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A procurement official is a man or woman who purchases equipment, supplies, and raw materials for manufacturing companies and different types of corporations. He or she usually works closely with wholesale companies and distributors to buy and obtain goods. In large corporations, a procurement official usually manages finances and oversees clerks and other workers who make purchases. Some professionals specialize in e-procurement, which involves buying goods and services over the Internet through secure websites.
Office buildings, retail stores, hospitals, government organizations, and industrial plants rely on procurement officials to maintain inventories and ensure that equipment and computers are kept up-to-date. The professional is responsible for identifying the need for new equipment and products, finding suppliers, comparing prices, and placing orders. He or she usually prepares and sends purchase orders, keeping careful records to ensure that deliveries arrive on time and prices and quantities are correct.
Many procurement officials perform their jobs partially or exclusively online, where they are able to quickly find products and equipment, compare prices from many suppliers, and calculate shipping and installation costs. E-procurement usually lessens the time and confusion involved in finding the right quantities of items and tracking orders, as such information can be accessed in real time.
A skilled procurement official may be placed in charge of an entire purchasing division of a large corporation. He or she is responsible for supervising the work of procurement clerks, authorizing purchases, and maintaining detailed records and receipts. When there is a dispute or discrepancy with an order, the procurement official usually steps in to settle it in a professional and timely manner.
An individual can usually find employment as a procurement official with a bachelor's degree in finance, business administration, accounting, or a related subject. Some employers, typically those in government organizations and large manufacturing plants, require prospective officials to hold master's degrees or higher in business. New employees generally work as clerks or assistants for a certain period of time to learn the details about specific job duties and procedures.
With enough time at a company and proven skills, a procurement official may be able to obtain the title of chief procurement officer. A chief procurement officer is a top executive who works closely with chief financial and executive officers to make major company decisions. He or she is involved with evaluating the successes and failures of a company, and coming up with ways to improve efficiency and productivity. Chief procurement officers may identify the need for new equipment or determine if the company can afford to spend less on materials.
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