Procurement Specialist Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Procurement Specialist, or Purchasing Specialist, acquires a company’s various supplies. Their main duties include locating key suppliers, negotiating the company’s purchasing agreements and making sure their materials and products meet the company’s specifications.

 

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Procurement Specialist Duties and Responsibilities

Procurement Specialists build vendor relationships to secure the best prices on products for their company, as well as these other responsibilities:

  • Purchase goods or services that meet the quantity and quality expectations of the organization
  • Evaluate and negotiate contracts with vendors
  • Track inventory and restock goods when needed
  • Stay up to date on industry trends and new products
  • Compare available goods with industry trends to determine appropriate pricing

 

What Does a Procurement Specialist Do?

Procurement Specialists work for retail and supply chain businesses to procure various materials for the company’s products. They’ll spend time researching and finding suppliers that produce quality items within the business’ budget. Procurement Specialists are typically given key business criteria and must ensure that all of the products follow this criteria and specification list. 

They’re also responsible for gathering and preparing documents like quotes, proposals and purchase terms and conditions from suppliers for their supervisor to review. Once suppliers are hired, the Procurement Specialist will carefully analyze and monitor them and will record their performance. They’ll also be one of the supplier’s main points of contact and will answer any questions or address concerns the supplier has.

 

Procurement Specialist Skills and Qualifications

A successful procurement specialist has certain prerequisite skills and qualifications, which include:

  • Communication: Strong verbal and written communication skills are a requirement for Procurement Specialists. They use these skills to determine their company’s product needs and to create constructive relationships with vendors.
  • Project management: Procurement Specialists often manage multiple projects at one time. The ability to plan, delegate and evaluate progress toward goals is necessary for managing these projects.
  • Negotiation: Procurement Specialists are in charge of negotiating vendor contracts, so they must understand price points and be able to negotiate effectively.
  • Problem-solving: A Procurement Specialist must have strong problem-solving skills. For example, they may need to solve the problem of a product or service that does not meet the quality standards of their company.

 

Procurement Specialist Salary Expectations

The average expected salary for a Procurement Specialist is $24.78 per hour. Some Procurement Specialists may make between $7.25 and $57.50 per hour, depending on geographical location, level of experience and the size of the organization. A Procurement Specialist who is in charge of managing high-value contracts in a large company will expect to earn more than an entry-level Procurement Specialist who works for a smaller company with lower-valued contracts. Additionally, a Procurement Specialist with more experience and greater negotiation skills can earn a higher salary when they are able to reduce vendor costs and maximize profits.

 

Procurement Specialist Education and Training Requirements

A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is often a requirement to work as a Procurement Specialist. Procurement Specialists will usually have a degree in Business Administration, Finance, Logistics or Supply Management. Students will often complete some training through an internship during their education. They will train in areas such as inventory, vendor outreach, negotiation and contract assessment.

 

Procurement Specialist Experience Requirements

Some hiring managers prefer that Procurement Specialists have previous experience, whereas others will prefer to hire an entry-level candidate and train them within the company. Entry-level Procurement Specialists will often work for a few months with a more experienced Buyer or Purchasing Agent. 

Some hiring managers may require that candidates have the Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) certification or that they work toward it during employment. The Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) is another certification that requires candidates to have previous procurement experience. Some employers may also prefer that candidates have previous experience working in their specific industry.

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Frequently asked questions about Procurement Specialists

 

Who does a Procurement Specialist report to?

Procurement Specialists typically report to Purchasing Managers, who oversee the entire procurement process of an organization. Procurement Specialists will often report to Purchasing Managers for any questions about their role or responsibility. They may also report to Purchasing Managers if they’re having issues with suppliers and the Purchasing Manager will work to resolve it. Procurement Specialists typically work on a team and will receive training and onboarding from Purchasing Managers. 

 

What settings do Procurement Specialists typically work in?

Procurement Specialists usually spend a large majority of their workday in the office, completing basic office tasks and researching new suppliers. They’ll typically spend time at their desk, making calls and sending emails to suppliers regarding updates on the materials’ progress and addressing any other questions they may have. 

Procurement Specialists will also spend time traveling to and from the suppliers’ offices or designated locations. They’ll meet with suppliers to negotiate contract contract renewals, make supplier agreements and to close on sales.  

 

What's the difference between a Procurement Specialist and a Buyer?

Though they both deal with obtaining products or materials for a company, there are some key differences between Procurement Specialists and Buyers. A Procurement Specialist focuses more closely on getting supplies for a company’s product and will often build ongoing relationships with suppliers. Buyers will purchase products for a company to resell and will sometimes work on obtaining supplies and materials for a product, but that’s usually primarily handled by the Procurement Specialist. 

Procurement Specialists will also establish and build strong relationships with suppliers, while Buyers will usually find potential companies to purchase products from and will have other company employees continue strengthening the relationship while they continue to find more potential suppliers and vendors to purchase from. 

 

What makes a good Procurement Specialist?

A great Procurement Specialist should have computer and technical skills to effectively conduct research on potential suppliers and to input important product information into the procurement software system. Since they’re regularly comparing and evaluating costs on certain products, it’s also best for the ideal Procurement Specialist to be great mathematics and handle finances well. 

Negotiation skills are also needed for Procurement Specialists to secure the best quality products with suppliers at reasonable prices. Strong Procurement Specialists must also have good analytical skills to properly evaluate inventory needs to purchase the correct number of supplies. They can also use their communication abilities when meeting with and presenting to suppliers and when answering any of the suppliers’ questions or addressing their concerns.  

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