Ultimate Career Guide to Purchasing and Procurement: How to Get Started and Succeed
The procurement career ladder has ample opportunity in today’s consumer-driven supply and demand economy. Explore the best ways to get started and why the Diploma of Business (Procurement) (BSB51518) is worth your time and commitment if you really want to succeed.
Is a Diploma of Business (Procurement) worth it?
2020 has taught us many things, not least of which is the importance of modern-day supply chains. We have had a taste of what the impacts can be if things do not go to the usual plan, like unpredictable spikes in consumer demand, or difficulties transporting goods across state borders.
At the heart of supply chain processes are procurement, supply, and distribution. In 2014, almost 31,000 Australians were employed as managers in this field. By 2019, that figure had jumped to 50,000, without any signs of slowing. Employers place a premium on their business’ ability to plan and control the supply, storage, and distribution of goods, for good reason.
The longer a product sits in a warehouse, the more money it costs a business, and any delays or shortfall in supply has the same effect. The exponential increase in online consumer spending due to the global pandemic has further sharpened focus on the issue of effective supply.
The average salary at a managerial purchasing level is $130,000; however, that is nowhere near the top of a procurement or supply chain managers’ career ladder. Increasingly, middle managers are being appointed to executive-level positions, as companies place a premium on skills like negotiating contracts, creating innovative processes, and managing costs. Reaching that level of responsibility starts with securing the right qualification.
What does a procurement career ladder look like?
Typically, a career in the procurement field begins with a job as a purchasing officer, or similar. Roles like this provide a solid understanding of basics within the industry such as sourcing, right through to cost control and delivery.
Starting salaries vary, but the average is just under $58,000. The next step is a move into purchase management, where salaries are in the range of $74,000 to $83,000. These roles are specifically focused on forecasting and strategic ordering, which teaches valuable lessons about unwanted stockpiling, logistics, and dealing with both internal/external clients and end-of-chain customers.
Once those skills are mastered, the logical career progression is into fields such as supply chain management, where analysis and research are needed to better inform a company about where efficiencies are possible. At this point, the average salary exceeds $105,000 but can go much higher as a career professional’s experience, negotiating skills, and a sharp eye for detail become valuable commodities.
A career of this type begins with the right qualifications and skills that are recognised across the industry. The College for Adult Learning’s online diploma is a great place to start. The online course is designed to fit your life instead of making your life fit the diploma. There are also industry experts on hand to advise and guide you towards a rewarding career in their field of expertise.
What does a supply chain career path look like?
Supply Chain Management (SCM) focuses on quality management throughout a supply process starting with procurement and ending with the timely delivery of products, all while keeping inventory low. In other words, getting goods to consumers when they want it, at the lowest cost possible.
How to Get a Job in Supply Chain Management
It means dealing with every aspect of delivery from raw materials sourcing, transport, storage, through to the end result of delivery. It’s a simple goal, but the process can be complicated. Globalisation and offshoring, for example, are two layers of complexity that have increased exponentially in recent years.
At an entry-level, roles such as buying and planning give newcomers to the sector a broad business view. You’ll deal with colleagues in areas ranging from finance to sales, and also marketing. Annual salaries in this field typically start at around $52,000.
Beyond that, grasping new technologies as they emerge will play a key role in career advancement. Artificial Intelligence, robotics, drones, and 3D printing are becoming increasingly important in the supply chain field. Understanding and embracing these changes will increasingly become valuable tools in your armoury.
Experience and leadership abilities are, as always, more valuable than an individual’s career advances. At the top of the tree, the best supply chain manager salaries begin at around $105,000 per annum, right through to $160,000 and more for director-level appointees.
Career opportunities in procurement
The scope of a career in procurement is virtually limitless. Large companies often deal with thousands of suppliers, from around the globe. Goods have to be sourced, contracts negotiated, quality standards set and met, and transport fleets overseen to meet the demands of both the business and its’ customers.
The sheer scale of these operations means that if costs can be contained at this stage, it makes a big difference to a company’s bottom line. There’s also scope for career advancement in terms of travel or overseas postings, to inspect offshore operations or perhaps in a full-time supervisory role.
Big scale procurement opportunities exist in multiple sectors, such as mining, health, telecommunications, and so forth. Smaller companies still place great importance on how robust their procurement policies and procedures are. That’s why talented and dedicated procurement managers or directors are often given seats at the boardroom table and the title of Chief Procurement Officer (CPO). In many companies, the CPO holds an equal position in the C-suite and will report directly to the CEO.
Strong negotiating skills, product or category knowledge, specific industry experience, and knowledge of internal processes, and how to make them more efficient, are all valuable strings to a procurement professional’s bow. Setting yourself on the right path to this level of expertise begins with an industry-recognised diploma.
What doors does a purchase management diploma open?
Purchase management is at the sharp end of any medium to large business. It’s a step-by-step process, each one intertwined to achieve the goals of the next. The most basic questions a purchase manager has to answer is what to buy, how much, and when? This has implications relating to costs, both in terms of initial outlay and ongoing issues such as storage, transport, etc.
Supplier selection must consider issues like quality, availability, and adaptability of the supply chain. Initially, that consists of issuing purchase orders, assessing lead times, and then checking the fulfilment of orders. It’s this oversight of the supply chain right through the process that will determine its’ success.
A good purchasing manager in the early stages of their career can expect an annual salary of around $90,000, but with a decade of experience than can earn upwards of $140,000 or more. Starting with the right diploma is essential in terms of getting a ‘foot in the door’ of this challenging, rewarding, and financially lucrative career.
What does the future of procurement look like?
Procurement and supply chain management are dynamic, ever-changing industries. They’re often a ‘barometer’ of the wider business world, as they have daily contact with so many other industry facets that are geared towards satisfying consumer demand.
There are always better ways to do business, and a manager’s role in this field is to identify and implement the most effective ones. Over the next decade or so, issues like enabling businesses to meet environmental goals and demand for transparency within the supply chain will become central. A business can’t commit to better environmental practises if their suppliers aren’t doing the same, and end-of-line customers increasingly want to know if what they are buying has been sustainably sourced and ethically produced. These issues fall squarely in the lap of those in procurement and supply chain roles.
In an ever-changing and competitive sector, obtaining a diploma is an important first step. What the College for Adult Learning offers is a no-fuss, flexible course that can be undertaken at your own pace. Once you graduate, you’ll have exactly the qualifications you need to get involved in an exciting, evolving field that’s playing an increasingly vital role in the world of business.