Strategic sourcing is the term for a process by which professionals analyze how businesses spend money and develop plans for cost effectiveness and higher profitability. Professionals in this field commonly negotiate with suppliers and implement new plans to be followed by purchasing or procurement departments. To become a strategic sourcing manager, you should plan on getting formal academic training in a business field such as finance, economics, management, or logistics. In most cases, it is a good idea to earn a master's degree in business because this is a high level position that requires a strong understanding of management and finance principles.
It is common to find this kind of a professional in a field that requires specialized knowledge of equipment and materials. For example, to become a strategic sourcing manager in the manufacturing industry it might be necessary to have a background in engineering. While it may not be necessary to have a degree in this field, you should take some courses in a related field.
Aside from earning academic degrees, a person who would like to become a strategic sourcing manager should also plan on getting years of experience in the strategic sourcing field. A good way to do this is to begin working in purchasing departments. Purchasers or buyers often must have a strong knowledge of resources used in a particular industry, so you can benefit by taking entry level positions in a field in which you are interested in working as a strategic sourcing manager. For example, if you are interested in software development, you might want to choose an entry level buyer position in a related organization.
To become a strategic sourcing manager, it also is a good idea to engage in continual professional development. When looking at job descriptions, you might find that employers prefer it if job applicants have relevant professional certification. A Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM) credential, for example, can help set you apart from the competition. To earn this kind of certification, you must often take a number of professional development courses and work as a purchasing manager for some years.
Joining related professional organizations can be a great way to learn about job openings in this field. Many people who earn high level positions, such as a strategic sourcing manager, do so through professional networking. When you learn about an opening, send a cover letter and resume to an employer. These documents should highlight your experience as a purchasing professional, your knowledge related to a specific industry, and your negotiation and financial management skills.