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A procurement office or department is typically organized within the finance portfolio of a large company or organization. There are two organizational structures used for procurement: centralized and plant specific. In a centralized procurement office, all purchasing requests and activities are managed by a central administrative group. In a plant specific structure, each physical facility has its own procurement office.
Within the centralized procurement, there are typically five roles: buyer, procurement officer, procurement manager, director, and procurement analyst. All five members of a procurement team provide services to every department within the organizational structure. Department users can submit their purchasing requests electronically or via telephone, fax or email. The central procurement office is designed to manage the client’s requirements, while ensuring compliance with procurement policy.
In order to qualify for a position in procurement, all candidates are required to complete a minimum college diploma in business or purchasing. Professional procurement staff typically have a professional designation, such as Certified Procurement Professional® (CPP&Reg;). In the centralized model, buyer is an entry-level position. Procurement officer and analyst are both professional positions, with procurement manager holding supervisory responsibilities. The procurement director sets the strategic direction and is involved in high-value negotiations.
In a plant specific structure, the highest ranked person in the office is typically a procurement manager. Each procurement manager may have one or two purchasing officers and several buyers on staff. The total number of staff depends on the size of the facility and the volume of purchasing. The purchasing managers typically report to the chief financial officer or controller within the plant or facility.
Regardless of the organizational structure, the primary task of the procurement staff is to find the best possible combination of price, quality, and service. Each member of the office is expected to provide service to his or her client group, understand requirements, and communicate with the supplier community. Finding the best suppliers and finalizing a purchase order involves a series of steps designed to ensure an open, equitable process.
Purchasing analysis is primarily a central function and may be organized as a financial services responsibility. This person creates reports to track spending activity against contracts, general spending, and ensure policy compliance. Additional training in statistics and data management are often required in this role. These reports are normally provided to senior management, both to track actual spending and to monitor the performance of the procurement office.
I think any of the jobs in a procurement office would be stressful. They have to please a lot of people and meet deadlines. The head procurement analyst must be responsible for keeping the office running smoothly. He must check any contracts the company has, to make sure the procurements for them are in order.
The analyst must deal with statistics and keep track of costs. He needs to negotiate with high level suppliers.
The buyers are responsible for taking the orders from various departments. They try to get the best deal for the money.
These team members have to work closely together and strive for the same goals. Besides getting along with their team members, they have to work with those in their company who need supplies and also the outside suppliers - demanding jobs!