Purchasing/Procurement is a multi-faceted area of a business that generally requires a team of people with complementary skills to be successful. However, many professionals have not considered transitioning into a purchasing career and are missing out on exciting career opportunities.
A purchasing manager seeks out goods and services and tries to buy those of the best available quality for the lowest possible price. Then, they provide these to the customer at the right time, to the highest satisfaction, all while maintaining a profit. Generally, it is larger companies and organisations that need a large purchasing team. Those who work for manufacturers purchase raw or minimally processed materials. Those who work for wholesalers or retailers purchase finished goods.
Typically, a purchasing or procurement department will;
- Study the market to identify price trends and future availability of materials and goods
- Locate vendors
- Negotiate prices and contracts
- Prepare requisitions and purchase orders
- Maintain purchase/procurement records
- Understand warehousing and production
- Deal with logistics and transport
- Hire, train and manage juniors
- Advise on product design or equipment specifications
With so many areas of knowledge you’d be surprised how easy it is to adapt your career.
6 Career Transition Case Studies
Your skills as an engineer can offer much-needed technical know-how to the procurement team. You understand how to project manage, build relationships with stakeholders and create efficiencies in areas that others may not understand. Look for jobs with companies that supply to engineering or building industries.
2. Operations Management
As an operations expert, you will find the transition into supply chain management to be an easy and logical career move. There are many areas of purchasing and procurement in which you will find you are a perfect fit. To move to the highest management levels you will need to thrive under pressure, be able to manage multiple tasks, be a great communicator, and be motivated to exceed expectations.
3. Business Administration
An understanding of business and administration will be valued in any purchasing/procurement department. Your skills in managing processes are essential and will excel in purchasing/procurement if you can also learn how to manage people. Ruthless attention to detail along with a history of improving the bottom line will make you stand out in the application process.
4. Accounting and Bookkeeping
Sound financial management underpins every successful purchasing and procurement business unit. Inventory management, product design, creating and managing budgets, forecasting, financial reporting and purchase order systems are all areas that you can apply your knowledge for a successful career.
5. IT and Programming
Data analysis and business intelligence requirements/opportunities are now on the rise. Many emerging supply chain positions require a high-level data analyst with strong data scientist skills. A specialist understanding of robotics, artificial intelligence and ‘The Internet of Things’ will be highly sought after. Differentiate yourself positively by showing your experience in using commercial business intelligence software applications.
Purchasing isn’t all finance, operations and administration. Many sales skills are also required. Areas that every purchasing/procurement business needs to succeed in include; negotiating pricing, renewing contracts and managing supplier and customer relationships. A Purchasing/Procurement Manager who has these skills can play a vital role in the overall success of the business and will be relied upon by the CEO and COO as a strong member of the team.
Gaining your Supply Chain Management Qualification
To be considered for an interview for a procurement or purchasing position you will need to have a respected and relevant qualification. An online Diploma of Business (Procurement) (BSB50120) offered by CAL will fill in any gaps in your knowledge and give you the career-ready skills every employee is looking for in today’s purchasing/procurement job market.
You can study part-time while working in your existing job or achieve your Diploma in just four to six months full time. The flexibility to fast track your studying is ideal if you have been made redundant or have a bulk of holiday leave you can take now.