When you are shopping in a big supermarket, you may wonder where they get all the goods they have in store. The truth is that these supermarkets buy from other producers and stock the goods that we then buy in order for them to make a profit. In these selling points someone has a duty to ensure that there is a steady supply of goods that customers prefer at the right price. The tag at that person’s office reads ‘Head of Procurement.’ For Nakumatt, Rwanda the person is called Jean Bosco Nyirimana. Education Times’s Collins Mwai spent some time understanding what his work involves
Briefly tell us about your duties and responsibilities
As the procurement officer, I oversee control of stocks. It is my office’s duty to ensure that we have adequate amount of stocks of general products; local and imported. General products means, non-perishables. I also liaise with suppliers, new ones and existing ones. We ensure that incoming goods are in good condition and meet our standards. I study market trends to know what products are fast moving. At times I conduct checks around supermarkets to assess proper display and pricing of products.
Which course does one study at an institute of higher learning?
I studied business management. But to get to head of procurement, I have received a lot of in-house training at various levels.
What qualifications required other than training?
In most companies you require experience at a junior level of procurement. You need to understand the procurement procedures of your organisation as well as adequate product knowledge. You also should be a sociable person as you deal with lots of people on a daily basis including some not so happy clients at times. Attention to detail will take you places as a procurement officer.
What are the best moments in this job?
I get to meet a lot of people from different companies and backgrounds. I gather a lot of product information. Every once in a while I receive training from different companies on their products.
What are the emerging trends in this line of work?
Like everywhere else, there have been a lot of technological advancements which are making our work easier and precise. Every once in a while, we have a new software to help in stock management, generating reports. You need to always be updated on the latest.
Any low moments or challenges?
It is dealing with unreliable suppliers. That’s every procurement officer nightmare; it could cause you to inconvenience clients and sometimes even losing your job.
What is the chain of command like for you?
I answer to the branch manager, under me are two assistants.
How do people advance to higher levels in this line of work? Is it by experience or by further studies?
Being a promotional job, you are most likely to advance with experience. What is important is how much you can do but it is also helpful to have the right qualifications when a promotion comes around. Knowledge is never a limitation.
How many hours a day does a procurement officer put in at work?
It is not really an eight-to-five job because at times you work longer hours, but it depends on the organisation and the task at hand.
What would derail a bearer of such an office?
Lack of proper product research and ability to constantly study the market trends is a recipe for disaster. Also not being social will bring you down since our work involves a lot of customer care service.
What advice do you have for anyone interested in this occupation?
You need to pay a lot of attention to consumer trends of the organisation you work for no matter your position in the procurement hierarchy. To get to be head of procurement, you must also give your best at junior levels.