Procurement officers enter into agreement contracts with vendors. Then he or she must ensure that contract specifics are met according to arrangements. This is an important job with billions of dollars spent by the US government to put an infrastructure program into place. In the past there has been over charging, bad work or products, and slow delivery on contracts with the US government. The problem was understood and much of the correction of the problem falls on the employees who document and track the spending. There are often special records that must be kept by the vendors awarded the contracts for large purchases in the course of their performance for government contract jobs. It is the same on the government’s side. They must have good procurement and contract officers to deal with contractors and must verify the spending, quality, and timeliness of the contracts awarded.
The concern for better tracking came to government awareness during the war with Iraq where many war profiteers were making money by overcharging the government for services and supplies. This has happened with so much so fast, without any pressure to abide by any laws or regulations if contracted by the government. Just recently policies and procedures have been established by the Pentagon, and now both sides—the government who issues the contracts and suppliers who win the contracts—have strict responsibility for overseeing these large amounts of money being charged and spent.
The government now has some specific requirements for people who work in procurement. Certifications are required. Here is a short review of governmental requirements of the procurement officer and his or her representatives in the geological field of procurement.
''Contracting Officer. An employee who has been issued a warrant to enter into contracts and purchase orders leading to the expenditure of public funds as an agent of the U.S. Government, under delegation procedures of Survey Manual Chapter 205.4.''These requirements list the responsibilities of the contracting officer to verify his or her representatives are being certified.
''Contracting Officer’s Representative (COR). An employee delegated limited authority by a Contracting Officer to perform specific, contract management duties related to technical oversight during the performance period of a contract.''
''Contracting Officers shall prepare COR appointment letters that
(1) establish the scope and limits of the COR’s authority,
(2) appoint only employees included in the list of certified COR’s, and
(3) are tailored to list specific tasks or areas requiring attention/action by the COR according to the nature and complexity of the subject contract.''
Resources: ''OPR: Admin/Procurement.'' OFPP Policy Letter No. 92-3 dated June 24, 1992, subject: Procurement Professionalism Program Policy.
Someone must be enforcing the ordering process by ensuring orders are placed to meet the needs of the company. Need is determined by watching inventory levels and predicting when levels are low and should be restocked. The officer might not be doing this function, but the procurement office is responsible to oversee, it because mismanagement problems will fall to the officer’s charge.
The ordering process continues with the establishment of the best contractor or a vendor to supply the company’s needs with good terms and pricing. Once the request is in writing noting all the terms of the contract, it is the procurement department which must oversee that the quantities and quality of the work is purchased as per the contract. If there are any discrepancies it is the job of the procurement and contracts officer to oversee any issues that need correcting per contract. If the budget is not working for some department in the organization it must be quickly observed and reported by the officer that there are some issues in budgeting. It is a huge job and the officer must oversee the company’s spending. There are often bonuses for the procurement staff, including the officer, for good stewardship of company spending.