Faced with the need to cut costs and enhance consumer satisfaction, businesses rely on procurement professionals to manage all activities relating to purchases. A procurement assistant enforces her employer’s acquisition policies and searches supplier markets for new, quality products and services. When necessary, she collaborates with senior procurement officials to streamline the procurement process. To land this job, you must earn an associate or bachelor's degree in business or finance. Strong mathematical, communication and analytical skills are crucial.
Monitoring Supplier Market
A procurement assistant monitors the supplier market to find crucial information regarding new products, track competitors' actions, compare prices and identify potential suppliers. For instance, if an organization needs to purchase medical insurance policies for its staff, the procurement assistant studies the insurance industry to identify sellers who can satisfy the company's needs. To succeed in monitoring and evaluating supplier markets, you must be committed to being a good researcher with focus on reducing cost of purchases while maintaining quality.
Most companies have put in place policies that regulate procurement processes and procedures. As a procurement assistant, your job is to ensure all employees comply with these regulations. For instance, if a company requires all purchase orders to be approved by the senior procurement officer, you have to confirm that all paperwork is duly signed by your boss. If a business imports goods from other countries, the procurement assistant has to be familiar with the Trade Act of 2002 and the Customs Modernization Act, which regulate importation of goods and services.
Although some companies negotiate supply agreements with specific distributors, others have a streamlined process for awarding contracts to outside bidders. For example, when a manufacturing company wants to purchase raw materials, it can invite suppliers to submit formal supply bids. The procurement assistant ensures all bidders are provided with a fair opportunity to make their case for the tender in question. She can, for instance, help her boss in forming a bids and awards committee to uphold transparency and accountability and achieve equity during the award process.
Managing Business Relationships
A company's strategies for maintaining business networks with suppliers can impact its performance. As a procurement assistant, it’s your job to establish good working relationships with your suppliers. This can help avert a crisis. For example, if your stock is running low as a result of increased consumer demand, you can contact a supplier, who, out of good working relationships, can facilitate delivery of more goods on a short notice. Good procurement assistants value their suppliers and treat them as integral partners to their companies.
- Entrepreneur: How to Find and Work With Suppliers
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection: Importing Into the United States: A Guide for Commercial Importers
- Defense Technical Information Center: Establishing the Role, Functions and Importance of Program Managers and Program Management Teams in the AFP Modernization Program Acquisition Process: A Comparative Analysis With U.S DOD System
- Wiley: Managing Business Relationships, 3e
Based in New York City, Alison Green has been writing professionally on career topics for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in “U.S. News Weekly” magazine, “The Career” magazine and “Human Resources Journal.” Green holds a master's degree in finance from New York University.