If you're a motivated and ambitious individual starting your career in procurement and supply chain, you may hope to one day progress to a Supply Chain Director or CPO position.
To give yourself the best opportunities for progression, there are some helpful tips and key attributes that will help you fast track your way to your career goals.
Step away from your post and learn from others
Leaving your team and spending time learning about what other parts of the business do can certainly help you in the long run. If you want to truly understand the entire process, you will have to have seen it and experienced it for yourself. Typically, the best and most experienced senior professionals have front line knowledge across more than one function - so if the opportunity presents itself make sure to widen your skill set and knowledge proactively.
Never be afraid to ask questions, or ask for help. As a professional starting your career, regardless of industry sector, you are not expected to know all the answers first time. Asking questions and learning from your manager will only enrich your understanding of the industry and will hold you in good stead to progress to the next level.
In reality, many skills are learnt on the job, so it’s expected that you ask considered questions and learn from those around you. Asking for help and learning new skills is expected and will show your team you are actively growing.
Develop interpersonal and relationship building skills
Sometimes it’s easy to overlook one of the most important elements in your career - the people you work with. Make sure you spend time getting to know your colleagues, as well as those outside your company, particularly your customers and suppliers.
Procurement and supply chain professionals are much like sales people in this respect, and you will benefit by building these lines of communication. Each time you interact with someone is a chance to learn something new and become visible within the business.
Leaving your team and spending time learning about what other parts of the business do can certainly help you in the long run.
Continuous learning is vital in any industry but in such a technology and process driven field, it’s important to stay on top of the newest trends and practices. If there is something you don’t understand, your capacity as an executive would be fairly limited.
If there is a short course that could help you, take it now. If you work at a publicly-traded company, make sure you read your company’s financial reports to understand the main drivers of financial performance, and then look for ways your function could positively influence those drivers. Continuously improving your skills will only help your career prospects.
For your potential employers, they will also want to see a concise breakdown of the skills and achievements you’ve developed across your career. Make sure you set these out in an easily read format alongside any extra qualifications.