The practice of acquiring goods and services so an administrative office can operate effectively. Procurement specialists manage vendor relationships, including contract negotiations; ensure that deliveries are scheduled and completed on time; and arrange for maintenance of office equipment. Procurement specialists may also obtain basic office supplies such as computer equipment, copiers, fax machines and kitchen supplies. Procurement specialists are in control of the budget for supplies and maintenance, so they must try to find the best prices for necessary supplies. They typically work closely with the company's finance department to ensure that expenditures on supplies remain within the company's budget. Procurement specialists may have to audit suppliers on occasion to ensure that price quotes are competitive.
Procurement specialists should be good at negotiating and should have good oral communication skills to convey the company needs to vendors and suppliers. Because procurement specialists draw up contracts and provide reports to management about purchases, written communication skills are also important. Math skills and a solid foundation in accounting principles can help procurement specialists stay within budget when purchasing goods or services. Procurement specialists must keep excellent records of all purchases and service calls, so organizational skills and computer skills are essential.
The minimum requirement for a job as a procurement specialist is a bachelor's degree in accounting, business management, finance or a related field. Many aspiring procurement specialists perform internships in the field or work as administrative assistants or in other office management positions.