Thursday 12 March 2015

Procurement and Professional Career

Authored by Junaid Shamshad

A job for life is something that many people find quite scary, especially in a modern world that is characterized by freedom of movement and job flexibility. But can a career in purchasing really be a job for life?

Purchasing is also a place where your network, both internally and externally, makes a big difference in your ability to succeed. I’m always excited when I see team members moving to other roles in other functions because I know that what they've learned in purchasing will stay with them for the rest of their careers and make them a great advocate of the function. Beyond being a great place for people to learn and develop, the success of the function is also making it more of a draw to people and means that it is much stickier in terms of keeping them in.

That does, however, put pressure on us as purchasing leaders to better explain the important role of the function, both in our companies and externally. We need to highlight the different career paths people can take within purchasing and how that will help them develop. It ultimately comes down to us to make the function an exciting place to be doing business and developing the skills necessary to make a great career. Learning to be good with financial numbers, negotiating effectively, influencing people and working closely with engineering and manufacturing are all essential in purchasing and are easily transferable into that are sought after elsewhere in the business. It is also a place where people can evolve. You can rotate into and manage different commodities, build up general management skills and also get closer to engineering projects and product development.

After having held so many different positions since, I would definitely say that purchasing can be a job for life. Purchasing offers diversity in day-to-day activities where you can get involved with commodity negotiations, new transformation projects, cost-out engineering, direct spend, indirect spend, as well as posing opportunities to work abroad. It combines that with being a function that touches almost every area of the business, making it both an exciting area of work and one that is central to success.