Day in the life of a procurement manager Blog Feature

Learn About a Day in the Life of a Procurement Manager

Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of a procurement manager looks like? It’s a role that can feel mysterious and confusing if you’re not living it yourself, but today we’re lifting the lid on what life as a procurement lead looks like and what it involves.

In this in-depth guide, we’ll cover what a procurement manager is, what their daily operations involve, their skills and techniques, and how you can build a successful career in the procurement industry. 💼

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What is a Procurement Manager?

A procurement manager’s role is to oversee supply chain management and how the company buys (or procures) materials, services, or supplies. Their job involves finding the right suppliers, negotiating costs on contracts or purchasing orders, and sourcing the best service or materials for the best value.

Although we’ll be talking about procurement managers in this article, you might also hear the role described as a purchasing manager or procurement specialist. The specific title will depend on the company policies, but the role is the same—to efficiently source supplies for the organization.

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Typical Day of a Procurement Manager

Let’s get straight into what a procurement manager actually does day-to-day. These tasks are often mentioned in job descriptions but only in a vague way, so here’s a closer look at what’s involved so you can decide whether it’s the right role for you.

Working on purchase agreements

Much of a procurement manager’s role involves sourcing a great deal for the company. This includes working on purchase agreements—contracts where you agree to buy a certain amount of a product or service in exchange for a discount. 🤝

Purchase agreement and contract management takes time, which means many managers spend a portion of every day on negotiation, reviewing contracts, and finalizing agreements, However, these tasks can be done on a weekly or monthly basis.

Once agreed upon, these deals secure a discounted rate on services or supplies over time—making it easier for everyone to forecast costs and maintain budgets.

ClickUp Sales and Purchase Agreement
Use the ClickUp Sales and Purchase Agreement to build your own contract from scratch

Ensuring compliance

As a procurement manager you need a good understanding of process and procedure to make sure you’re staying compliant. Part of the role involves creating and adhering to procurement policies and procedures, managing risks, and running audits to ensure compliance. ⚖️

Sticking to your own internal procurement policies is essential, as doing otherwise leaves you open to challenge from would-be suppliers or accusations of favoritism or bribery. As well as maintaining your own policies, you need to check that your suppliers have adequate policies in place—especially if you’re the beneficiary of any funding or government grant that requires you to do so.

ClickUp Compliance Project Plan Template
Use this ClickUp template for planning and managing compliance, including requirements evaluation, progress measurement, and corrective action

Evaluating suppliers

Before you can sign a purchasing agreement with a supplier, you first need to find the right one. A procurement specialist’s role includes scouting out potential suppliers, building a list, and then evaluating them to find the best fit.

Unless you’re in a small organization, this task will involve other members of the team and may need to be elevated to the board level for a final decision. The purchasing team will work together to find suppliers, check credentials, source quotes with request for quotation templates, and use a framework or evaluation method to score them against each other or across the supply chain.

Vendor Master List Template that keeps track of all current and potential vendors and suppliers linked to a company
Keep track of all your current and potential vendors and suppliers using the ClickUp Vendor Master List Template

Managing and coordinating staff

If you’re in the role of purchasing or procurement manager, you’ll often sit alongside a procurement team that can support you in your efforts to get the best deal for your organization. A manager’s role involves coordinating staff and empowering them to work at their best. 🎉

In a larger organization, you may manage a range of entry-level support roles and procurement officers. Depending on your team structure, your role may be to assign tasks, oversee training, offer support, and act as a leader to guide your team toward success.

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Maintaining updated data

The world of purchasing and procurement involves a lot of data. There’s everything from your vendor list to the exact pricing per unit on every material or supply you could ever want to buy. 📝

If you’re working solo or as part of a small team, part of your day-to-day activities will involve maintaining this data and making sure it’s up-to-date and accurate. In a larger team, a procurement officer or assistant may take on this role instead.

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Key Skills for a Successful Procurement Manager

Now that we’re familiar with some of a procurement manager’s daily or weekly tasks, let’s take a closer look at the skills and knowledge you need to be successful.

