Purchasing Managers

  | James Innes

A Career as a Purchasing Manager


Purchasing Managers are responsible for the procurement of goods or services within a wide variety of organisations.  They are proficient in the management of relationships with suppliers and for the negotiation of contracts which are both cost effective and of the required quality standard.  To ensure that they receive the best possible deal, Purchasing Managers often have to “shop around” which requires them to have an extensive network of contacts at their disposal.

Purchasing Managers must have an excellent understanding of the requirements of their business while being aware of the budgetary constraints which must be adhered to.  Larger organisations have a dedicated purchasing department headed up by the Purchasing Manager, who may be accountable for the activities of other members of the team.  As they are required to secure the most cost-effective deals on behalf of the company, a Purchasing Manager should demonstrate excellent communication and negotiation skills and the ability to analyse figures and statistics.

Entry requirements

It is usual to progress to the role of Purchasing Manager from a more junior role within the organisation once knowledge of the business and the industry have been demonstrated.  However, there are degree courses available including an MSc in Purchasing and Supply Chain Management, which can facilitate more rapid career development within the industry.  In general, employers will require a good standard of secondary education along with BTEC, HNC or HND qualifications if possible although these are by no means essential.

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) offers a range of qualifications including the Certificate in Purchasing and Supply, the Advanced Certificate in Purchasing and Supply, and the Graduate Diploma.  Upon completion of the latter qualification, it is then possible to achieve membership status.  There are NVQs available in Procurement and Supply Chain Management up to Level IV as well as the opportunity to study for a European-recognised Purchasing and Supply Management qualification.

Progression opportunities

The nature of the role means that opportunities are available in various industry sectors including manufacturing, commerce and the public sector.  Depending on the size of the business, a Purchasing Manager may work autonomously or be in charge of a large department.  Progression within the industry is possible to a departmental head position or to director level.  Salary is relatively good and can increase based upon experience and competence.

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