training needs, with little or no thought The 10th International Annual IPSERA Conference 2001 184

concerning long-term employee development. The organisation was adequately structured, with a Training and Development Director who operated as a consultant, reporting directly to the Board, with five HR consultants operating as support to the training and administrative functions. Various programs had been set up, such as a ‘Duty Management Programme’ and a ‘Fast track’, a 14-week operational programme carried out at their assessment centre. The courses were evaluated, using Kirkpatrick’s model, on-the-job evaluation and the usual happy sheets. There was also a good range of on-the-job training provided, such as ‘People Management’. Due to the nature of their business, Company B also operated in-store training days and used mentoring for some of their programmes. The Company also ran two-week, interactive classroom-based workshops, delivered by external training providers (Training For Excellence). There was also a ten day, modular programme for department heads which combined on and off-the-job training to establish best practice for Duty Managers. It would seem from this quick summary of some of the courses offered by Company B that training was in fact taken seriously. It would be unheard of for any listed company not to have at least a portfolio of courses available, supported in this case, predominantly by external training providers. Company B had an adequate selection of training providers, had attempted to evaluate the training provided and had, at least, identified some of the remaining gaps in the training offered. There were, however, several poor practices that seriously hindered good training and employee development practice. First, it was often difficult to organise staff to attend training programmes as it was left up to the line managers’ discretion to either promote or release staff for a particular training programme. Second, as there was no form of career development, with no structured career path, training tended to be either at a very basic, introductory level for new employees to the company, or, in specific cases, when an employee had been promoted to a senior position requiring different skills. Training was then provided retrospectively, in a reactive manner, to help the employee get up to speed with the new position. One of the weakest elements was that training was not linked to individual development programmes (as there were none) and, therefore, actual on-the-job employee skill or the lack of those skills was not linked proactively to training programmes. There was no integration of the elements of training and development that were provided by Company B and training was more usually provided on an ad hoc basis. It was, therefore, impossible even if it was deemed desirable, to link employee performance with remuneration. It would seem that the Directors of Company B did not value and nurture people in a way to develop loyalty and their own unique, inimitable culture. Training and development was the first victim of cost saving activities. However, with a better-trained and motivated staff, supported by an integrated and dynamic training and development strategy, such as Company A, it is possible to conceive that the Company would have performed better within the market place. Differentiation, attained by developing a strong corporate culture, may also be influential in raising the company’s position within an already highly competitive sector.

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Conclusion
This paper has discussed the work of Spender (1996), Gratton (2000), Smeltzer and Carr (2000), Hart (1998) and others to emphasise the need for companies to establish a unique position within the market place. It is argued that in order to attain a sustained, non-replicable, long-term competitive advantage companies, particularly small and medium sized enterprises, can no longer rely on a strategy based primarily on cost reduction, mergers and acquisitions, or, for smaller companies, expansion or product/service diversification. Process improvements over the last 20 years have given specific companies a short-term competitive advantage. However competitors easily replicated many of the strategies employed. Competitive advantage can now be gained by innovation and sustained by developing an organisational culture, with highly skilled individuals at the core, not merely by benchmarking or copying successful companies within the same sector. Organisations with well-established training and development programmes will be able to support and nurture employees to create a non-replicable culture of success. Employees can be the very resource, which will lead to business success and a sustained competitive advantage. A well-formulated training and development strategy, with top-level management commitment, integrated within the core business strategy is the future for successful companies. To retain key employees in the future, there must be defined career development paths linked into specific, relevant, generic and functional training and development opportunities. The cost of running these programmes may sometimes be difficult to asses in terms of ROI, but can companies afford to count the cost of not developing their own unique culture? Business success is undoubtedly a highly complicated and greatly discussed issue. There is no simple answer to what constitutes business success. Yet it is more than just strategy, processes, products or services. A company’s processes, products or services may be key in achieving business success, yet they all have one element in common and that is people. It will be a company’s employees who deliver the company's business goals. Employees, therefore, have to be put at the heart of an organisation to attain long-term competitive advantage and to obtain super normal profits (or rents). Providing the framework for a learning environment is a good way to develop the company’s culture and attain a unique position within the market place.

References
Carr, A.S., Smeltzer, L.R., 2000. An Empirical Study of the Relationship among Purchasing Skills and Strategic Purchasing, Financial Performance, and Supplier Responsiveness. The Journal of Supply Chain Management, vol. 36, 40-54. Gratton, L., 2000. Living Strategy, London. Guy, S.P., Dale, B.G., 1993. The role of Purchasing in Design: A Study in the British Defence Industry. International Journal of Purchasing and Materials Management 29:3, 27. Hart, S.L., 1995. A natural Resource-based View of the Firm. Academy of Management Review 20:4, 986-1014.

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Hanson, M.T., Nohria, N., Tierney, T., 1999. What’s Your Strategy for Managing Knowledge? International Journal of Purchasing and Materials Management 34:1, 2-16. Jarrett, L., 1998. Up-front excellence for sustainable competitive advantage. Training & Development 52, 45-48. Kandola, B., July 2000, Training evaluation: how to get results. Training Journal, 12-14. Kolchin, M.G., Giuipero, L., 1993. Purchasing Education and Training: Requirements and Resources. Centre for Advanced Purchasing Studies, Temple, AZ. Phillips, J., Phillips, P., October 2000. Issues and trends. Training Journal, 8-12. Renkins, M., 2000. How can you make the most of your training? Workforce 79, 152. Spender, J.C., 1996. Making Knowledge the Basis of a Dynamic Theory of the Firm. Strategic management Journal 17, 45-62. Whitehead, M., 2000. Expert slams lack of professional training. Supply Management, February, 9.

About the authors
Professor Andrew Cox: Tel: 0121 414 3221 Fax: 0121 414 3217. Email: a.w.cox@bham.ac.uk Daniel Chicksand: 0121 414 3919 Email: DDC007 @bham.ac.uk CBSP Birmingham Business School University of Birmingham ‘Winterbourne’ 58 Edgbaston Park Road Edgbaston Birmingham B15 2RT Fax:0121 414 3217

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Appendix 1
Carr & Smeltzer skills defined: Technical Skills Drafting skills (CAD) computer skills Understanding tool capability, tool life Understanding manufacturing process, terminology Math skills (work with a lot of numbers) Technical business writing Understanding materials (e.g., plastics) Blueprint reading Forecasting skills MRP understanding, computer/manual Understanding continuous inventory review system Skill Techniques Analytical skills Communication skills Presentation skills Coordination skills Be able to get to the route cause of a situation Negotiation skills (cost) Negotiation skills (issues) Cost analysis skills Problem-solving skills Quality management skills Project management Program management Organisational skills- paperwork Time management-prioritise

Behaviour Skills People skills Working with internal customer/other functions Detail-oriented Understanding other departments Be proactive Ability to follow up Ability to be flexible Stress management Ability to work in a team Be patient Ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously

Appendix 1
Kolchin & Guinipero - 18 skills for purchasing professionals: Interpersonal communication, customer focus, ability to make decisions, negotiation, analytical, managing change, conflict resolution, problem solving, influence and persuasion, computer literacy, leadership, understanding general business, tactfulness in dealing with others, creativity, planning, managing internal relations, organisational skills/time management, investigative nature.

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