Negotiation skills

Excellent procurement professionals are brilliant negotiators. It’s a skill that you’ll rely on repeatedly to score favorable discounts and make purchasing agreements with your most in-demand suppliers.

If this isn’t currently one of your strongest areas, take a class in negotiation skills or try and pick up some work experience in an environment that uses these skills heavily, like in sales. To make it in the procurement industry you need to be able to articulate your point, negotiate, and get a better deal than what you can find elsewhere—so this should be at the top of your skills list. 💡

Analytical skills

Procurement managers make a lot of decisions, which means you need to know how to analyze data to make the best-informed decision that you can at that moment.

Purchasing leaders know how to interpret data, what to do with it, and how to use it to inform their choices. They can use the data they have, know where to ask for insights they don’t have, and combine all their knowledge to choose the right supplier. ✅

Supplier relationship management skills

It might sound like procurement is all about data and supplies, but it actually involves a lot of relationship management and communication skills. If you can’t build strong connections, you’re unlikely to forge long-term partnerships with others.

Would-be procurement managers need to focus on communication, listening, and people skills if they want to be successful in the industry. You need to know how to get to know people, understand their wants and needs, and be able to communicate effectively at all points of the procurement process. 💬

Inventory control skills

You can’t know what you need to place an order for if you’re not sure what your stock levels look like. For this reason, strong inventory control skills are a must-have in the procurement industry.

Good procurement managers know what their stock levels and inventory looks like at all times. You’re thinking ahead, ordering with enough lead time that you can maintain supply, and adapting to any changes should you take on a new project or contract. 📋

ERP knowledge

Luckily, you’re not expected to know by heart whether you’re running low on a certain supply or need to increase supply in a specific area. There are enterprise resource planning (ERP) management tools for that.

How many and which resources you need to manage depends on your role within the procurement team. At the basic level, you should know how to manage inventory and schedule your team’s availability, but you might also be expected to handle budgets or contractors too. 📊

Economic understanding

While you’re focused on securing the best deals on supplies and contracts for your company, you can’t ignore the wider economic picture.

Procurement managers should know their company’s financial details and growth plans inside and out but also be aware of what’s happening in the world around them. Factors like recessions, political troubles, and supply chain challenges can all factor into how easy it is to obtain supplies and at what cost—so it’s worth paying close attention to the bigger economic picture. 🌍

Risk management skills

Ideally your suppliers can meet your needs, you can fulfill client orders on time, and your projects run smoothly. That isn’t always the case though, which is why procurement leads also need to be adept at risk management and identifying roadblocks before they become a problem.

The best procurement managers know how to calculate risk, monitor for changes, and anticipate small issues before they lead to larger challenges. Risk management is an inherent part of your day-to-day work, rather than something you consider when things go wrong. ❌

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Tools and Techniques Used by Procurement Managers

The procurement process is long and detailed, and managing so many expectations, budgets, deadlines, and requirements can feel stressful at times. But it’s not something you have to work through alone. There are plenty of procurement tools and techniques that can speed up processes, simplify tasks, and introduce easier ways to manage the workflow from start to finish.

Here are some of the most popular procurement management software tools and techniques that procurement managers use to work more effectively. 🤖

Procurement management frameworks

Running a long procurement process for every single project or supply need isn’t realistic, and takes time away from other valuable tasks. A way around this is to set up or join an existing procurement management framework.

These frameworks act as a ready-made route to quality suppliers and services, without running a full tendering or procurement process. You need high order or quantity volumes for these frameworks to make sense for everyone involved, so they’re typically used by large organizations and government agencies.

Project management tools

While procurement managers aren’t responsible for running projects directly, having a solid understanding of project management and using their team’s tools can give them an edge and make the process easier.

ClickUp 3.0 List view Progress status
Search, set, or sort task statuses in the ClickUp List view to see progress across all work

Tools like ClickUp streamline project management and make everything more accessible to the entire organization. With ClickUp’s project hierarchy, quickly see a project’s progress at a glance, identify roadblocks, communicate with project managers about their supply needs, and build an internal system that helps everyone stay more organized when it comes to procurement.

