How to Become a Procurement Officer

The procurement department is a wing that commands immense importance in the structuring of a successful enterprise. The reasons for it though obvious to an extent do not have visibility to the common man. This is because a procurement officer can make a major difference in how the bottom line is drawn with regards to the product released by a company. A good procurement officer has the task of gleaning resources that optimally balance the 3 factors important for an efficient and profitable product release. These are availability, quality, and pricing, and therefore his services can be considered as crucial in the functioning of the company. When the procurement manager is buying superior quality goods, it will be reflected in the end product too. Thus, a procurement job is one that holds great responsibilities, in all kinds of firms, whether a manufacturing industry or a service industry, irrespective of the size of the firm.

A procurement job entails great responsibilities. The primary responsibilities of a procurement officer would be to place orders as per requests received from various departments, keep a tab on purchase orders of significant value, liaise with the clients, and review the purchase orders as well as bidding process, if any.

A procurement manager handles a team of several persons working under him, and he has to ensure that the company guidelines and the procurement procedures are followed. He has procurement officers under his or her supervision. Certain organizations delegate the entire responsibility, right from the time a request is raised till the time the goods are purchased and delivered to the procurement officer. In bigger organizations, the responsibility may be split up as per commodity type or geographic locations etc.

To secure a procurement job as a procurement officer, the minimum requirement would be a bachelor's degree in any principle concerning accounting, finance, economics, or business administration from an accredited university. Having a master's degree in materials management would certainly be a vital key advantage; however, small companies may not require a Masters degree. Many private institutions do provide a certificate course in procurement. This will certainly add value to your resume.

Ideally, if a student wants to get a procurement job, he or she should start working in a clerical position to get an insight in to the day-to-day processes of the procurement department and to gain experience in various stages that are involved in procuring goods.

A person involved in a procurement job should have good communication, research and negotiation skills. He should have a pleasing personality as he would be required to liaise with several people outside the company. He should be good in calculations and making deals beneficial to the company look attractive to the buyer. He must possess the ability to drive the conversation with the supplier in the best interests of the company. He should have an in depth knowledge about the best places to procure the material or goods. He should have the foresight to understand the peak sales season of the company and be prepared well in advance with the required material or goods. In addition, he will have to manage people in his department, so he should have administrative skills, and of course, he should be well versed with computers, as most of his task of procurement as well as documentation would be on a computer.

Generally, a person with right caliber and right academic background can join the company at a junior level in the procurement department. With 2 to 4 years of relevant experience, he can apply for a procurement officer and later advance to become a procurement manager. Many educational institutions assist their students in getting an internship job in the procurement department.

Persons aspiring for career advancement can appear for a written examination conducted by Institute for Supply Management. The successful candidate will get a certificate to the effect that he is well versed with the procedures and strategies related to procurement.

A procurement officer shares great responsibility in the department and his functioning can have a huge bearing on the profits of the company. Therefore, procurement officers are often well paid. Generally, the average salary of a procurement officer is in the range of $60,000 to $90,000 per year. This would largely vary upon the size of the organization and experience of the candidate.

The post of a procurement officer is a responsible position and many times the officer will have to handle tremendous pressure. There has been exponential surge in demand for efficient procurement professionals in the market. There are ample opportunities for the right candidate.
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