Learn About Being a Procurement Manager

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published December 10, 2019

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

What does a procurement manager do?

A procurement manager oversees and directs the procurement of all the goods and services a company needs. Such items vary from company to company and could range from computer parts to raw materials to personnel. A procurement manager must also ensure that the goods and services they acquire fall within budget guidelines. To achieve this, procurement managers need to evaluate suppliers and have the necessary negotiation skills to obtain the best possible prices. 

Procurement managers spend a considerable part of their time assisting procurement staff and directing procurement processes. This may involve coordinating the activities of purchasing agents or buyers and ensuring that different departments adhere to procurement policies and procedures. Apart from these responsibilities, a procurement manager also has to:

  • Hire, train and supervise new procurement staff

  • Develop and implement a company’s procurement policies and procedures

  • Negotiate and create supplier contracts 

  • Monitor suppliers to ensure that they honor contract terms and conditions

  • Discuss defective or low-quality goods with suppliers and negotiate corrective action

  • Attend industry gatherings like trade shows and conferences to make new supplier contacts and remain informed of the latest developments

  • Work with the accounting department to ensure that the company pays suppliers 

Average salary

  • Common salary in the U.S.: $83,586 per year

  • Some salaries range from $25,000 to $176,000 per year.

Procurement management requirements

A blend of education, training, certifications and skills will help you find a procurement manager position.

Education

Because procurement managers come from various backgrounds, they hold bachelor’s degrees in different disciplines. These could include procurement management, supply chain management, business, economics and logistics. Some candidates also earn a Master’s Degree in Procurement Management.

Training

As this is a managerial position, most employers will require that candidates have about five years of experience in procurement. However, candidates who feel they could benefit from more training could enroll in courses in procurement management. The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, for instance, offers short courses in either a classroom setting or through long-distance learning.

Certifications

There is a wide range of certifications available to these professionals. Whether certification is a requirement will depend on the employer. Even if it is not a requirement, professional certification will distinguish you from competitors. Available certifications include:

Certified Purchasing Professional certification

Although CPP certification is the American Purchasing Society’s entry-level qualification, they only accept candidates with a minimum of two years of experience in purchasing. Part of the evaluation process involves the society contacting an applicant’s coworkers and suppliers for feedback on the candidate’s professional conduct.

This process allows the association to gauge the candidate’s maturity, ethics and communication skills. After passing this step, a candidate has to complete a three-week online course that concludes with the Preparation for Certified Purchasing Professional Exam. Nonmembers of the society have to renew this qualification every two years, whereas members only need to do so every five years.

Certified Professional Purchasing Manager certification

This is an American Purchasing Society qualification specifically geared for managerial staff. Applicants need to have obtained their CPP certification before they can apply for the CPPM certification. To obtain this qualification, you need to take a three-week online course, “Preparation for the Certified Professional Purchasing Manager Exam,” and pass the test. As is the case with CPP certification, candidates need to update this qualification either every two or five years, depending on membership status.

Professional Diploma in Procurement and Supply

The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply offers multiple procurement qualifications. A Professional Diploma in Procurement and Supply is their most advanced qualification and is aimed at senior procurement professionals. To qualify for this qualification, you need to have obtained an Advanced Diploma in Procurement and Supply. The three core units of this program are Leadership in Procurement & Supply, Corporate & Business Strategy and Strategic Supply Chain Management. The assessment consists of a three-hour written exam.

Skills

Procurement managers need to interact and form relationships with suppliers to negotiate the most attractive prices for their organizations. They also need to work closely with procurement staff, senior management and accounting staff, as well as coordinate procurement processes between relevant parties. For these reasons, a procurement manager needs to have strong interpersonal and communication skills. However, the job of a procurement manager requires other skills too, including:

  • Financial skills: A procurement manager should always be aware of procurement costs and departmental budgets. These professionals should be adept at managing budgets and interpreting financial statements.

  • Analytical skills: The job of a procurement manager entails evaluating suppliers according to various factors, including price, quality, delivery and service. 

  • Leadership skills: These professionals must be able to direct team members to complete procurement processes effectively.

  • Negotiating skills: Purchasing managers need to have the ability to acquire the best prices from suppliers. To do so, they should know about the products in question, as well as market trends in general.

Work environment

A procurement manager usually occupies a full-time position and works a 40-hour week. Apart from visiting suppliers and attending trade shows and conferences, the job is mostly office-bound. Procurement managers work in a variety of business sectors and industries. However, procurement managers are most likely to find employment in these sectors and industries:

  • Management of companies and corporate enterprises 

  • Federal executive branches

  • Merchant wholesalers

  • Aerospace parts manufacturing

  • Local governmental departments

How to become a procurement manager

These professionals sometimes come from very different professional backgrounds, including engineering, finance, logistics and economics. If you are a student who wishes to pursue this career, these are a few steps you could consider:

1. Obtain a bachelor’s degree

Employers are increasingly expecting a bachelor’s degree as an entry-level requirement for most jobs. Although a bachelor’s degree is not a fixed requirement for a position in procurement currently, it will likely count in your favor when competing against other candidates for a position.

2. Work your way up

To pursue this position, you will likely need a few years of experience in procurement before employers will consider your application. To gain as much experience in the field as possible, you could opt for a junior procurement position, such as a procurement officer or a buyer.

3. Find a mentor

One of the best ways to gain knowledge in a field is by having a mentor. If possible, ask somebody who has a more senior position to you if they will be willing to coach you on the job. In return for sharing their knowledge and expertise, you could offer to do workplace tasks for your mentor.

4. Get certified

Professional certification is a great way to distinguish yourself from professional competitors. There are many different kinds of certifications available in the field of procurement, such as a Certificated Supply Chain Professional qualification or a Certified Purchasing Professional qualification.

5. Attend industry events

If you want to advance your career in procurement, you should stay up to date with the latest trends and widen your professional network by attending trade shows, meetings and conferences.

Procurement manager job description example

We are looking for an experienced procurement manager to head our procurement department. Duties will include directing and assessing procurement staff, interviewing vendors, negotiating attractive agreements and managing supplier contracts. We will also expect this individual to aid with the hiring and training of new purchasing staff. We require candidates to have a minimum of three years of experience in procurement management, as well as a bachelor’s degree in a related field. 

Related careers

  • Logistics manager

  • Buyer

  • Operations manager

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