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Become A Procurement Agent

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Working As A Procurement Agent

  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $75,225

    Average Salary

What Does A Procurement Agent Do

Buyers and purchasing agents buy products and services for organizations to use or resell. They evaluate suppliers, negotiate contracts, and review the quality of products.

Duties

Buyers and purchasing agents typically do the following:

  • Evaluate suppliers on the basis of the price, quality, and speed of delivery of their products and services
  • Interview vendors and visit suppliers’ plants and distribution centers to examine and learn about products, services, and prices
  • Attend meetings, trade shows, and conferences to learn about new industry trends and make contacts with suppliers
  • Analyze price proposals, financial reports, and other information to determine reasonable prices
  • Negotiate contracts on behalf of their organization
  • Work out agreements with suppliers, such as when products will be delivered
  • Meet with staff and vendors to discuss defective or unacceptable goods or services and determine corrective action
  • Evaluate and monitor contracts to be sure that vendors and supplies comply with the terms and conditions of the contract and to determine the need for changes
  • Maintain and review records of items bought, costs, deliveries, product performance, and inventories

Buyers and purchasing agents buy farm products, durable and nondurable goods, and services for organizations and institutions. They try to get the best deal for their organization: the highest quality goods and services at the lowest cost. They do this by studying sales records and inventory levels of current stock, identifying foreign and domestic suppliers, and keeping up to date with changes affecting both the supply of, and demand for, products and materials.

Purchasing agents and buyers consider price, quality, availability, reliability, and technical support when choosing suppliers and merchandise. To be effective, purchasing agents and buyers must have a working technical knowledge of the goods or services they are purchasing.

Evaluating suppliers is one of the most critical functions of a buyer or purchasing agent. Many organizations run on a lean manufacturing schedule and use just-in-time inventories, so any delays in the supply chain can shut down production and cause the organization to lose customers.

Buyers and purchasing agents use many resources to find out all they can about potential suppliers. They attend meetings, trade shows, and conferences to learn about new industry trends and make contacts with suppliers.

They often interview prospective suppliers and visit their plants and distribution centers to assess their capabilities. For example, they may discuss the design of products with design engineers, quality concerns with production supervisors, or shipping issues with managers in the receiving department.

Buyers and purchasing agents must make certain that the supplier can deliver the desired goods or services on time, in the correct quantities, and without sacrificing quality. Once they have gathered information on suppliers, they sign contracts with suppliers who meet the organization’s needs and they place orders.

Buyers who purchase items to resell to customers may determine which products their organization will sell. They need to be able to predict what will appeal to their customers. If they are wrong, they could jeopardize the profits and reputation of their organization.

Buyers who work for large organizations often specialize in purchasing one or two categories of products or services. Buyers who work for smaller businesses or government agencies may be responsible for making a greater variety of purchases.

Wholesale and retail buyers purchase goods for resale to consumers. Examples of these goods are clothing and electronics. Purchasing specialists who buy finished goods for resale are commonly known as buyers or merchandise managers.

Purchasing agents and buyers of farm products buy agricultural products for further processing or resale. Examples of these products are grain, cotton, and tobacco.

Purchasing agents, except wholesale, retail, and farm products buy items for the operation of an organization. Examples of these items are chemicals and industrial equipment needed for a manufacturing establishment, and office supplies.

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How To Become A Procurement Agent

Although a high school diploma may be sufficient for some positions, many employers require buyers and purchasing agents to have a bachelor’s degree. Most entry-level positions require some form of on-the-job training.

Education

Educational requirements usually vary with the size of the organization. Although a high school diploma may be enough at some organizations, many businesses require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree. For many positions, a degree in business, finance, or supply management is sufficient.

For those interested in a career as a buyer or purchasing agent of farm products, a degree in agriculture, agriculture production, or animal science is often beneficial.

Training

Buyers and purchasing agents typically get on-the-job training for more than 1 year. During this time, they learn how to perform their basic duties, including monitoring inventory levels and negotiating with suppliers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

There are several certifications available for buyers and purchasing agents. Although some employers require certification, many do not.

Most of these certifications involve oral or written exams and have education and work experience requirements.

The Institute for Supply Management offers the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) credential, which covers a wide scope of purchasing professional duties. To receive the CPSM credential, candidates must pass three exams and those with a bachelor’s degree must possess at least 3 years of relevant work experience while those without a bachelor’s degree must have at least 5 years of relevant work experience.

The American Purchasing Society offers the Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) certification. The CPP certification is valid for 5 years. Candidates must earn a certain number of professional development “points” to renew their certification. Candidates initially become eligible and can renew their certification through a combination of purchasing-related experience, education, and professional contributions (such as published articles or delivered speeches).

APICS offers the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. Applicants must have 3 years of relevant business experience or a bachelor’s degree in order to be eligible for the CSCP credential. The credential is valid for 5 years. Candidates must also earn a certain number of professional development points to renew their certification.

The Next Level Purchasing Association offers the Senior Professional in Supply Management (SPSM) Certification. Although there are no education or work experience requirements, applicants must complete six online courses and pass an SPSM exam. Certification is valid for 4 years. Candidates must complete 32 continuing education hours in procurement-related topics to recertify for an additional four-year period.

The Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC) offers two certifications for workers in federal, state, and local government. The Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) credential requires applicants to have earned at least an associate’s degree, possess at least 3 years of public procurement experience, and complete relevant training courses. The Certified Public Purchasing Officer (CPPO) requires applicants to have earned a bachelor’s degree, possess at least 5 years of public procurement experience, and complete additional training courses.

Those with the CPPB or the CPPO designation must renew their certification every 5 years by completing continuing education courses or attending procurement-related conferences or events.

The National Institute of Government Purchasing (NIGP), Institute for Public Procurement offers preparation courses for the UPPCC certification exams.

Advancement

An experienced purchasing agent or buyer may become an assistant purchasing manager before advancing to purchasing manager, supply manager, or director of materials management. Buyers and purchasing agents with extensive work experience can also advance to become the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) for an organization.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. When evaluating suppliers, buyers and purchasing agents must analyze their options and choose a supplier with the best combination of price, quality, delivery, or service. 

Decisionmaking skills. Buyers and purchasing agents must have the ability to make informed and timely decisions, choosing products that they think will sell.

Math skills. Buyers and purchasing agents must possess basic math skills. They must be able to compare prices from different suppliers to ensure that their organization is getting the best deal. 

Negotiating skills. Buyers and purchasing agents often must negotiate the terms of a contract with a supplier. Interpersonal skills and self-confidence, in addition to knowledge of the product, can help lead to successful negotiations.

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Procurement Agent jobs

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Procurement Agent Career Paths

Procurement Agent
Contracts Manager Account Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Global Sourcing
12 Yearsyrs
Technical Recruiter Account Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Purchasing
10 Yearsyrs
Contracts Manager Contracts Administrator Purchasing Manager
Director Of Sourcing
13 Yearsyrs
Contracts Specialist Subcontract Administrator Purchasing Manager
Director Of Strategic Sourcing
13 Yearsyrs
Supply Chain Manager
Director Of Supply Chain Management
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Sourcing Specialist Purchasing Manager
Director, Procurement
13 Yearsyrs
All-Source Analyst Senior Analyst Purchasing Manager
Global Procurement Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Supply Chain Manager
Global Supply Chain Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Technical Director Production Manager
Material Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Supply Manager Logistics Manager Material Manager
Material Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Purchasing Manager General Manager Account Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Category Manager Sales Manager Purchasing Manager
Procurement Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Supply Chain Specialist Project Manager Purchasing Manager
Project Procurement Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Marketing Manager Operations Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Supply Chain Specialist Purchasing Manager
Senior Manager, Procurement
11 Yearsyrs
Technical Recruiter Project Manager Purchasing Manager
Senior Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Recruiter Senior Sourcing Specialist Purchasing Manager
Senior Sourcing Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Contracts Specialist Contracts Administrator
Subcontracts Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Purchasing Manager
Supply Chain Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Finance Analyst Product Manager Senior Buyer
Supply Manager
6 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Senior Buyer 5.1 years
Purchasing Manager 4.6 years
Purchasing Buyer 4.2 years
Purchasing Agent 4.0 years
Corporate Buyer 3.9 years
Buyer 3.8 years
Planner/Buyer 3.8 years
Technical Buyer 3.8 years
Procurement Buyer 3.4 years
Contractor Buyer 3.3 years
Buyer Lead 3.3 years
Strategic Buyer 3.3 years
Buyer/Expeditor 3.2 years
Procurement Agent 3.0 years
Purchase Analyst 2.7 years
Top Employers Before
Buyer 17.5%
Senior Buyer 10.7%
Recruiter 5.3%
Internship 5.2%
Manager 2.2%
Top Employers After
Buyer 13.1%
Senior Buyer 10.6%
Recruiter 7.1%
Manager 3.0%
Consultant 2.2%

Procurement Agent Demographics

Gender

Male

48.9%

Female

48.7%

Unknown

2.4%
Ethnicity

White

78.0%

Hispanic or Latino

10.1%

Asian

9.3%

Unknown

1.9%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

43.2%

Chinese

10.8%

French

9.7%

Mandarin

5.8%

German

5.8%

Japanese

4.2%

Portuguese

3.5%

Russian

2.7%

Italian

2.3%

Arabic

2.3%

Korean

1.5%

Carrier

1.5%

Hindi

1.2%

Urdu

1.2%

Bulgarian

0.8%

Wolof

0.8%

Dari

0.8%

Thai

0.8%

Czech

0.8%

Swedish

0.4%
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Procurement Agent Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

