Procurement Manager – are you ready to take the next step?

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While working in the procurement industry, you will have developed a variety of hard and soft skills that will have helped you do your job properly, including empathy, communication, cost reduction and streamlining.

After developing these skills, handling your own projects from start to finish, and dealing with everyone from CEOs to suppliers, you may feel like you have learnt enough to take the next step in your career.

Becoming a procurement manager, however, is a big jump.

If you go for the role you will be faced with more responsibility and pressure than ever before, although the rewards and recognition can be massive.

Below we have detailed what you need to know if you are serious about becoming a procurement manager.

What do procurement managers do?

As a procurement manager, you will be responsible for leading the procurement team in buying the correct goods and services for your company at the best price.

Stepping up to the role of procurement manger from the procurement team, whether internally or by moving to another company, will be a big change. You will be expected to use your previous knowledge and experience to help streamline processes, and to forge strong relationships with potential suppliers.

Are you qualified enough?

Procurement is slightly different from other areas of business such as finance and law, as there is no set qualification needed to land the role. Procurement managers come from various backgrounds, ranging from production, to manufacturing or retail management.

Some companies, particularly manufacturing, engineering or construction firms, like to hire procurement managers who have prior knowledge of their industry.

In regards to formal qualifications, these vary depending on the size of your company. Some employers may require a degree with a business emphasis, such as business studies or purchasing and logistics, while others will be interested solely in your procurement experience.

Many employers will expect their procurement manager to be a member of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS). You can do this via taking a CIPS accredited undergraduate or postgraduate degree or taking a CIPS Graduate Diploma.

Do you have enough experience?

Previous business experience and experience in the procurement industry is a must. Procurement managers are often promoted from non-management positions such as assistant buyer, so starting out lower down the pecking order and working your way up is the best way to gain experience.

Procurement management jobs take lots of knowledge, a quick mind and the ability to work under pressure, so if you are going to go for this role, you must ensure that you have proven yourself in your current role.

If you are from a different part of the business and believe procurement might be more suited to you, shadowing a current manager or a sandwich placement will improve your chances.

How are your relationship management skills?

Without a doubt, one of the most important parts of procurement management is your ability to communicate efficiently with many different kinds of people. You will be the first point of contact for a large amount of people, and it will be down to you to negotiate the best deals for your business.

You need to ensure that your communication, listening, and empathy skills are up to scratch, and that you can hold your ground during pressured sales meetings.

During your experience of working in procurement, have you managed to build up a strong source of contacts when it comes to buying? You will be expected to use them to source the best deals for your business – procurement managers networks are very important.

Are you forward thinking?

While other departments such as law, HR and finance may spend their time looking backwards, procurement managers are in charge of the future of their company. Whether reading seasonality or analysing customer trends, they have to make the important decisions about the next steps of the company.

If you are going to go for a procurement manager role, you must ensure that you have a forward thinking attitude, with the end game in mind. You must know what the business needs now, and what it will need in the future by recognising trends and consumer behaviour.

Still interested?

A Procurement manager is a role that's vital for the future of any business. There are many benefits to working in procurement, including the variety the job provides, high levels of responsibility afforded to employees, and the chance to work with a number of different people.

Make sure you are proficient in the skills listed above and your chances of landing a Procurement Manager role will greatly improve.

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