What Does a Procurement Manager Do? + How to Become One


Wondering what a procurement manager does in their day-to-day work? Here’s everything you need to know, including tips for entering this field.

Written by
Vendr Team
Published on
April 9, 2024
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Procurement managers play a crucial role in understanding organizational needs and managing purchasing and supply chain processes while staying within budget. At the end of the day, their job is to ensure that the business acquires the necessary goods and services for operations at the best possible price.

Additionally, procurement managers must have strong people skills and an adaptive nature that allows them to maintain strong, positive relationships with suppliers and internal stakeholders. 

To help you better understand the role of a procurement manager and how to become one, this guide will cover: 

  • Understanding the role of a procurement manager.
  • How to become a procurement manager.
  • Procurement manager salary insights.
  • Navigating the procurement manager job market,
  • Procurement manager FAQs.

Understanding the role of a procurement manager 

A procurement manager is responsible for overseeing and managing purchasing and supply chain processes within an organization to maintain smooth and efficient operations. Their responsibilities include: 

  • Developing and implementing procurement strategies to facilitate efficient, cost-effective acquisition of the goods and services necessary for the business to operate.
  • Negotiating contracts with suppliers to acquire goods and services at the best possible prices and terms. 
  • Managing supplier relationships to guarantee that quality and delivery requirements are met. 
  • Monitoring and managing inventory levels to ensure sufficient on-hand supplies for operations. 
  • Identifying and implementing cost-saving opportunities without sacrificing product quality. 

Procurement managers often work closely alongside other members of the procurement team, such as procurement specialists and officers.

Key responsibilities and duties

While each procurement manager has different day-to-day tasks depending on their organization's size and industry, some commonly shared responsibilities include: 

  • Developing procurement strategies that align with business goals and objectives. 
  • Identifying and vetting potential suppliers based on factors such as price and quality. 
  • Negotiating contract terms to secure ideal pricing, payment terms, and more. 
  • Managing the entire procurement process, from requesting quotes to placing orders and receiving deliveries. 


The importance of strategic sourcing

Strategic sourcing is one of the most important aspects of an organization's procurement manager’s role. It entails identifying, selecting, and forming relationships with suppliers that can provide the best products and services at the ideal price. 

A top-notch procurement manager helps to reduce costs, improve quality, and enhance overall efficiency across the organization. 

How to become a procurement manager 

The typical path to becoming an organization’s procurement manager requires a combination of education, skill set, and experience. Some of the essential qualifications for a successful procurement manager include: 

Educational requirements

To become a procurement manager, prospective candidates should hold, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree in business, supply chain management, or another related field, as it’s required for most entry-level positions. Exceptions exist, of course, but aren’t the norm. You’ll likely need a college degree to become a procurement manager. 

Depending on the organization, prospective candidates with a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) or a comparable related field may also be eligible for more senior and/or higher-paying managerial positions. 

Certifications and further education 

While not always required, individuals interested in a career in procurement management may advance their careers and improve their earning potential with certifications such as:

  • Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM): This is a globally recognized professional credential offered by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). The exam is $495 for ISM members and $795 for non-members. 
  • Chartered Procurement Manager (CPM): This certification from the American Association of Procurement, Supply Chain, and Tourism Management (AAPSCM) is a US-specific certification of a procurement manager's knowledge and skills. The exam is $400. 
  • Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM): This certification from the Association for Supply Chain Management (APICS) proves that a professional can work across all functions of the supply chain. To become certified, a candidate must pass two exams within three years. Each exam is $495 for members and $690 for non-members. 

Essential skills and experiences

A mixture of technical, negotiation, and relationship management skills are necessary attributes for a procurement manager. Some of the essential skills and experiences for a successful career in procurement management include: 

  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills. 
  • Top-notch written and verbal communication skills, both virtually and in person. 
  • Experience managing supplier contracts and ongoing relationships. 
  • Experience managing inventory and stock levels. 
  • Project management and change management skills. 
  • Ability to communicate and collaborate with stakeholders across departments. 

Procurement manager salary insights 

The average salary for a procurement manager varies widely depending on factors including industry, location, and a candidate’s amount of experience. According to Indeed, the average salary for a procurement manager in the US is $92,245. Salaries can range from $60,000 for entry-level positions to $200,000 for executive-level roles. 

