Procurement and Supply

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5 Careers You Can Choose in Procurement & Supply

Research conducted by Robert Walters confirms that procurement jobs in the UK have increased by 8% year on year. A steady growth, this shows that there’s not only a demand for procurement professionals in the workplace but also a likelihood of more roles becoming available in the near future.

Procurement & Supply is a fulfilling and varied career choice for anyone passionate or skilled in:

  • Building exceptional working relationships
  • Understanding and enhancing sustainability through purchasing
  • Hard bargaining negotiation skills

If this is you, keep reading as we discuss 5 exciting careers you can choose in Procurement & Supply!

What is Procurement & Supply?

Before we dive into the diverse career opportunities available in this lucrative sector, we’re first going to explore what Procurement & Supply is, with definitions varying depending on the presence of either a procurement department, or overall procurement activity within an organisation.

The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) describe procurement as the act of “buying goods and services that enable an organisation to operate its supply chains, in a profitable and ethical manner”.

You will also hear of two types of procurement and supply, direct and indirect. Direct procurement and supply include procuring raw materials and goods for production, whereas indirect includes services that may not be used in the manufacturing process but are fundamental to day-to-day operations.

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Careers You Can Choose in Procurement & Supply

Now we know what Procurement & Supply is, we’re going to speak more about the different career options available and some valuable skills that would particularly benefit these roles.

1) Buyer or Purchaser

These two career options are similar; however, it depends on the company you are working for.

A buyer or purchaser is an individual who purchases the goods, materials or services that a company requires to maintain operating. A person who enjoys planning, researching and sourcing the best deals, their main responsibilities will fall under these four categories:

  1. Deciding on where materials and items will be sourced from
  2. Purchasing said materials, following strict ethical and sustainability rules
  3. Creating and leading supplier relationships
  4. Working to tight budgets

To perform successfully at the above, a buyer and purchaser will also be:

  • Organised and articulate
  • Confident in their people skills
  • Able to work under pressure
  • An empathetic team player
  • Strict in terms of time management

You’ll probably notice that a lot of the above are transferable skills, which means on top of an industry relevant qualification, such as a CIPS Level 3 Advanced Certificate in Procurement & Supply Operations, someone who was interested in switching careers and holds some of the above skills, could land an entry-level role as a purchaser or buyer.

2) Procurement Assistant

Perfect for those who are just entering the world of procurement and supply, a procurement analyst role is a great way to get your career started. This role includes:

  1. Communicating with various departments
  2. Analysing and tracking vendors
  3. Maintaining procurement records

Procurement assistants are often great at taking initiative, spotting opportunity and creating new solutions. Often this individual will also oversee purchase orders, including invoicing and providing administrative support for the overall team.

To be a successful procurement assistant you must have some knowledge of purchasing, invoicing and customer service skills, however, as this is an entry level role, you may find you already have some transferable skills that can be further utilised.

3) Supply Chain Manager or Coordinator

A supply chain manager focuses on overseeing the whole process of delivering a product or service to a customer. Often, they’ll consider processes like:

  1. Transportation
  2. Shipping rates and shipping orders
  3. Movement and storage of said product or service
  4. Managing all inventory

Supply chain managers are integral when it comes to procurement strategies., They’re the individuals who collaborate with almost every moving part including logistics, quality control and manufacturing.

Supply chain managers and coordinators need to be comfortable with identifying, dissecting and fixing issues as it aligns with increasing quality, maintaining health and safety protocols, minimising costs and increase productivity.

Simply put, there’s often a lot of nitty gritty work involved, and supply chain managers need to be able to analyse and keep track of inventory, performance and safety.

Some skills that a supply chain manager would posses include:

  • Creative problem-solving
  • Strategic and analytical thinking
  • Good attention to detail
  • Project managing
  • Professional relationship building

Supply chain managers often have the responsibility of creating a companies supply chain strategy, so previous experience in supply chain processes or a CIPS Level 4 Diploma in Procurement & Supply would be necessary.

4) Logistics Manager

A logistics manager, in some cases, is exactly what it says on the tin; it’s someone who manages the logistics of supply chain management. Working very closely with supply chain managers or co-ordinators, logistic managers are responsible for categorising, organising, reserving and overseeing the distribution of goods or a service.

Logistic managers will often use IT systems quite extensively to control the maintenance of stock levels, delivery times and streamlining operations. Managing resources will also come under the remit of a logistic manager, as they will ensure the right person – or tool – is in the right place at the right time.

Logistic managers and their skills are even sometimes utilised when signing new business, as they can often foresee logistical issues before they arise.

Some specific skills a logistics manager might have include:

  • A logical and systematic way of thinking
  • The ability to manage change
  • Strategic problem-solving
  • Co-ordination and control

Similar to a supply chain manager, logistics managers will often require substantial training and relevant industry qualification, such as a CIPS Level 3 Advanced Certificate in Procurement & Supply Operations.

5) Contract Manager

What could be one of the most crucial roles in Procurement & Supply, the contract manager is responsible for creating, implementing, reviewing and overseeing all contracts between the organisation and their suppliers.

Contract managers ensure the process of creation to implementation runs smoothly, and includes responsibilities such as:

  1. Managing and documenting contracts in line with legal requirements
  2. Finetuning and negotiating terms and conditions of contracts
  3. Ensuring contracts are risk assured and compliant
  4. Working closely with finance to ensure all procurement activity is properly accounted and budgeted for

Contract managers are vital when it comes to supplier relationship building and have the responsibility of ensuring all contracts are safe and legally binded. Contract management is commonly split into two stages, the pre-award stage and the post-award stage.

The pre-award stage includes the process of establishing contracts, supplier deliveries and contract work. Whereas the post-award stage is about maintaining supplier relationships after contracts have been signed and ensuring contracts are continually legally adhered to.

Contract managers hold a variety of skills, including:

  • Negotiation tactics
  • Managing projects
  • Attention to detail
  • Risk management
  • Conflict management
  • Contract awareness

To be a successful contract manager, previous experience in managing contracts is highly beneficial. However, an industry qualification such as CIPS Level 5 Advanced Diploma in Procurement and Supply covers areas such as managing contractual risk and advanced contract and financial management, making it a suitable option for a professional looking to gain this knowledge.

Is Procurement & Supply a good career?

If you enjoy variety in your role and are a people person who enjoys forming business relationships, a role in procurement and supply could kickstart the career you’ve been after.


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