What Does a Procurement Assistant Do?

Amy Rodriguez

A procurement assistant performs essential duties within industries that require a constant supply of items, such as manufacturing companies. This administrative position ensures that workers have enough materials for effective productivity, while keeping costs down for higher overall company profits. Procurement assistants must be comfortable with the written and spoken word, as well as proficient in mathematical computations.

A procurement assistant is responsible for keeping records of a company's inventory.
A procurement assistant is responsible for keeping records of a company's inventory.

The main duty of a procurement assistant is scheduling material purchases and estimating arrival times. Businesses cannot run out of essential items for creating a highly desired product, such as internal cell phone components. The assistant verifies current inventory and observes its depletion, both on paper or in electronic files, and in the physical warehouse. Low inventory levels require a purchase from the specific vendor for a timely shipment, preventing any inventory gaps.

A procurement assistant is responsible for finding new vendors with high quality products and low prices.
A procurement assistant is responsible for finding new vendors with high quality products and low prices.

Accuracy in ordering is essential for a successful procurement assistant. Each item quantity must be confirmed before the purchase order is placed with the vendor. A rogue typo or mistake can accidentally change an order from 44 to 444 items, causing a huge expense for the company and excessive inventory levels.

A procurement officer is responsible for scheduling purchases and estimating arrival times.
A procurement officer is responsible for scheduling purchases and estimating arrival times.

Once a shipment is received, the procurement assistant must verify that the items shipped match the purchase order in quantity and type. Any variations from the purchase order must be resolved by contacting the vendor. The assistant needs to have sharp communication skills for settling any shipment misunderstandings. Communications with vendors may be in the form of phone calls, email, or faxes.

A procurement officer is responsible for purchasing supplies for a company.
A procurement officer is responsible for purchasing supplies for a company.

Another key duty for a procurement assistant is finding new vendors with quality products and low costs. Material costs tend to rise with inflation, causing the overall manufactured product to have a higher price tag. Procurement assistants can find alternative material vendors, through industry networking, to provide supplies less expensively. The assistant may even have conference calls with his or her supervisors, and the possible new vendor, to create a business agreement.

Depending on the industry, the procurement assistant may need to be familiar with government customs laws for importing materials. Many companies use materials from other countries, cutting essential parts costs. Importing parts takes more time than moving materials domestically, so the assistant would need to take the extra shipment time into consideration to prevent production interruption.

This assistant also generally approves payment of goods received. Any disputes over a shipment will not be paid until the procurement assistant resolves and approves the bill of sale. The assistant may need to physically count inventory repeatedly for solving quantity inconsistencies, requiring agile movement through inventory bins or warehouses.

A procurement assistant may be responsible for finding new vendors.
A procurement assistant may be responsible for finding new vendors.

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Discussion Comments

Jolecter
I think that this would depend on the place posting the job, or the type of industry you want to be a procurement assistant in. Some places might require some form of college education, while others may require a certain number of years of experience, but others may be willing to train someone with neither experience nor education.
Hymnomove

Is any kind of special education needed to become a procurement assistant?

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