Procurement and supply chain management covers a range of functions relating to a company’s purchasing and supplier policies. It is the function’s job to ensure an organisation is compliant, sustainable and spending efficiently.
In this article, we will explore the skills needed for a career in procurement and supply chain management, as well as some of the roles available.
What areas are covered by procurement and supply chain management?
Procurement and supply chain management are part of a broad function occupied with acquiring the necessary services and products to ensure the smooth running of a company’s product production and delivery.
The two careers are becoming more aligned, however, with one role often covering the delivery of both aspects, from purchasing to manufacturing and distribution. Here are some of the roles that a career in procurement and supply chain management could entail.
Buying products or services
Purchasing is a crucial component of any procurement role – the task of buying products or services and ensuring that suppliers comply with legal and company policies.
Managing procurement processes
Procurement may involve the management of internal processes, such as adding new suppliers and ensuring they are compliant with relevant governance procedures and requirements.
A vital aspect of a role within procurement and supply chain management is supplier relations. It’s important to ensure suppliers are happy while delivering on their promises and prices.
Understand business goals and objectives
Naturally, as a function with its hands around the purse strings, procurement professionals need to have good business acumen to understand the main goals and objectives of their organisations and how their role fits into that.
Policy management is essential for procurement professionals as they need to ensure that their policies are being implemented and adhered to, as well as being kept up to date as business priorities and legislation change.
Sustainability and ethics
Ensuring supply chains are sustainable and ethical is essential to ensure an organisation doesn’t break the law and maintains a positive image.
Some supply chain management roles may be directly involved in the manufacturing of products. A supply chain management professional must be aware of the products being sold, ensuring quality, quantity and price.
Supply chain management professionals may also be involved in the merchandising of a product, such as the packaging, design and product description. Working closely with marketing teams, supply chain management professionals will work on a go-to-market plan to ensure the success of their product.
Operations and logistics
Operations and logistics are important for supply chain management professionals who must ensure the efficient transportation of goods, especially in a global market, and project-manage the systems, structures and processes to plan and execute the flow of goods and services from supplier to customer.
Quality assurance is a vital role for procurement and supply chain management professionals as, in addition to ensuring the quality of a product or service, it also helps to reduce costs, mitigate risks, and maintain regulatory compliance.
Ensuring efficient warehousing helps to streamline operations, reduce overall costs and deliver a better customer experience.
Forecasting is an essential skill for a career in procurement and supply chain management as it helps businesses optimise their performance and increase overall efficiency. Not only does this drive down overall costs, but it also offers a better customer experience.
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What roles are available in procurement and supply chain management?
Buyer/ purchasing jobs
Buyers or purchasing professionals are responsible for researching, evaluating and buying products for companies to either resell to customers or use in their everyday operations.
If you want to make decisions on what products an organisation sells or uses, then this might be the right role for you.
Roles start at Assistant/ Junior Buyer or Purchasing Assistant level and progress through to Senior Buyer or Purchasing Manager and up to Head of Procurement or Purchasing Director.
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Procurement covers a broad spectrum of tasks and responsibilities, as you can see above. Procurement roles are more generalist, covering many aspects of the function, from selecting vendors to negotiating contracts and purchasing products. It also has quite a strategic impact on the business and its goals.
Jobs start at Procurement Assistant and progress into Procurement Manager and Procurement Director positions. It’s also a great route into a Chief Procurement Officer or CEO role.
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Supply chain management jobs
A supply chain management role involves the end-to-end delivery of a product or service. This includes warehouse management, purchasing materials, logistics and sourcing suppliers.
The role of a supply chain management professional is varied and differs across sectors and industries.
As such, supply chain management jobs can start as Logistics Administrator, Supply Chain Assistant or Coordinator, Stock Administrator or Planning Assistant. They move on to Supply Chain Manager, Supply Chain Consultant, Supply Chain Planner and Logistics Manager. Leadership roles include Supply Chain Director and Head of Supply Chain.
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Find your next procurement and supply chain management job
If you are looking for the next step in your career, make sure you search for vacancies with CIPS Procurement and Supply Jobs.
We are the official job board for CIPS. Our long-standing reputation within the profession as a trusted source of procurement and supply management knowledge, insights and opinions makes us the top specialist job board for procurement and supply.
We can place you in the best position to find your next job.
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