How do I Become the Head of Procurement?

Carol Francois

The path to become the head of procurement typically involves at least 10 years of experience working in this field. Procurement is also known as purchasing. This term is used to describe all the activity related to the acquisition of goods or services by a business or organization. Every organization has purchasing activity that must be completed for the business to function.

A head of procurement must have years of experience managing many phases of projects and procurement.
A head of procurement must have years of experience managing many phases of projects and procurement.

The size of the procurement department is directly related to the size of the organization and the industry. For example, a manufacturing firm will have a larger purchasing department than a consulting service firm. Organizations with enough purchasing work for at least three full-time purchasing staff will need to have a department head.

In order to become the head of procurement, candidates need to obtain a combination of education and work experience. People who enjoy working with others, are detail-oriented, and have excellent interpersonal skills can find success in this job. Many of the skills required to become the head of procurement are soft skills. Communication, leadership, strategic planning, and negotiation skills are all essential in this role.

Most procurement department staff members have a university degree or diploma in business administration, management, or a related field. In addition, many procurement professionals complete additional courses to obtain professional certification in procurement. There is a range of post-graduate certificates in procurement available, covering various aspects of this industry.

Working experience in the field of procurement typically begins with a position as a buyer. A buyer is primarily responsible for issuing purchase orders to approved suppliers, based on requests from departments. After three to five years, many people apply for a position as a procurement officer.

The primary responsibility of a procurement officer is to manage bidding, tendering, and quotation receipt processes. Working in this role for at least seven years provides a great breadth and depth of experience. Procurement is a complex field, with many legal ramifications that need to be considered. It takes time to understand the implications of procurement policies and how the process used can either create or resolve disputes.

A procurement manager or senior procurement officer is the next position in the hierarchy of a purchasing organization. He or she often engages in negotiations with suppliers, defines business analysis requirements and standards for the organization, and reviews purchasing analysis reports. Effective management of the procurement process is essential for cost management and is often a cornerstone in the financial management plan for the firm.

Experience in all these positions is often required to become the head of procurement. As the leader of the department, he or she is responsible for setting policy, responding to legal challenges, and resolving ethical questions. This position is typically high profile and well compensated.

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