Procurement Buyer Shares Her Experience and the Importance of Relationship Building

headshot of Sheryl ChicoSheryl Chico discusses her role as an on-site Procurement Buyer for Nexus, including the challenges a volatile market can bring.

What does the typical day in your life look like at Nexus?

I begin each morning with a review and reply of any overnight communications from suppliers or internal stakeholders. This time is primarily spent on emails, reviewing reports or looking at updates on market conditions that may impact accessibility to supplies. My days are typically spent staying connected with existing suppliers and exploring opportunities to expand our supplier base. This may involve purchasing, arranging quality control checks, and ensuring all purchasing documentation is in order and compliant with the client’s regulatory requirements.

Jumping into an on-site, embedded procurement role was eye-opening. I am in awe of the engineering world and the challenge of providing solutions to the client. I have learned that continuous communication is essential to my role. I am always looking for ways to optimize the purchasing process, whether it is streamlining procedures, negotiating better terms with suppliers, or exploring alternative sources.

What are the top functions of your role as a Procurement Buyer?

Purchasing, expediting, quality control and supplier relations are a few of my top functions. Purchasing involves the issuing and documentation of purchase orders, negotiation of prices and coordinating the logistics for the delivery of material to the client’s warehouse. Quality control is essential for the client’s operations, so I also work closely with the quality control team to ensure materials meet the client’s specifications and inspections on site.

As an on-site, embedded member of the procurement team, what are the typical challenges you face?

Market windows can be volatile and cause supply chain disruptions. Prices are subject to rapid changes due to factors such as geopolitical or geographical events. Managing market fluctuations requires agility and strategic decision-making to minimize risk and secure the best possible agreements for the client.

Negotiating can sometimes be a challenge but it’s an important undertaking because we need to favor client’s requirements while balancing budget constraints. Possessing effective negotiation skills, market knowledge and maintaining supplier relationships are key to securing the best possible transaction outcomes for our client.

What has been the most unexpected, positive aspect of your role?

Nexus’ Procurement Services identifies obstacles and provides top–tier solutions within tight turnarounds as we work to close gaps for the client. As part of that process, and more than anything else, I have loved the relationship-building aspect of procurement. I am developing strong and sustainable relationships with suppliers, engineers, contractors and the client. As a Procurement Buyer, I can never have too many connections with vendors – it ensures we effectively and efficiently secure products for our client.