Unlike many generic project management tools, ClickUp has dedicated features that make it easy to adapt for procurement management. For example, the Procurement Template by ClickUp lets you run your entire process from start to finish, with all your projects, tasks, and information in one location.

Supplier Engagement Tools

Much of your day-to-day work involves speaking to suppliers and maintaining a good relationship with them. The right engagement and vendor management software tools can make a huge difference here, turning what can be a time-consuming task into something that becomes part of a much faster process.

ClickUp 3.0 Threads in Tasks
Comment threads keep conversations organized within a task so users don’t have to scroll through every comment

ClickUp simplifies the supplier engagement process by keeping everything in one place. Not only can you communicate with team members through tasks, comments, and real-time editing, but you can manage external email as well—all without leaving your project management platform.

Find the information you need using one of the many ClickUp views, then check in with your suppliers in a more efficient way.

Risk management tools

Managing risks is an integral part of a procurement manager’s role. From making sure your suppliers can actually keep up with your purchase orders to managing budgets so you can pay your suppliers on time, there’s a lot of opportunity for things to go wrong.

Simplify the whole process by using tools and features to create your own risk management system. Use the Risk Management Risk Register Template by ClickUp to start building your own internal database that makes identifying, mitigating, and reflecting on risks easier, and try a process mapping tool to create a workflow for how to manage risk. 

Pair this with ClickUp’s task management and project management features to keep all your day-to-day work in one place.

Enterprise resource planning tools

It’s almost impossible to manage procurement effectively if you don’t know what your inventory looks like, how your stock compares to what your point of sale (POS) system says, how many team members you have available, and what budget constraints you’re working with. That’s why enterprise resource planning and logistics software is so beneficial.

The best procurement managers understand how ERP software tools work and how to use them to their advantage. ERP tools cover everything from employee scheduling to purchasing inventory, and which areas you’re responsible for depends on the size of your organization.

ClickUp Project Management
Customize your workflow, view all project details with assigned team members in one platform, and share resources with Project Management in ClickUp

Encourage your organization to start using a tool like ClickUp to streamline your operations management, so you can oversee not just materials and supplies but team member availability too.

With all your operations strategy planning and resource management happening in one system, it’s easier to quickly check to make sure you have everything you need—or make decisions based on what you’ll need in the future.

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Key Lessons and Tips From Experienced Procurement Professionals

Being a successful procurement professional isn’t just about analyzing data and negotiating deals with potential suppliers. If you want to make it in the industry, consider this advice from experts that have already made their career in the space.

Attend industry events

Dedicating yourself to knowing your organization inside and out is worthwhile, but it’s also useful to step outside the office and immerse yourself in the wider industry.

Attending industry events presents multiple benefits. You get the opportunity to meet others in the same position as you, or further on in their career, and learn from them. You can meet potential contacts, suppliers, or even recruiters for a future role. You can attend seminars and workshops to refresh your skills or learn new ones. 

Attending industry events is a must if you want to do more than simply be good at your job. 💻

Grow your network

One of the key skills you’ll need as a procurement professional is the ability to communicate well. A great way to practice that is through networking and growing your own personal community.

Start to build a presence for yourself on a platform like LinkedIn, and grow your list of followers by becoming a thought leader or supportive member of the community. Connect with would-be suppliers or stakeholders either digitally or in-person, using meetups and industry events as the perfect bridge toward building strong, lasting relationships. 📣

Look for a mentor

Another way you can benefit from the experience and expertise of others is to find a mentor. There are plenty of people who have already paved a path in the procurement industry and are happy to help others succeed too.

Ask in your organization first to see if there’s a person they have in mind, or reach out to your network. If there isn’t someone within your network, try expanding it—or get in touch with people you admire to ask if this is something they offer. 🏆

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Start or Further Your Career as a Procurement Manager

Being a procurement manager involves skill and expertise, but it also involves knowing when to delegate tasks or processes to tools and software. Choosing the right software can help you streamline workflows, automate simple tasks, and get a clearer picture so you can make more strategic decisions.

If you’re looking for one tool that beats them all, try ClickUp for free today and experience a better way to manage all things procurement. ✨

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