Procurement managers, also known as purchasing managers, are responsible for the planning and overall acquisition strategy for manufacturing or retail companies. You can become a procurement manager by securing a bachelor’s degree in a related field like business management. You will then need to secure employment as a purchasing clerk, expediter, junior buyer or assistant buyer before working your way up to management.
Deference is often given to those who have an understanding and expertise in relation to the merchandise a firm produces or sells. Procurement systems can be different at every company, so graduating from a procurement programs may not be enough preparation for an individual to become a procurement manager. The type of degree you should pursue will depend on whether you wish to work at a retail or manufacturing firm. A business degree is preferred at retailers, but manufacturing firms prefer those with an engineering, economics or applied sciences degrees. Some workers may need to secure a master’s degree to advance in this field.
Leadership training is helpful for anyone who wishes to become a procurement manager. These managers need to be confident leaders, good decision makers, sharp planners and quick problem solvers. Purchasers must make quick decisions and take chances on styles and trends. They must have the marketing skills to identify products that will become popular in the near future. Procurement managers spend a great deal of time overseeing assistant buyers, so leadership skills like these are vital.
Computer training is also important as more firms take advantage of e-procurement software. With this procurement method, companies can automate much of the purchasing function, such as automatic reordering when stock levels fall below a certain point. There are different kinds of software used in e-procurement and it is helpful to become familiar with them.
Some firms will hire students directly from college to train on their procurement systems and begin working as an assistant buyer very quickly. Others will hire college students at entry level and then promote them to assistant buyers. Most employers utilize a combination of both methods to handle their purchasing procurement.
Once you find work as a purchasing agent, you will need to secure continuing education or certification to advance and become a procurement manager. Certification is becoming more important for those seeking to enter this field and it is likely to be required for many positions.