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.
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.
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.
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.
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.