Career growth

As procurement managers gain experience in their industry and develop their skill set, they’re likely to have opportunities to advance to more senior positions within the procurement and supply chain management field. Potential career advancement opportunities include:

  • Supply chain manager: This person is responsible for overseeing the supply chain process from the state of raw materials throughout development until finished products are delivered.
  • Procurement director: An organization's procurement director is responsible for managing a team of procurement professionals and overseeing the entire procurement process. 
  • Chief procurement officer: This high-ranking executive position involves working closely with other senior executives to align procurement initiatives with critical business objectives. 

Future outlook

Like most business processes, the field of procurement management is constantly evolving as new technologies and trends emerge. Potential trends that will likely influence the future of procurement management include:

  • AI and machine learning: Organizations are increasingly relying on AI and machine learning to streamline workflows. This will help automate repetitive tasks and improve efficiency so that procurement managers can focus on higher-value work. 
  • Sustainability: In the modern era, the public demands a higher degree of sustainability and environmental responsibility. Businesses face mounting pressure from consumers and governments alike to prioritize environmentally friendly and socially responsible sourcing practices. 
  • Data analytics and business intelligence tools: These tools help procurement managers and organizations in general make more informed, strategic decisions. 


Navigating the procurement manager job market 

The job market for procurement manager positions is highly competitive. To succeed in this environment, prospective procurement managers should focus on developing their skill set, networking with established industry professionals, and gaining relevant experience. 

Job descriptions and expectations

To land a job as a procurement manager, workers should familiarize themselves with common job requirements and expectations for the role, including: 

  • Developing, implementing, and maintaining procurement strategies, policies, and procedures.
  • Managing supplier relationships and evaluating performance to ensure business requirements are met. 
  • Monitoring inventory levels and optimizing inventory management processes. 
  • Negotiating favorable terms and conditions with suppliers to achieve cost savings while mitigating risks. 
  • Evaluating supplier proposals and selecting based on quality, cost, and delivery considerations that align with company goals.  
  • Fostering a culture of accountability and improvement within direct-report procurement staff. 

Tips for aspiring procurement managers

To increase your chances of success at landing a procurement manager role, consider the following tips: 

  • Gain relevant experience: There’s no substitute for experience. Prospective procurement managers should do what they can to gain experience in procurement, supply chain management, or a closely related field. This could entail internships, volunteer work, or entry-level positions. 
  • Develop a strong skill set: Those hoping to land a position in procurement (or get promoted) should cultivate a strong skill set comprising a combination of technical, negotiation, and relationship management skills. 
  • Obtain certifications: Given the level of competition for procurement manager roles, obtaining additional certifications and education can elevate your application to the top of the hierarchy of potential candidates while also increasing earning potential. 
  • Network, network, network: Networking with peers in procurement management and supply chain management allows you to learn about potential employment opportunities and make connections that may prove valuable. 
  • Stay informed of industry trends: In a constantly evolving field, it’s vital to stay up to date on new technologies and trends that may impact procurement managers. 

Procurement manager FAQs 

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions from those considering a role in procurement management. 

Can procurement managers work in any industry?

Yes, procurement managers can work in a vast range of industries, including technology, manufacturing, healthcare, retail, and in any organization that requires external goods and services to function as a successful business entity. 

What are the biggest challenges facing procurement managers today?

The biggest challenges facing procurement managers today are managing disruptions to the supply chain, fielding and navigating global trade issues, and remaining up-to-date and informed of rapidly evolving technologies and applicable trends. 

Do procurement managers work remotely?

Increasingly, procurement managers are able to manage relationships with suppliers and oversee inventory management from any location. That said, remote work versus on-site expectations for procurement managers depend on the exact company and its culture.

Is AI a threat to procurement manager jobs? 

It’s unlikely that AI can replace all the efforts and skill sets of procurement professionals, though its usage can help streamline and automate certain tasks to improve efficiency. For example, AI can’t effectively manage complex interpersonal relationships between suppliers and a business — but AI tools can augment procurement managers' skills and allow them to focus on more strategic tasks.


Vendr Team
Vendr's team of SaaS and negotiation experts provide their curated insights into the latest trends in software, tool capabilities, and modern procurement strategies.

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