Becoming a Procurement Manager
Step 1 – Get the right degree
The role of a procurement manager can differ considerably between companies and sectors. For most companies, a business degree would be preferable and sufficient. Whereas other companies, which have complex supply and production chains, an engineering degree might instead be mandated. Candidates should decide beforehand what their goals are and apply to companies which match their interests and qualifications.
For more information on academic qualifications please reference the relevant article on qualifications.
Step 2 – Start small
One unique aspect of the procurement department is that there are roles available for individuals at almost every level of experience. There are entry-level positions available for a fresh graduate and there are positions for managers with 20+ years of experience handling the procurement department for an entire continent.
Starting small could, therefore, mean one of two things. Firstly, it could mean applying to an entry-level position at a normal-sized company. In this case, the procurement agent/officer would be responsible only for a small component of the company’s overall sourcing requirements. The individual can then rise through the ranks and take on more responsibilities.
Secondly, it could mean starting as an intern or a graduate trainee at a large multinational corporation. These large companies usually have campus programmes where they take on fresh graduates and expose them to various roles and departments within the organisation. The best candidates are then retained and their careers are usually fast-tracked.
Step 3 – Get the certifications
There are a number of certifications available for procurement managers. The certifications have been discussed in another article which you can find at the following article on qualifications. The key thing to note about these certifications is that candidates would need to have at least some understanding of what the job entails before undertaking these courses.
The certifications are a great way to boost your career after a few years of experience. Many professionals undergo certifications like these or advanced courses like an MBA to add some dynamism to their career paths.
Step 4 – Rise through the ranks
There are considerable opportunities to rise through the ranks in the procurement department. In addition to organically growing within the organisation, professionals also have the option for lateral movements with generally lead to faster growth and better compensation as well. There might also be opportunities for cross-departmental movement. For example, procurement managers with a good grasp of operational and supply chain management can move into production or operations departments and even look at a COO (Chief Operating Officer) post down the line.
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