Welsh cy
Commercial Manager

What’s it all about then?

The Commercial Manager of any food company is a senior member of management and will oversee areas of company performance affecting cost, policy, procedure and strategy.

These areas include contract negotiation, project planning, employee performance and the managing of any risks identified by the company.

The basic idea is that you’re increasing the company’s sales and profit margins by ensuring the company operates sound business procedures and can sell products to as many customers as possible at the right price.

What might I be doing?

You’ll be analysing various aspects of company performance, interpreting results against targets, identifying business opportunities and ensuring that decisions made are done so in an accurate and speedy manner.

One of your main jobs is financial planning, usually in conjunction with financial managers and accountants. This typically involves the setting of budgets for each product and product category that the company produces.

Another important role is that of contract negotiation and making sure that all terms of contracts with suppliers are followed.

Risk management involves strategic planning for the company which maximises potential profits whilst, at the same time, minimises risks.

You’ll also be involved with company recruitment to senior specialised roles.

As a manager you’ll have a team of specialists around you who you will need to lead effectively to achieve fantastic results.

You’ll need to build very strong relationships with different departments in the company and make sure everyone is working to achieve commercial targets.

What will be expected of me?

You’ll need to have strong communication, analytical, negotiating and influencing skills as your job is complex and demanding.

You will also need to be extremely well-motivated and have high energy levels as a job such as this in a food manufacturing company is likely to involve a lot of travel to meet customers and exploit potential opportunities.

You’ll be expected to be able to get your message across in a very positive and assertive manner and be resilient enough not to get deflected from achieving your goals. This means being able to prioritise work effectively.

What can I expect?

The role of the Commercial Manager is an extremely busy one in which you have a fantastic opportunity to further develop and hone your business skills and advance your career.

This is a very dynamic role and one in which you may be expected to travel at short notice to meet with a whole variety of customers or potential customers. If you want to remain behind your desk all day, this job may not be for you.

What about the pay?

Salary levels reflect the seniority and responsibility of the commercial manager’s job and you can expect to be paid in excess of £50,000.

This figure is provided as a guideline. Remember that some posts will pay less - and some a whole lot more.

What qualifications do I need to get in?

For a job as Commercial Manager in the Food Manufacturing sector it is very likely that you will already have a number of years’ of experience under your belt and have demonstrated that you have the range of skills necessary for the role.

As a starting point, degree level accountancy or finance qualifications form a good foundation for a role as Commercial Manager – usually followed up with have either postgraduate or professional body qualifications acquired over a number of years.

What about further training?

You’ll have plenty of opportunity to develop as many skills as you need. However, by the time you reach this level, you may find it difficult to find time to undertake courses that can take you even further. Like all stages of your career, being extremely well organised will help.

Anything else I might need to know?

Yes, gaining a job as Commercial Manager will put you in prime position for a later Director-level position. You’ll need to consistently demonstrate the qualities needed for this role, including leading and managing relationships across your company and its suppliers and customers, as well as excelling in your position.