CHOOSING A CAREER / AUG. 17, 2014
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How to Become a Purchasing Manager

It’s the goal of all companies to acquire the best merchandise at the lowest potential purchase cost. To achieve this, they hire purchasing managers who typically help in the purchasing of goods and services. The position of a purchasing manager requires individuals who have excellent negotiating and networking skills and are good at dealing with figures.

What Do Purchasing Managers Do?

Goods and services bought by purchasing managers depend on the organization they work for. Their daily tasks include but are not limited to:

  •          Making a choice on the required equipment, goods and services
  •          Observing and predicting stock levels
  •          Evaluating tenders from prospective suppliers
  •          Monitoring market trends
  •          Processing invoices and payments
  •          Ensuring timely delivery on supplies
  •          Agreeing on contracts and negotiating prices on behalf of the company
  •          Maintaining and reviewing records of purchased items, deliveries and product performance.
  •          Attending trade shows, meetings, and conferences to be updated on emergent industry trends

Salary

Purchasing managers take home an annual median salary of $90,869. Below is the breakdown of purchasing managers’ earnings by state.

Alabama

$77,148

Colorado

$91,842

Alaska

$102,592

Illinois

$95,558

District of Columbia

$100,320

Indiana

$83,663

West Virginia

$79,774

 

Skills

The position of a purchasing manager requires you to have the following skills:

  •          Excellent communication skills
  •          Mathematical aptitude and ability to deal with budgets and figures
  •          Excellent analytical and judgment ability
  •          Attention to detail
  •          Excellent business sense
  •          Ability to lead others and work in a team
  •          Be able to work under pressure to meet deadlines
  •          Ability to use computer software to produce invoices
  •          Critical thinking ability to be able to make sound decisions

Qualifications

There is no set route into the position of a purchasing manager. However, one can begin as an assistant or administrator in an organization’s purchasing department. You can also gain purchasing experience by taking professional qualifications in various institutions such as the CIPS. Some employers might prefer candidates who have achieved qualifications in particular specialties such as:

  •          Fashion retail
  •          Engineering
  •          Construction
  •          Quantity survey

Alternatively, you may enter a company’s management training system to gain insight on purchasing management. This might require you to acquire a foundation degree, or degree in logistics, supply chain management or business studies. Some employers are also likely to accept other subjects since they will offer you on-the-job training.  Those who have little or no experience in the purchasing field can pursue Level 2 Certificate plus Level 3 Advanced Certificate in Procurement.

Several organizations require candidates to have accredited credentials for purchasing managers. These certifications are inclusive of written or oral exams as well as work experience and education requirements. These credentials cover a wide array of duties carried out by purchasing managers. The CPSM credential requires applicants who have earned a bachelor’s degree plus 3 years of experience in supply management or 5 years of supply management experience for those who don’t have a bachelor’s degree. With more experience and advanced learning, purchasing managers’ responsibilities might overlap with a variety of management roles such as planning, logistics, production and marketing.

Career Prospects

According to BLS, job openings for purchasing managers are projected to increase 4% between 2012 and 2022. This growth also varies across various industries. For instance, growth is estimated to be 7% in the retail section since works have to purchase goods and services for business undertakings and resale to buyers.

As a trained purchasing manager, you are open to job opportunities in a wide variety of industries.  Jobs are advertised regularly in the national and local press, specialist recruitment agencies and trade publications for specific industries.

If you have an outstanding ability to analyze data and a good business sense, this job could be your best choice.

 

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