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How do I Become a Procurement Manager?

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  • Written By: Jessica Bosari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2016
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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.

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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.

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malmal
Post 3

Are there more or less levels of education required for specific procurement management jobs, or is it random based on which company you end up working for?

For example, let's say I wanted a job in procurement management for a large office supply business or a movie studio who wanted somebody to procure materials for their props. Now, would I have to have a different level of education (Master's, Bachelor's, etc) for one or the other because they involved procurement in that particular field?

Alternately, let's say I wanted to be procurement manager for two different office supply companies. Is it possible that they would each have different expectations about my level of employment? If the expectations are

based on which field you go into, is there anywhere to go to see what the "standard" is for a procurement manager in any particular field?

If expectations are based on each individual company's own ideals, planning my education to be prepared for the job I really want is going to be tough...

ahain
Post 2

@gimbell - You hit the nail on the head with that last comment, there. Everybody wants a job that pays well, and that is steady, but when choosing a career you always have to balance between those and an actual interest in the work.

I'd imagine most procurement managers could have become a teacher, but instead they chose to be procurement managers. Of the two, teaching is a much more well-known job. How many kids do you hear say "I want to do procurement jobs when I grow up"?

I think it takes a different kind of person to be a procurement manager, too; this job is a leadership position. As a procurement manager, you take all of the

heat if you buy something wrong, and considering that some procurement managers are in charge of making supply purchases for entire companies, that's a lot of somebody else's money you're being trusted to spend on the right thing!

I wonder if having any training in accounting and finance would give your resume an extra edge in this job? It seems like it would show potential employers that you know how to handle money responsibly and with a business's big-time financing in mind instead of regular consumer purchases, you know?

gimbell
Post 1

Wow, procurement can require a Master's degree? I could go to school and learn how to become a teacher for the same amount of time! I'll bet being a teacher pays better, too, and with tenured positions you wouldn't even have to worry about ever getting fired.

Procurement managing sounds interesting, though...I guess it would be more fun to work with adults all day than with a bunch of kids or teenagers.

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