Procurement Specialist Job Description
Procurement specialists, sometimes referred to as purchasing managers, generally manage contracts with a company’s vendors to ensure best prices. They generally oversee the ordering of materials a business uses in producing goods. Procurement specialists analyze costs, negotiate contract details, and offer strategies and solutions to help companies better manage costs on supplies and vendor services. Additional duties include managing inventory, tracking orders, resolving issues concerning price disputes, and making bids for a vendor’s services.
Procurement specialists can work for any type of industry. As reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, procurement specialists can expect to see a 3% decline in employment growth rates through 2026. An increase in automated procurement processes, outsourcing, and resource sharing practices are believed to be factors negatively impacting this profession.
Procurement Specialist Duties and Responsibilities
To fulfill their daily obligations, procurement specialists are required to complete several tasks. We have examined some job listings for this occupation and found those listed below to be among the most commonly mentioned job responsibilities associated with this position:
Oversee Purchase of Materials and Supplies
The main responsibility of procurement specialists is to ensure that the supply chain needs of a company are met in a timely and cost-effective manner. Procurement specialists review costs, develop relationships with vendors and suppliers, and offer suggestions for where and how much material and supplies to buy.
Participate in Contract Negotiations
Contract management is one of the most important aspects of being a procurement specialist. These professionals negotiate contract renewals, place bids to obtain the business of new vendors, discuss pricing, and monitor all aspects of the terms of a contract.
Procurement specialists maintain an inventory of supplies and materials, deciding when to make purchases as needed. They choose how much material to keep on hand and track which supplies are consumed fastest. They also place and track orders with vendors and suppliers.
Procurement Specialist Skills
Strong math, analytical, organizational, and communication skills are essential for the success of procurement specialists. They should be detail-oriented team players, possessing negotiation skills and the ability to work independently as needed. An understanding of business operations and processes is important to their work. Additionally, procurement specialists need strong interpersonal skills, as they work with a diverse number of people, such as executives, suppliers, vendors, and supply chain managers. Along with these crucial skills, it is important that procurement specialists are able to:
- Assess costs and negotiate vendor and supply prices
- Analyze business supply needs and ensure businesses are getting the best possible material
- Manage inventory and order supplies and materials as needed
- Resolve pricing conflicts and place bids with different vendors as required
Procurement Specialist Tools of the Trade
To help them complete job tasks, procurement specialists often use a variety of tools relevant to their profession. To work as a procurement specialist, you should be knowledgeable about:
- Supply chain software – the use of various supply chain software products can help procurement specialists record transactions, manage supplier information, and more
- Inventory management systems – procurement specialists should be aware of inventory tracking and ordering processes and familiar with various software used to manage inventory
- Microsoft Office applications – from Microsoft Word, used to create correspondence and reports, to Excel, used for producing spreadsheets on supply costs and comparisons, procurement specialists should be adept at using all Microsoft Office applications
Procurement Specialist Education and Training
In many cases, employers seeking a procurement specialist prefer candidates who hold a bachelor’s degree in business, supply chain management, or business analytics. Some companies even prefer a master’s degree in these areas; a graduate degree could be needed to advance in this field. Voluntary certifications, such as Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) or Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), are helpful and in some cases might be required for promotional purposes.
Procurement Specialist Salary
As described by the BLS, procurement specialists make an annual median salary of $11,590. Those in the lowest 10th percentile are paid a median annual wage of $63,380, while those in the top 10 percent earn $177,560. Top earners tend to be those working in private companies or federal agencies. Procurement specialists in New Jersey are the highest paid in the U.S., with an annual mean wage of $148,850, followed by those employed in Missouri ($139,040), and Delaware ($136,190).
Procurement Specialist Resources
To give you more insight into the position procurement specialist, we have provided links below to additional resources, including books and professional associations.
American Purchasing Society – Since 1969, the American Purchasing Society has provided procurement specialists and others in the purchasing field access to seminars, training courses, books, and certification information.
Purchasing & Supply Magazine – With sections devoted to procurement, inventory, negotiations, and purchasing, this online publication is a great resource for news, current practices, and management responsibilities. It contains interviews with leaders in the procurement field.
NLPA Blog – Hosted by the Next Level Purchasing Association (NLPA), a global organization for procurement professionals, this blog contains detailed articles about leadership practices, negotiation, economic impacts, and other influences on the procurement field.
Procurement Leaders Procurement Blog – Offering articles from procurement specialists and related professionals, this blog gives insight into current trends, procurement functions, and more.
Procurement and Supply Chain Management, 9th Edition – Giving the most updated information on procurement regulations, contract management practices, and global sourcing, this book provides details on the most current and effective processes vital to the success of procurement specialists.
Strategic Procurement: Organizing Suppliers and Supply Chains for Competitive Advantage – Written specifically for upper management, this book explores effective strategies for saving costs, forming supplier relationships, getting the most out of supply chain, and other important practices.
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