21.4%

Michigan State University

8.0%

Pennsylvania State University

6.4%

Arizona State University

6.2%

Webster University

4.8%

Strayer University

4.3%

Ashford University

4.1%

Purdue University

3.9%

Western Michigan University

3.9%

Villanova University

3.7%

DePaul University

3.7%

Wichita State University

3.6%

University of Houston

3.6%

North Carolina State University

3.2%

American InterContinental University

3.2%

Community College of the Air Force

3.2%

Liberty University

3.2%

Friends University

3.2%

Indiana Wesleyan University

3.2%

Texas A&M University

3.0%
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Majors

Business

45.7%

Supply Chain Management

7.8%

Management

7.0%

Marketing

5.1%

Accounting

3.8%

Human Resources Management

3.7%

Finance

3.5%

Communication

3.3%

Psychology

2.5%

Political Science

2.2%

Project Management

2.0%

International Business

1.9%

Education

1.7%

Economics

1.6%

Criminal Justice

1.6%

Computer Science

1.4%

Operations Management

1.4%

English

1.4%

General Studies

1.3%

Industrial Engineering

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

47.9%

Masters

24.0%

Other

15.3%

Associate

6.7%

Certificate

4.5%

Doctorate

1.1%

Diploma

0.6%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Procurement Agent Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Strategic Commodity Buyer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jul 08, 2013 $162,240 -
$182,240
Strategic Sourcing Specialist Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA May 16, 2016 $133,560 -
$168,200
Strategic Sourcing Specialist Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA May 25, 2016 $130,000 -
$168,200
Strategic Sourcing Specialist Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Aug 24, 2016 $127,200 -
$151,300
Senior Strategic Sourcing Specialist Noven Pharmaceuticals, Inc. New York, NY Aug 15, 2013 $120,000
Lead Sourcing Specialist Medline Industries Waukegan, IL Sep 09, 2015 $112,000
Strategic Sourcing Specialist, Epowertrain Nextev LLC San Jose, CA Nov 28, 2016 $110,000
PR. Strategic Sourcing Specialist/Engineer Medtronic, Inc. Fridley, MN Feb 22, 2016 $98,821 -
$108,000
Sourcing Specialist Schlumberger Technology Corporation Rosharon, TX Nov 21, 2014 $96,640
Strategic Sourcing Specialist Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Burbank, CA Apr 09, 2016 $96,600
Strategic Sourcing Specialist Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Burbank, CA Jan 10, 2016 $96,600
Sourcing Specialist Parker Hannifin Corporation Richmond, CA Apr 20, 2015 $95,000 -
$105,000
Sourcing Specialist Schlumberger Technology Corporation Rosharon, TX Jan 08, 2016 $94,640
Sourcing Specialist Schlumberger Technology Corporation Rosharon, TX Dec 03, 2014 $94,640
Strategic Sourcing Specialist Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Burbank, CA Sep 04, 2013 $83,556
Sourcing Specialist Schlumberger Technology Corporation Sugar Land, TX Jul 01, 2016 $83,000
Sourcing Specialist Unicarriers Americas Corporation Marengo, IL Mar 21, 2016 $82,596 -
$85,000
Specialist Project Sourcing Honeywell International Inc. Houston, TX Aug 28, 2016 $82,400
Specialist Strategic Sourcing-Senior Exterran Energy Solutions, L.P. Houston, TX Oct 11, 2016 $81,952 -
$92,000
Specialist Strategic Sourcing-Senior Exterran Energy Solutions, L.P. Houston, TX Jan 03, 2016 $81,890 -
$91,000
Sustainable Sourcing Specialist Coinstar Procurement, LLC Oakbrook Terrace, IL Jun 10, 2015 $81,349
Authorized Officer, Sourcing Specialist Chain IQ Us Inc. Weehawken, NJ May 12, 2014 $67,500 -
$72,000
Global Strategic Sourcing Specialist Halo Branded Solutions Sterling, IL Sep 09, 2014 $67,000
Commodity Buyer ZF Steering Systems LLC Florence, KY Nov 06, 2014 $67,000
Sourcing Specialist Royal Stone, Inc. Miami, FL Jun 01, 2016 $66,518
Strategic Sourcing Specialist AES Us Services LLC Indianapolis, IN Sep 04, 2015 $66,000 -
$110,000
Commodity Buyer Key Safety Systems Inc. Sterling Heights, MI Sep 05, 2013 $65,000 -
$80,000
Sourcing Specialist Whirlpool Corporation Benton Harbor, MI Sep 01, 2015 $65,000
Procurement Agent Odebrecht Construction, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 14, 2014 $64,999

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Top Skills for A Procurement Agent

SupplyChainPurchaseOrdersNewVendorsPartsProceduresCostSavingsCommodityLogisticsCostReductionProposalsSupplierPerformanceRFQSupplyBaseRFPRawMaterialsCustomerServiceSupplierManagementProcessImprovementInternationalSuppliersBuyers

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Top Procurement Agent Skills

  1. Supply Chain
  2. Purchase Orders
  3. New Vendors
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Managed Receiving Department (4 people) supply chain lean manufacturing, quality inventory; through improved software.
  • Issued purchase orders, expediting, typing and filing Scope of Work (SOW) and other supplier contracts.
  • Identified new vendors to support business development activity, negotiated blanket order contracts and payment terms.
  • Coordinated and facilitated communications between service parts and production personnel.
  • Review purchase requisitions for appropriateness with regard to budgets and their conformance with established policies and procedures.

Top Procurement Agent Employers

Procurement Agent Videos

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