Purchasing, Procurement or Category Manager – Which Pathway is Best for My Career?
So, you know you want to have a managerial position in supply chain logistics? That’s great. When deciding which logistics management career pathway you want to take there are plenty of options.
From purchasing to procurement to category manager, each has a set of skill requirements. Considering the differences between each would be wise before choosing the best pathway for your career.
Skills for a Purchasing Manager
A good purchasing manager needs to have a mixture of skills and abilities from product knowledge to sales skills to relationship skills. They need to have a solid mix of these areas to be able to succeed in their line of work.
You need to be able to plan and delegate tasks to team members to ensure that you are meeting deadlines, keeping documentation in order, and creating an effective routine for yourself and your team.
2. Interpersonal skills
Communication is key in almost any business deal. Effective interaction with other people will be beneficial to the success of your career. Constructive dialogue is critical and a must-have skill for a successful purchasing manager.
3. Understanding strategy
The purchasing manager needs to understand the strategy of the company they work for and be aligned with the vision of the CEO. This will provide a clear objective and guide you in daily decision making.
Skills for a Procurement Manager
The difference between a purchasing and procurement manager is more defined in larger organisations. In smaller companies, one person can fulfill both roles. Procurement Managers have a responsibility to ensure that all purchasing and procurement happens within company guidelines and meets the consumer demand. Skills that you will need to have when you enter this career include:
1. Collaborate effectively
Businesses and teams can only operate effectively if all the moving parts work in synchronisation. Being able to collaborate and communicate needs will result in your company acquiring the necessary goods, at the lowest price and the highest quality.
2. Analyse KPI’s
Managers are relied on to ensure their teams are staying on track and meeting goals. Managers will gather information from internal and external sources to evaluate the KPI’s or Key Performance Index of employees.
3. Enforce sustainability
One of the growing movements in the 21st century is the demand for sustainable practices and sustainable supply chains. Consumers want to know that they are purchasing goods and services that come from ethical, sustainable sources. The procurement manager will focus on ensuring that the supply chain is making the most sustainable choices possible to meet the demands of the consumers.
Skills for a Category Manager
Category management is a fast-paced and full-on career that requires you to wear many different hats and have a variety of different skills. The difference between a purchasing and category manager comes down to supply chain hierarchy. The purchasing manager will deal directly with the CEO and CFO, while a category manager will report to the purchasing or procurement manager, again depending on the size of the company.
Skills you will need as a category manager include:
1. Managing suppliers
It is the category manager’s responsibility to ensure that goods and services flow uninterrupted. You are required to have an excellent relationship with suppliers to ensure this result.
2. Project Management
You will need to keep focused on all elements of a project and ensure that projects meet deadlines and budgets.
3. Data management and analysis
It will be crucial that you can gather and analyse data relating to processes and determine if they are effective and productive. It’s also your responsibility to develop strategies to help rectify gaps and issues.
Get an advantage with a Diploma of Logistics
Although there are different elements to each of these logistics career pathways, there are also many similarities. One of the advantages you can give yourself is further education. The more knowledge and skills that you have under your belt, the more success you will have in your chosen career pathway.
A qualification like the Diploma of Logistics can be applied to each of these careers.
Units that you will study include:
- Lead and manage team effectiveness
- Manage a Supply Chain
- Lead and manage workplace relationships
- Manage operational plans
- Facilitate continuous improvement
How to decide which role is best?
There are lots of pathways available for supply chain management positions, and it is smart to explore all of them to find the one that is the best fit for you and the goals that you have set for your future.
Evaluate what skills are needed for each role and honestly acknowledge whether or not they are skills you think that you possess, or want to possess. If you don’t think they are skills you have, there are plenty of ways to go about acquiring them. The College for Adult Learning offers flexible and cost-effective online diploma options for anyone interested in logistics management career pathways.