I've previously written that Procurement professionals often “fall” into Purchasing. Except for a few examples - so far, I've only met one (ONE!) person who chose to work in the Purchasing area, when he was an intern.
In my case, I was an intern at a multinational in the cosmetic industry in the field of Packaging Engineering. The Purchasing and Packaging Engineering areas shared the same floor in the office building and I often bumped into Purchasing staff in the cafeteria. Months passed and I ended up making friends with these Purchasing people, until one day, the Purchasing Director (the one responsible for my entry into this area and who has now become a great friend!) informed me that there was a temporary position (by 3 months only) in his area and that I should apply. At that time we were already colleagues and he knew a little about my career until then - he knew that I had worked in a bank and dealt directly with the public, which very likely made him realize my business acumen.
I decided to apply for this position, even though I knew that after 3 months, if I my contract didn’t get extended, I couldn't go back to being an intern - at that moment, I really wanted to look for an opportunity to be hired at the company.
I was approved in the process and a few weeks later, here I was, in my first experience as a buyer. Due to my familiarity with the product, I was assigned to a “Packaging Harmonization” project, in which I had to work with more experienced buyers to optimize the different types and sizes of cardboard boxes and seek the most competitive offers for each of the boxes .
I had to learn it on the fly!
Obviously, I had “angels” in my career, who literally took my hand and helped me with the initial steps - I was always very grateful to all the coffees with the Purchasing people, when I was still in Engineering - I can say I already knew the entire team even before working with them.
The project, which was supposed to last no more than 3 months, ended up taking other directions, and I was finally hired as a Junior Buyer! Due to my technical background (I have a degree in Chemistry), I was relocated to Raw Material Purchases.
15 years have passed and a lot has happened: I bought Raw Materials, Packaging, Services from the most complex (IT and Finance systems) to the coolest (Events, Travel and Marketing), Direct, Indirect, Contract Manufacturing and Outsourcing; I worked in the pharmaceutical, chemical, consumer goods and consulting industries; I was responsible in Purchasing for implementing ERP systems twice, visited 20 countries, managed approximately 500 suppliers in 30 different categories, delivered over $15 million in Savings and finally moved to another country.
You might be wondering what my career has to do with you or your career. I explain: I may have been chosen there in the cosmetics industry cafeteria for (or by) Procurement, however, I CHOSE Procurement as my career!
In each of my professional moves, I had to combine data with instinct. I had to evaluate the data I had on hand when I was suggested to apply for the temporary position (what would the salary be, who would be my manager, what my goals would be, what I should deliver, in addition to data not relevant to the work per se, for example, what my college tuition was and what other expenses I had to pay), put them together with a dash of risk management (what will my plan B be if I'm approved for the temporary position and is not hired after 3 months? What are the chances of not being hired? Am I ready to lose my intern position at the company I always wanted to work for?) and finally follow my instincts and make a decision (apply for the position , be hired and start my career in Purchasing).
Normally, it is said that life imitates art. Well, if it's not life imitating a professional career in this case!
In these 15 years of career, I realized that all the best decisions are made based on the triad Information (data), Risk Management and Instinct.
You can't be a good purchasing professional if you're based only on data and risk (for that we have RPAs - Robot Process Automation). You won't necessarily make the best decisions based on your instincts alone. And finally, you can't assess risk if you don't understand what's going on around you.
Today, in addition to working for a company, I also provide consulting services and create content focused on the purchasing area. I live and breathe Purchasing. I am completely passionate about the field and I can say that not only are my professional decisions based on the triad of Data, Risk and Instinct; the personal ones too. This made me and makes me every day a more informed, more attentive, more alert and more human professional. This makes me more a "Procurement Lover" every day!