Studies & Degrees in Purchasing and Supply

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In the present commercially-driven economy, the purchasing and supply management profession is significantly growing and expanding its influence. This has led to many individuals, looking for a top-job, recognizing this fast-growing career as a smart professional option. Good purchasers have always had good opportunities, but since the market has swung from being supplier controlled to being purchase led, the demand for talented purchasing and supply professions is growing faster than the available quality talent.

Since this is a relatively new professional field, many still enter a career in purchasing and supply right after completing school education.  However, this would obviously mean starting at a junior or entry level and slowly climbing the ropes by learning on the job. A career in purchasing and supply does not necessarily require any specific subjects as prerequisites, but knowledge of business studies and economics is usually helpful. Some individuals do take some Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) certificate courses, but these are usually short and very specific to certain aspects of the profession. However, they may prove to be a good entry point for school leavers. CIPS is a global organization serving the procurement and supply profession and professionals.

Courses in Purchasing and Supply

Although there are many ways to get into a career in purchasing and supply, a lot of people these days are going for degree education in the field to fast-track their career. Employers are usually looking for talented graduates with either a business degree or a specialized purchasing and supply degree. Thos who have degree qualifications in purchasing and supply will find that their career moves along faster on the y-axis, promotions come by often, and employment is easier to find. Others, with general business degrees, might also find that their employers often encourage them to earn graduate-diplomas in purchasing and supply, which is equivalent to degree qualifications.

There are many universities and colleges that offer CIPS accredited Bachelor’s, as well as Master’s degrees in purchasing and supply management. Completing such a degree and having gained three years of work experience, individuals become eligible to become full members of CIPS (known as MCIPS).

In addition, one can also gain education in purchasing and supply by means of diploma and postgraduate diploma courses  that train students in negotiation, supply chain management, customer service, logistics, purchasing strategies, quantitative methods, store management, stock control, purchasing and supply law and operations chain management.
Core Skills Required for a Career in Purchasing and Supply
  • Interpersonal skills: Building and managing good a rapport with internal customers as well as external suppliers is crucial in this profession. A good purchasing and supply professional will have the ability to listen, communicate, persuade and network.
  • Negotiation Skills: Negotiating is a useful (if not essential) skill to have for success in this profession. The ability to get the right price, without offending or spoiling relationships with customers or suppliers is often part of the job.
  • Technology savvy: Being tech- savvy and utilizing gadgets and services for networking with customers and suppliers is also important. This complements networking skills.
Career Options

One of the main reasons for many being attracted towards a career in purchasing and supply- is the wide variety of it offers in terms of the sectors and roles one can choose from. Almost all sectors, from finance to manufacturing and entertainment to administrative, have a purchase and supply chain element. Hence they are always looking for talented professionals to run the department efficiently. This means that a purchasing professional could be involved in the purchase of anything from manufacturing components to fashion store merchandise, to helicopters and Television ad-space.