Procurement managers, more commonly known as buying or purchasing managers, take the product mix roadmap from demand planners. These buyers then provide the organization with the right levels of product from the best possible vendors. Procurement is not, however, simply a matter of counting what is out of stock and placing an order. There is considerable legwork and research involved in not only evaluating vendors, but forecasting what and when to buy.
Procurement managers constantly attempt to locate the best vendors for the intended product mix. These executives lead a purchasing agent team. Procurement managers guide their teams to make buying decisions based on data concerning previous sales figures, deciding on the right stock levels in order to ensure the product sells through in a reasonable amount of time. The trick is finding the right levels to ensure excess inventory does not remain after an extended period, while simultaneously ensuring there are never undue shortages -- both scenarios that cost companies money.
Each vendor is likely to carry multiple product lines. These vendors have representatives who act as product emissaries to companies that might purchase their products. Secure the ideal mix of vendors while getting the best terms from those suppliers. Procurement managers and their agents must therefore be analytical, while possessing advanced negotiating skills. Experience in the worlds of sales and marketing reinforce the procurement manager's ability to handle both elements of this role.
Education and Certifications
A post-secondary education in business administration is a good way to gain entry into the logistics arena. Procurement managers, as they proceed though their careers, will want to gain the Certified Professional in Supply Management or Certified Purchasing Manager accreditation. Leadership and sales training are other ways to advance a purchasing manager's marketability.
Planning and Forecasting
Procurement managers must make educated estimations of when products must be replenished. Forecasting also involves working closely with other purchasing planners, anticipating trends and consumer demand. Purchasers of raw materials also forecast when the cost of raw goods such as corn will reach a low, locking in that price for the year. Procurement managers attend trade shows and seminars. They use what they find to determine which products might be considered the hot new item and to bring it to the consumer first.
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