Procurement specialist jobs at every level focus on getting things for the companies they work for. Those who work in procurement specialist jobs work for federal, state or local governments, and they work for private companies.
The duties of many entry-level procurement jobs have been frequently taken over by automation. This means that procurement jobs in general are going to be growing scarcer, leaving the number of procurement jobs stagnant instead of growing.
Even with automation becoming more of a factor, though, procurement specialist jobs are still around. What do you do as a procurement specialist? You may put together orders for materials, get purchase orders ready, keep track of purchase orders and supplies, and order more when necessary. A procurement specialist may also handle order inquiries that come in for your company to fill. Basically, procurement has as its focus that you fill orders in some way, either for supplies for your own company as needed, or for orders going out that your company fills.
Procurement specialty jobs also include duties such as making sure what you've purchased for your company comes in on time and has met the requirements stated when the order was initially made. Similarly, for outgoing orders, you make sure that order requirements have been fulfilled.
Procurement specialty jobs are becoming a lost art since automation has taken over some of the more mundane parts of the job duties. For example, orders for goods can be placed electronically if supplies become low, removing procurement manager or procurement specialist jobs as "middlemen" of sorts. However, many smaller companies still use procurement clerks or procurement managers in lieu of automation, especially for specialty goods.
Things you might do in procurement specialist jobs
If you work in procurement, you might procure goods for your company, and you might also perform other tasks, too. If your company is large, you might just work in procurement, but if your company is small or medium-sized, you might do more than one job. In addition to processing purchase requests, for example, you might also prepare bid invitations for suppliers or distribute them so that they can be posted publicly, so as to find your company the cheapest products and supplies possible.
You may also interview prospective vendors or suppliers to make sure that they have what you need and check their prices. You may be responsible for putting spreadsheets together to show management price comparisons, and you might have to detail facts about each supplier that you've interviewed. If your organization approves a particular purchase, you will probably prepare and mail purchase orders and then input them into the computer for data backup once they arrive.
If any delays happen, you may have to get involved and find out why. If suppliers have questions, you may have to answer them and help resolve any problems or delays that occur. You may also be responsible for making sure that the purchase order and the resulting shipments match. You might be responsible for letting vendors know if you have not received their invoices, and for making sure that the bills or invoices match the purchases made.
With a higher-level specialty purchasing job, you may oversee the entire inventory. If that's true, you probably will have to monitor inventory inflows and outflows and keep track of inventory for the purposes of bookkeeping. You might have to keep track of spreadsheets and current supplies so that you can place orders when materials begin to run low.
Some procurement specialty jobs require just a high school education, such as that of a procurement clerk. In addition to any high school education, on the job training is also provided by the company you work for. Other procurement jobs, such as procurement manager jobs, will require that you have a bachelor's degree in a related area, such as management. However, many employers provide employees who show promise with training so that they can continue to work in entry-level procurement jobs on a work-study basis while they go to school to get a more advanced degree and therefore advance their careers, too. You may also need certification specific to the field you work in, such as the Certified Professional and Supply Management credential. Procurement at the governmental level also has similar certification requirements. The necessity for certification varies, depending on whom you work for.
Job outlook and salary
Procurement specialty jobs will shift and change as automation takes over the more mundane tasks involved in procurement. However, jobs will still be available. Entry-level jobs such as those of the procurement clerk generally pay about $16 an hour, while more experienced clerks earn about $20 an hour. Higher-level management jobs and jobs for the federal government can earn $22 an hour or higher.
Some procurement specialty jobs do not require an education beyond a high school diploma and some on-the-job training. These jobs are pretty competitive and are going to start becoming scarcer as automation takes over the more mundane tasks those in procurement must perform. Procurement manager jobs and jobs in procurement in general will remain on some level, since not everything can be automated. In addition, some smaller companies are filling procurement specialist jobs instead of investing in automated technology. Jobs will be more prevalent for those who have computer skills and for those who are willing to go to college and get a bachelor's degree in a related area, such as becoming a buyer or purchasing agent for companies.