Procurement Manager Qualifications & Skills

What Qualifications Are Needed to Be a Procurement Manager?

The procurement manager is the company’s liaison with suppliers, contract manufacturers, and vendors. A skilled procurement manager can lower input costs. They can also minimise supply chain risks and improve operational effectiveness for the business. Increased international competition has led to a greater focus on cost control. As a result, the role of the procurement manager has become ever more important. This article focuses on the qualifications and skills necessary to land a job in procurement and excel at it.

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Academic Qualifications

Purchasing managers need to perform analytically complex tasks. They also must be able to negotiate hard with vendors. They must, therefore, be well-versed in commercial practices, business legislation, and interpersonal abilities. Therefore, a degree in business would be the most beneficial, as it usually covers the basics of business law and negotiations. However, economics, accounting, or law degrees might also be acceptable. On-the-job training is another option for learning numerous skills.

Purchasing managers in manufacturing organisations usually need engineering degrees. This is because they have intricate supply networks. Engineering courses cover the basics of production, manufacturing, and quality assurance. Purchasing managers in such companies are expected to have these skills. These programmes will increase your selection prospects.

MBA courses can also benefit senior purchasing managers in large companies. These courses cover the basics of business law and negotiations. They also cover operational management, operations research, process optimisation, etc.


There are several certifications available for purchasing managers. However, at the onset, only some certifications are designed explicitly for procurement. They usually contain elements of a supply chain or inventory management as well. Procurement managers in organisations needing a concentration would profit more than others.

The Institute for Supply Management offers some certifications that might help purchase managers:

This course covers complex global supply chains and technological innovations. It also includes other skills that purchasing managers use in their day-to-day operations. The course is for Certified Professionals in Supply Management (CPSM).

Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD) is for purchasing managers. They must learn to identify better opportunities in vendor management. This includes vendor onboarding, supplier selection, and vendor risk management.

The Associations for Operations Management (APICS) also offer specific certifications, like:

Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM). This training aims to improve your ability to manage inventories and production.

Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) – Focuses on streamlining supply chain operations.

Work Experience

Procurement is a good department for young graduates to start in. There is the possibility of getting entry-level jobs with little prior experience. Senior-level positions are still available; there is a lot of variability in role seniority. Entry-level positions, such as purchasing agents or procurement officers, might have different names. People in these roles might advance to full-time procurement managers.

The bottom line is that roles are usually available for people at all experience levels.

What Skills Do Procurement Managers Need?

The job of the procurement manager has become increasingly complex over time. Technology’s development has played a role in this. However, business practices have changed significantly and contributed significantly. These days, businesses outsource everything, including contract manufacturing. They concentrate more and more on their core skills.

As a result, procurement managers have a growing responsibility to play throughout the whole value chain of the business. Therefore, the modern procurement manager’s role is more than a support function. The position is now central to the company’s overall strategy.

Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash

Negotiation Skills

Purchasing managers add the most value when negotiating lucrative sourcing contracts with vendors. This is the most evident value addition to their organization. Purchasing managers must juggle multiple bids. They evaluate them and negotiate on price and other aspects with the most promising leads. This ability is crucial. As the market becomes more competitive, it is difficult for companies to raise prices. The focus then shifts to reducing input costs, where purchasing managers come in.

Tech Orientation

Two multiplicative effects are affecting the way companies manage their operations. More and more activities are outsourced, and the supply chain is getting increasingly complex. xx, For instance, a business may obtain components or raw materials from several different businesses. Additionally, they may work with hundreds of vendors. They need legal, transportation, infrastructure, market research, IT, and security suppliers.

The procurement manager must handle all this complexity, and the only way to do it is by using purpose-built software and other such tools. Businesses buy customized resource management and supply chain tools from software providers. The industry is worth billions of dollars. The purchasing managers must be well versed in using such software to ensure they can operate efficiently.

Operations Management

Operations management is a broad discipline. It covers many of the necessary activities for a company’s operations. For example, it might concern production philosophies within the manufacturing department. Procurement managers might work with just-in-time inventory management. They might also improve efficiency and reduce mistakes using Six Sigma techniques.

Complex models with many moving parts must be designed and operated for companies to ensure smooth operations. For example, shipments from five locations must arrive at their predetermined schedules. Any deviations could lead to a massive backlog at the unloading docks.

Risk Management

Supply chains have become so long and complex that extracting maximum cost efficiency from the market is difficult. This means costs are kept to a minimum when things are running smoothly. However, it can make things very difficult in the event of any exceptions or disruptions. For example, there was a time when a steel company would manufacture everything that it needed on its own and even mine the raw ore itself. That meant that it was immune to any supply shocks, but it also had the downside of being unable to access cheaper vendors.

Today, it is the opposite. Many large companies have outsourced a good chunk of their operations to reduce costs. This leaves them vulnerable to disruptions. The procurement manager’s job is to identify, measure, and mitigate these supply chain risks. This task is complicated. It involves a multidisciplinary approach and utilizes cross-functional domain experience. Alternate strategies are created after consulting with several departments. For example, the procurement manager activates an alternate supplier in a different country. In that case, the finance department will also need to have plans for making payments in that country.

Unparalleled Coordination Skills

Purchasing managers must coordinate their activities with many people across departments or vendors. This is essential for them to effectively execute their duties. Any delays or disruptions can lead to significant losses. For instance, coordinating with many executives at the vendor company might be necessary to approve a new supplier. It would also involve the in-house legal team, finance, and compliance departments. It would also involve external lawyers, management, and operations teams.

Want to know more about what a procurement manager does? Check out these articles covering:

How to Become, Job Description & ProfileCV Template & ExamplesSalary & Pay

Search Jobs to find out about the procurement manager job roles we currently have available.

See also the Operations Manager Job Description and Profile here.

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