Category Manager

Category Manager jobs

The category manager will be responsible for overseeing the procurement of his or her category of goods. As well as maintaining the smooth running of the process, the manager will also need to be able to identify savings and efficiencies in the system, both from actual trading figures and from forecasts, the commission of which the manager will be in charge of, usually with the help of a team of analysts.

The manager could well have a good deal of independence when it comes to dealing with his or her category. Senior management will have come up with targets and it will be down to the individual managers to use their procurement skills and knowledge of the sector to meet those targets without impacting on the efficient running of the company’s operations.

Since procurement is an activity that takes place between, rather than within, companies, the procurement manager will also need to form excellent relationships with the suppliers. He or she must keep constant lines of communication open with suppliers to inform them of expected fluctuations in demand and to listen to any concerns they have that demands cannot be met, whether or not it is their fault. By knowing the suppliers’ businesses well (which will often require at least some contact with their suppliers), more precise plans can be made and anticipated shortfalls of supply can be mitigated by seeking secondary suppliers. A great deal of trust and understanding needs to exist between the two parties if such openness is to succeed, although good quality contracting skills will also help matters.

The skills required

Interpersonal skills are the mainstay of any management role, but procurement category managers have a particularly important need, as they will be dealing not only with people from their own company, but also those from the suppliers. Although both companies’ fortunes may well be bound by each other’s success, being able to engender trust and communication is a key trait to possess. Negotiation skills will also be required.

Many employers will request that applicants are full members of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, the recognised professional body overseeing procurement. Some will assist successful applicants with becoming full members.

Being full up to speed with procurement software will be a requirement, but aptitude with general office solutions will be essential for reporting and communication to all parties, internal and external.

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