For businesses and organizations that do business with vendors and sellers, procurement is a critical process. Procurement, also known as purchasing, is the process of purchasing goods and services for a business at a reasonable price that meets the needs and budget of the business. A procurement technician's responsibility is to solicit vendors for the best pricing without compromising quality according to objectives set by management.
A procurement technician works in an office setting with several other technicians. As a procurement technician, an individual may be assigned to a certain commodity or service group. For example, a procurement technician can be well versed in the ordering of janitorial supplies while the other technician can responsible for furniture and fixtures. The technician typically reports to a procurement manager or supervisor. The procurement technician always analyzes cost and quality of goods and services and establishes vendor relationships.
A procurement technician must have outstanding oral and written communication skills. Knowledge of computer applications is a must, because in many cases, the business or organization will have management information systems that provide reports and analysis of procurement activities. Strong math skills are needed to analyze cost and savings when ordering goods or services. The procurement technician must also have knowledge of establishing purchase orders and tracking invoices.
According to Payscale.com, the five popular industries for procurement technicians to work in are information technology, engineering services, aerospace and defense, manufacturing and distribution and military and defense. The average annual salary for an apprentice procurement technician or an individual with less than one year of experience is between $33,000 and $50,000, while those with 20 years of experience or more can make up to nearly $70,000.
The employment outlook for procurement technicians is fair, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Growth is projected at 6 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is slightly lower than the average expected growth of all professions.
According to the BLS, procurement technicians need a high school diploma. Most industries offer on-the-job training to their procurement staff. However, there are educational programs that a procurement technician can participate in that can translate into a higher salary. The Procurement Association of America (PAA) and Certified Procurement Professional (CPP) are industry certifications based on work experience and testing. Also, a bachelor’s degree in logistics management, business or economics can be beneficial for an individual seeking employment at a mid-level management position as a procurement technician.