What is a procurement engineer?
Procurement engineers oversee the purchase of technical equipment for an organization’s industrial operation. Their role is critical for running a business and completing projects on time. This career could be a great fit if you love technology and researching the most effective options.
Duties and responsibilities
A procurement engineer has a variety of job duties and qualifications. You’ll collaborate with other engineers/designers for this job, handle inspections, track supplies, and issue different purchase orders.
Other duties include analyzing data, evaluating equipment, negotiating agreements for the equipment and vendor contracts, and communicating with those in charge of the purchased equipment. This specific position in engineering requires a bachelor’s degree in either procurement engineering or another related field, such as supply chain management or business administration.
Communication is another key part of the role. Procurement engineers are responsible for updating stakeholders on the nature and function of purchased equipment and have to answer if something isn’t working or onsite when needed. There might be many options available, and it’s the job of the procurement engineer to find the best fit for the work that needs to be done.
Procurement engineers typically work in an office environment. They spend most of their day directing procurement processes, including working with vendors, suppliers, purchasing agents, and buyers. They also might visit suppliers and attend trade shows and conferences related to their field. Procurement managers work in various industries, including corporations, governments, and wholesalers.
Typical work hours
Most procurement engineers work a standard 9 AM to 5 PM schedule, Monday through Friday. Unless the specific industry requires odd hours, this schedule is typical for this role. If a production facility operates seven days a week, there may be some situations where you’ll be on call over the weekend if there are equipment issues.
How to become a procurement engineer
In order to become a procurement engineer, you will need a combination of education, training, and experience. In this career guide section, we cover the steps you’ll need to take to achieve your goal:
Step 1: Earn your bachelor’s degree
Once you have completed high school, enroll in an accredited college or university. There isn’t usually a specific degree in procurement, so a degree in engineering or a related field would be your best option for this career path.
Step 2: Gain experience in purchasing
The role of procurement engineer isn’t an entry-level position. Find a company that you like and work to gain some experience in purchasing or supply chain management. Getting on-the-job training on working with vendors and ordering materials will be better than any classroom education. Once you’re in a position with a company, it can be easier to advance within the organization.
Step 3: Consider becoming certified
Earning certifications can help your resume gain some attention. Plus, you’ll learn some specific information about procurement and can improve your methods. Here are two certification programs that are reputable and worth exploring:
- Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) – The CPP is provided by the American Purchasing Society. To be eligible, you must have at least two years of experience in purchasing. The society also obtains feedback from coworkers and suppliers as to your professional conduct. Once accepted, you must complete a three-week online course and pass an exam. Members of the society have to renew their certificates every five years. If you are a non-member, you have to recertify every two years.
- Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) – The CPSM is administered by the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) and is designed to prove your skills in all procurement and supply-chain-related functions. You are eligible for certification if you have three or more years of full-time supply management experience in a non-clerical or support role with a bachelor’s degree or five years without a degree. Topics covered include sourcing, negotiation, cost and price management, and supply chain strategy. Certifications are valid for three years.
Step 4: Take additional courses specific to procurement
In addition to the certification options, you can take some great online courses before becoming a procurement engineer. These courses will help prepare you for the role and give you great information about the role. You’ll also receive a certification to add to your resume upon completion.
- The Procurement Management course from Udemy covers all the basics of procurement and purchasing management. You’ll learn to evaluate suppliers, review contract terms, and make buy or build decisions.
- Engineering Project Management: Risk, Quality, Teams, and Procurement from Coursera will help project managers control the quality of deliverables and procure goods and services. This course is good for anyone that manages projects because it covers many parts of the process and how to get the best result.
- Take the Construction Procurement Management course for engineers new to the infrastructure and construction industry. You’ll learn how to write the scope of work, prepare and run tenders, and select sub-contractors. This is a good supplement to the engineering skills learned in college.
Step 5: Search for a job
Once you have all the education requirements completed and some experience in the field, you can start looking for jobs and apply. Utilize online job search engines and contact people within your network to see if they know of openings.
How much do procurement engineers make?
There are many variables that go into determining how much a procurement engineer makes, from company size to experience to education just to name a few.
The top-paying states for procurement engineers to work in are (shown in annual mean salary):
- Hawaii – $100,888
- Massachusetts – $99,719
- Nevada – $99,376
- Connecticut – $99,250
- Rhode Island – $97,257
The average national salary for a procurement engineer is:
Types of procurement engineers
Procurement engineers may care for a company’s needs or have a specialty within the organization. Companies typically have four different types of procurement needs, so it’s important to understand a bit about each one before starting this career. These four categories may have some overlap as well.
