Many organisations need the services of outside vendors, suppliers and service providers. A procurement consultant coordinates these efforts to find quality and cost-effective products and services for an organisation and, as a consultant, may be contracted for short or long-term procurement with an organisation. Similar job titles include purchasing manager and buyer.
A procurement consultant can work in a variety of business settings and industries, and may procure indirect or raw materials and services, as well as other supplies. In most cases, employers prefer candidates who have experience in one of these specific areas, as each needs different knowledge and purchasing methods. Those who purchase raw materials often spend time travelling to manufacturers who produce the materials to test the quality of the materials and understand the manufacturing process before purchasing. Those who buy indirect or manufactured materials spend most of their day on the phone, as well as meeting with vendors and suppliers to establish relationships and find the best deals. Procurement professionals who buy services often have expertise in developing contracts and negotiating pricing.
Education for this occupation varies depending on the type of employer, as well as the products and services these professionals purchase. Some employers may not require a degree for non-technical purchasing, while others may require a technical degree if the products or services being purchased are technical. Employment opportunities increase for those who have a graduate degree in business, economics, purchasing or a related discipline.
Because this occupation provides consulting services, it typically signifies a professional who has at least five years' experience in a procurement role, as well as experience in the industry of the employer. Many employers prefer candidates with certified or chartered credentials.
A procurement consultant establishes policies and procedures for procurement, and establishes the procurement process to meet the organisation standards and expectations. These professionals also analyse vendor costs, create proposals and contracts for the procurement of materials or services and select vendors or suppliers. Throughout the procurement process, the procurement consultant establishes and maintains reports to track completion of procurement deliverables and ensures they adhere to the overall requirements of the materials or services.
Salary can vary for this occupation depending on the employer and type of procurement being done. As of 2014, procurement specialists earned between £15,000 and £35,000 a year. Senior buyers and purchasing managers can earn £50,000 a year or more, according to the National Careers Service.