Procurement managers are usually employed by medium to large companies. Procurement is the function of acquiring everything a business needs to complete functions, other than staff. There are five main areas of responsibility for a procurement manager: governance, purchasing, supplier management, functional design, and staff management and development. Internal promotion is a common route of progression to this position that requires the procurement manager to fully understand contemporary business practices, business strategy and contract law.
Governance is an important part of the job role. The procurement policy not only needs to reflect the business policy of the organisation but it must be designed to protect the organisation from claims of noncompliance or challenges from aggrieved suppliers. Coupled with this is the pressure for the procurement manager to ensure that the policies are designed to ensure that the best possible prices, quality and service are obtained. It is incumbent on the procurement manager to constantly review these processes for market opportunities to make cost reductions without compromising quality or improving processes to help increase productivity.
The procurement manager is responsible for the design and method of the day to purchasing activity of the organisation. Depending on the culture and size of the organisation, a procurement manager may choose to allow individual departments within the organisation to arrange their own procurement activity (decentralised purchasing) or to control all purchases for an organisation by having a strong central procurement team responsible for all procurement activity (centralised procurement).
The responsibility for the relationships with suppliers is that of the procurement manager. In order to ensure that there is a seamless continuation of supply, the procurement manager must work on relationship building strategies with suppliers. There are different models for supplier management that a procurement manager may adopt, often these strategies will be dictated by the commodity and its availability. If the item being bought is in short demand then a partnership approach will work; however, if there are many suppliers in the marketplace then a more competitive and aggressive style may be adopted. The strategy, however, is chosen by the procurement manager who ensures that it is pursued by the team.
A procurement manager will be responsible for direct supervision of the commodity buyers and indirectly for the purchasing agents and clerks. Typical people management tasks such as staff development, appraisals, daily issue of duties and work checking are undertaken by the procurement manager role. Procurement is often a sub function of the finance department, and as a result, the measurement of the effectiveness of the department is measured in financial terms. Procurement managers will set the department's objectives against speed of request to payment figures, and savings made, and will relay targets to the individuals they micro managed.
A good supply chain manager will train and mentor and assist staff in all of the functions they are responsible for (procurement, inventory and warehousing). Procurement is a complicated profession involving many disciplines and a procurement manger must be aware of this to have attained that position. Offering guidance and support to staff is an essential requisite to ensure the development and ongoing improvement of the procurement profession.
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