Acquisition is a process private and public organizations use to obtain goods and services, usually by contracting. In charge of this process are acquisition specialists, professionals who also map out strategies for ensuring organizations purchase what they want efficiently and affordably. Acquisition specialists can practice in a variety of industries, ranging from health care and educational services to construction and agriculture.
Acquisition specialists formulate strategies for acquiring materials, goods or services. They usually review the organization's needs, determine funding sources and analyze supplier markets. For example, when a certain market lacks reliable pharmaceutical distributors, an acquisition specialist working at a hospital may create a strategy that focuses on sourcing pharmaceutical products directly from a manufacturer. The specialist also reviews the performance of existing acquisition strategies and makes adjustments where necessary.
Contract negotiation is another function of acquisition specialists. They ensure their organizations secure profitable deals. For example, land acquisition specialists working for construction firms negotiate lease contracts with landowners, while property acquisition specialists negotiate with property developers to purchase industrial, commercial or residential buildings at cost-effective prices. These specialists also have administrative tasks, such as supervising a firm's purchasing agents and buyers.
Acquisition specialists commonly hold bachelor’s degrees in business administration, property management or procurement. Those working in military organizations may require additional qualifications, such as obtaining security clearances. In 2013, the average annual wage for purchasing managers was $109,640, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.