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Kevin Luxon

Great question. Selling side of the business will definitely assist you with your transition to product manager/buyer/developer. My transition was unique, I simply invented and manufactured my own product and started my own business. Although this may be one strategy, I suggest others as well.

Product procurement encompasses many aspects and fields including sales, marketing, manufacturing, logistic, business development, and several other disciplines that require experience in order to do a job well done.

Suggested action items:

Review as many job postings for “Product Manager” as possible. Here you will find detailed descriptions of the responsibilities for that position and the required skill sets and education. Write down the common/repeated tasks or skill sets as described in these job listings and determine where you need improvement.

Here you will find that buying/procuring requires you to assist the marketing department with product education, POP materials, launch strategies, and budgetary requirements.

You will also see that “Sales” department depend on you for lead times, sales support and materials, delivery assurances, quality standards are met so they are not dealing with discontent customers because the product failure rate is too high.

In addition to Sale and Marketing, other valuable skill-sets include organization, scheduling, costs analysis, forecasting, reverse logistical strategies, brand awareness and strategies, understanding of each distribution channel and the unique set of requirements that govern them.

For internal promotional opportunities, don’t be shy to ask to work as an apprentice or ask to be transferred into that department.

Suggested reading (MUST READ) Winning at New Products: Accelerating the Process from Idea to Launch, Third Edition by Robert G. Cooper.

Continuing Education: Six Sigma Black Belt or Green Belt.

Answered 9 years ago

Kevin Luxon