Who actually chooses a procurement job? At what point did the careers advisor at school turn to you and say “You know what? You should think about a career in procurement”.
Many who ended up in procurement jobs didn’t exactly volunteer. Usually, a procurement position is attained through the need to develop another role or people just find themselves responsible for it. Although today a job in procurement is slowly being realised as a valuable and satisfying career move.
As more and more organisations recognise the value of managing their spend and the supply of their goods and services to gain competitive advantage the more they recognise that they need a skilled and capable procurement professional to achieve their goals. A procurement job comes with a high degree of responsibility. The buyer is usually in charge of the total spend of a company. In the case of global corporations, this can be huge. They also represent the professional face of the company as they will deal with the suppliers who provide the goods and services. They must be ethically strong as they face issues such as fraud and bribery. A procurement job requires you to be a leader as well as a manager. Providing help and advice to both internal stakeholders as well as suppliers to increase value and drive down costs.
The poster for the procurement job would probably read ‘We need YOU to reduce costs, add value, increase quality, guarantee service and reduce time to market’. As all organisations start to realise that it is not companies who compete but supply chains the role of procurement is gaining recognition. The need to ensure organisations achieve a competitive edge requires the spend of that company to be constantly monitored and reduced, meaning a procurement job is a job for life.
But why choose a career in procurement? This raises the classic WIIFM question: what’s in it for me?
A procurement job usually pays well, certainly where the responsibilities are higher and the risks require management. From humble beginnings and with the right qualifications buyers can move up the ladder of success to earn any upward of £100,000 a year. Don’t expect this to be your starting salary, it can take years to become a senior buyer or procurement director.
From humble beginnings, there are a plethora of opportunities for the budding buyer. Several organisations buy on a project basis allowing you to develop as part of a team. Succession planning means that there is always an opportunity to start at purchasing assistant, then to buyer, then to senior buyer and even enter the boardroom as procurement or supply chain director.
One of the most satisfying parts of having a procurement job is in making the deal. The buyer must understand the supply market, appraise the suppliers and negotiate the best agreement they can. The process requires high levels of analytical and commercial skill, not to mention excellent negotiating and influencing skills. Achieving success in a negotiation is probably one of the most stimulating activities you can take part in.
With globalisation, there is a need for procurement professionals to manage supply bases that cover the world. Many organisations have buyers overseeing regions such as Europe or Asia and the suppliers will need to be visited to make sure they are delivering value-add to the company. Some procurement jobs are linked to travel, such as procurement jobs with airlines or cruise ships. Someone has to manage the suppliers in the Caribbean – and it could be you!
If you are interested in a career in procurement, why not study for a CIPS Diploma in Procurement and Supply. For more information about this qualification or the range of procurement courses from The Oxford College of Procurement and Supply, speak to one of our course advisors today on +44 (0)1865 515255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.