A typical procurement clerk works in factories, warehouses or stores and he is the one controlling the flow of supplies in and out of the stockrooms. The procurement clerk tracks the number of items in storage and makes fresh orders for items that are low in supply.
The procurement clerk quickly responds to customer supplier inquiries about order status, including changes or cancellations. The procurement clerk also makes sure that the deliveries are made on time with the right quantities, so he contacts suppliers to schedule or reschedule deliveries and solve unforeseen supply shortages. He also reviews requisition orders to verify accuracy, terminology, and to ensure specifications are met.
There are no specific educational requirements to become a procurement clerk. Individuals with a degree are more than qualified for the job, though ordinarily one with a degree has the requisite mathematical, writing, and reading skills. Computer knowledge is an added advantage for the applicant because most work places are now computerized.
The procurement clerk must also have a variety of office skills in order to perform his work well. Making orders and purchases require data entry skills. He must also have excellent filing and record keeping skills. He keeps records of purchasing orders with copies going to suppliers and the respective departments of origin of the requests. He maintains records for the items purchased invoices from suppliers, records of the distribution of items, the rates of purchase, dates of delivery, and inventories.
Most procurement clerks receive on the job training for at least 3 months, beginning with the most basic routines, such as unpacking, verifying quantities, and handling basic records. They make simple, small orders or purchases and learn from the more experienced clerks before embarking on more complex work.
The procurement clerk also compares different suppliers in terms of delivery dates, terms and conditions, and rates. The supplier with the most competitive rates and with better terms and conditions wins the bid. In the long run the company saves money without compromising quality. The procurement clerk locates these suppliers using sources like Internet catalogs and contact interviews to utilize the best. They also search records or carry out physical searches in warehouses to identify if sufficient stock is available for the smooth running of the firm.
The main priority for the procurement clerk is to make sure that the production line does not lack anything in terms of supplies and equipment. This ensures that the firm operates at a full productivity level. The clerk must maintain knowledge of all organizational and governmental rules that could affect purchases and provide this information to all departments and vendors. He should also be able to recommend modification whenever the need arises.
The increased computer usage and other automated equipment in stockrooms have hampered the rapid growth of jobs in this field of work. Orders for goods can now be placed online when supplies are low. The best example of this automation is the integration of cash registers with computers that record when goods reach a certain level. However, procurement clerks are needed in big supply chain organizations, like departmental stores, construction companies and industries, and many more. Supermarkets and grocery stores constitute the largest number of employers in this field, since they deal with so many items that are sold daily in these establishments in large numbers and need constant restocking. These procurement clerks are well placed to scale new heights since they often work for big companies. Due to the experience obtained, they can also become buyers or purchasing agents. They can go on to become supervisors because of their vast experience. Additional education could be a requirement for some senior posts. There are always job openings each year due to retirement as well as movement of those who want to leave the field for other professions.
A typical procurement clerk works for an average of 40 hours a week. During holidays one can get overtime due to increased amount of work. The nature of work for a procurement clerk involves a lot of moving, climbing, standing, and bending. These activities can involve handling heavy loads.
Most procurement clerks begin at minimum wage and then receive wage increases as their experience increases. Procurement clerks earn between $30,000 and $38,000 depending on one’s experience. Procurement clerks also usually advance to award clerks, bid clerks, buyer, assistants, purchase-request editor, purchasing and fiscal clerk, purchasing clerk, and purchasing-contracting clerk in their places of work.