Job Focus: Head of Procurement

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The Head of Procurement has a vital role to play in any team. They are often responsible for leading a large number of buyers and category managers, and will have the final say on how the team’s budget is used.

We spoke to one Head of Procurement at a leading business to find out exactly what their role entails.

How did you achieve this level of success in your career?

Procurement is much like any other sector, in that you have to work your way up from the bottom. I started out as a buyer, which is one of the more common starting points, and built my skills at a few different companies.

One of the great things about working in procurement is that your abilities are evident to those around you every day in the results you achieve, and if you’re keen to progress then it won’t take long for your superiors to notice your talent.

Of course, you can also supplement your skills with additional qualifications such as MCIPS, which is a pretty clear indication of your ambition.

What does the average day involve?

When it comes to procurement, there’s no such thing as an ‘average day’. You’ll likely encounter something new every day, so one day you might find yourself travelling to meet suppliers, while the next day you could be putting the finishing touches to a strategy that will take your project that much closer to success.

I do enjoy the day-to-day aspect of leading a team too, sharing in their successes and helping them improve and grow.

What excites you about your job?

Even after all my years in the business, I still face new challenges every day. Each project is different, and you’ll find yourself dealing with new people across a range of other sectors.

Working with such a variety of people gives me great insight into different organisations, so I’m always learning and building contacts.

And of course, leading a successful team and completing projects to a high standard is something that continues to give me a lot of pride.

What attributes are needed for success in procurement?

You’ll be dealing with people every day, so this should certainly be one of your strong points. You should also be unflappable in a variety of situations, as not everyone you’ll meet will be easy to work with.

It’s important you’re able to develop strong relationships with external suppliers and your colleagues. This is easy enough if your project is running smoothly. The real test comes when you encounter some resistance, at which point you will need strong communication skills and a good deal of creativity to get what you need.

If you’re planning to progress to higher level procurement roles, it’s obviously important to have a good head for numbers as well, because you will eventually find yourself in charge of a sizeable budget.

Find Head of Procurement opportunities with Portfolio

If you are looking to progress your procurement career, the expert recruiters Portfolio may be able to help you find a role that will match your abilities.

You can take a look at our current vacancies, or call Pat Law on 020 7650 3191.