Are you Purchasing, Procurement or Supply Chain Manager?

Purchasing, Procurement, and Supply Chain Managers are positions related to procurement that are often used interchangeably. This best reflects in job ads where the title doesn’t match the responsibilities, ultimately misguiding the potential candidates. 

Even though the roles should work in close collaboration and many functions do overlap, they’re definitely not the same thing. Distinguishing between these positions is often complicated even for the procurement people themselves, but understanding their roles and responsibilities is the key to enhancing each position’s main functions. 

In this article, we’ll explain the differences and similarities between these three positions and bring out the main tools that help each professional thrive. 

Supply Chain Manager 

The supply chain manager is a strategic role that acts as an umbrella covering both purchasing and procurement. But that’s not all - it also covers the logistics and supplier quality. The supply chain manager’s responsibilities are not limited to looking after inbound materials, but they also direct outbound flow. 

The supply chain manager is expected to drive the savings plan and deal with risk mitigation. It is important to understand that the supply chain manager keeps an eye on the entire supply chain. This includes short to long-term strategic supply chain planning. 

Works closely with:
R&D, sales, IT, operations and finance. 

Necessary tools:
this role needs to have tools supporting supply chain visibility and overview

Procurement Manager 

The procurement manager is responsible for finding new suppliers, running various sourcing activities and negotiating terms and conditions. They take part in new saving initiatives and drive these as a project manager. 

The procurement manager’s tasks mainly involve strategic activities in bigger companies. In smaller companies, the role might be more diverse and include some parts of operational activities as well. 

It is often said that everything before sending out purchase orders is under the procurement manager’s duties. As a common practice, the procurement manager also oversees purchasing, making purchasing a subset of procurement. 

Works closely with
R&D and sales. 

Necessary tools:
this role needs to have tools supporting communication, maintaining information about potential and existing suppliers and having accurate spending and performance overview.

Purchasing Manager 

The purchasing manager is a more operational role and its main task is to make sure that purchasing requests are filled - both goods and services are purchased by purchasers and delivered by suppliers. 

Their main KPIs should demonstrate on-time, on-quality, and on-cost deliveries. 

Works closely with
operations and R&D. 

Necessary tools:
the purchasing manager needs to have tools supporting communication and teamwork, maintaining information about existing suppliers, giving operational visibility and keeping track of daily tasks and automating routine processes.

Supply chain roles and responsibilities
Supply chain roles and responsibilities

As you can see, all these roles need tools for good communication and maintaining information. They also need a good overview of a wide variety of different sized operations, ranging from the strategic big picture to monitoring daily tasks. is empowering the operational purchasing process and enhancing this with key procurement steps - such as keeping supplier-related information in one single SRM (Supplier Relationship Management) system and maintain the RFI/RFP process. Collaboration between different functions is embraced and - what is most important - everyone from the team is always on the same page. 

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