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Acquisition management is the process of obtaining resources needed for a company to produce the products sold to consumers. Other terms for this process include procurement or contract management. Large organizations and publicly held companies are common users of acquisition management because they have the most need for it and can allocate personnel to this task. Additionally, colleges and universities now offer degrees focusing on this management process so companies can have the most benefit from employees working the company.
Companies today often prefer to have employees with a certain degree of technical skills. Most individuals first learn these skills by obtaining a four-year college degree or a graduate degree in acquisition management. Coursework for the undergraduate degree includes general management, accounting, corporate finance and organizational management. Core courses include contract law, government pricing and contracts, negotiation and general contract management. Other concentrated courses can include pricing and financial management, cost analysis, project management, managerial economics and performance-based contract service.
During the acquisition management process, companies must find and select business partners who are adequate enough to fill long-term business needs. For major purchases or continuous future relationships, companies will use contracts to ensure they receive specific benefits from the vendor or supplier. The acquisitions manager often takes the lead, as this position is responsible for doing the legwork on the process and reporting the information to upper management. Executive management will then make a decision based on this information.
In a technologically advanced business environment, acquisition management will need a background in business information systems or other computer software used by the company. For example, many companies operate using electronic data interchange. Through this tool, most orders from a company and its suppliers or vendors occur through computer-transferred orders. The acquisitions manager will need to monitor these systems, however, and ensure they operate according to preset designs. The management team may also need to integrate these systems as they change between different suppliers and vendors, making it important that the acquisitions manager has a background in this area.
Another focus of acquisition management is performance evaluation. This is necessary to ensure the company receives the maximum benefits from materials purchased through suppliers and vendors. Owners and managers will often work with the acquisitions manager to ensure the procurement department has policies in place to maximize benefits. Cost analysis and performance reviews also find new areas for the company to find ways for saving money, a improving the return on capital spent for business operations.