Direct and indirect procurement
Direct procurement involves the research and purchase of items that directly impact the products a company sells or puts out into the market. Indirect procurement is purchasing things that the business needs but don’t directly impact the product. This type can include office supplies, furniture, and other things you’ll find in the office employees utilize.
Goods and services procurement
Goods procurement involves ordering and locating raw materials needed for production, but it can also include purchasing software and the tools needed for the business. Services procurement covers all the people-based services to run a business. If you have to bring on any contractors or outside help, the procurement engineer in charge of the services will negotiate pricing and contract terms.
Top skills for procurement engineers
To begin a career in procurement engineering, it’s important to have an education in supply chain management or engineering. In addition to your bachelor’s degree, anyone interested in pursuing this career path should be analytical and good at negotiating. Procurement engineers negotiate contracts, including pricing and terms. It’s important to know how to read technical documents, assess needs for repairs or replacements, and understand specifications within your industry.
Procurement engineers should be critical thinkers with strong problem-solving abilities. Providing technical support and assisting with resolving problems with manufacturing and production. Having a few years of experience in supply chain management or purchasing will give you hands-on training to help you succeed in your career.
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Procurement engineers have a crucial role in companies. Once you’ve worked in this role for a few years, you can search for opportunities to become a director or vice president of procurement. Supply chain management is becoming increasingly important, and there may be expanded roles and opportunities for growth.
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Position trends and outlook
According to the industry publication Future of Sourcing, one trend in the procurement engineering field is the increasing number of digital and technological tools in the procurement space. Many products focus on creating new efficiencies in spending analytics, SRM, contract management, and risk management. Thought leaders say the most useful tools will emphasize the easy access to and use of big data. Another trend in the procurement industry is the volatility in the commodity market due to shifts in trade tariffs and barriers. That means procurement engineers must implement processes to track suppliers and manage that volatility.
Employment projections for procurement engineers
Procurement careers are expected to grow around 14% over the next decade, much higher than the average career growth rate. This is an excellent career path to work towards.
Procurement engineer career tips
Soft skills and traits for procurement engineers
Practice simple repair techniques on machines by taking things apart and learning how they work. Improve your negotiation skills by taking a course and practicing different strategies because procurement requires a lot of pricing and terms negotiations.
Commonly required skills and qualifications
Take courses in accounting, inventory management, and retail management to help you understand the full process of the role. Familiarize yourself with the common software systems. Most software companies offer free classes on their websites that will teach you some basic skills and tips to get the most out of the systems.
Develop a professional network
Build up your network of vendors and suppliers. The more people you know in your industry, the easier it will be to locate the best options. There are also some professional networks you could join, like these:
- Association for Supply Chain Management
- Procurement Leaders Network
- Institute for Supply Management
- National Institute of Governmental Purchasing
Where the jobs are
- Bain & Company
- GEP Worldwide
- Oliver Wyman
What does a procurement engineer do?
Procurement engineers are responsible for researching and purchasing the equipment and supplies for an organization. They handle all the contract negotiations and determine the parts required to fix anything that is having issues. The procurement engineer would manage any equipment and supplies used for manufacturing and production.
Is procurement a good career path?
Careers in procurement are great because the field is constantly growing and evolving. Understanding the technology and negotiating the best prices and contract terms will make you very desirable in the workforce.
What degree do I need to become a procurement engineer?
A small number of universities and colleges offer a specific procurement engineering degree. Still, students commonly study supply chain management, business, and engineering in college and then move into this more specialized field.
Do procurement engineers need to have a master’s degree?
A bachelor’s degree is typically required by companies hiring procurement engineers, but additional schooling isn’t usually required. It’s always a good idea to obtain a certificate in your specialized field. You can definitely work towards your master’s degree and open a few more possibilities, but it isn’t usually a requirement.
Is procurement a stressful job?
Procurement can be stressful because it involves organizing a lot of moving parts and ensuring that production is running smoothly. If the supply chain is having issues, it can be challenging to find new resources in a short amount of time. If you stay organized and on top of the orders and purchasing, you should maintain a fairly stress-free workday.
What is the highest-ranking career in procurement?
Some large companies have a Chief Procurement Officer (CPO), the highest rank in the procurement field. The role is often part of an organization’s supply chain management group, but the engineers are typically well-respected and highly positioned.
Do procurement engineers get paid well?
Procurement engineers make a good salary in most locations. The national average is just under $100,000 per year without including any bonus opportunities or additional benefits offered.
What are important skills for a career as a procurement engineer?
To become a strong procurement engineer, you should have good critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Being analytical helps because you’ll need to identify options and determine the best solution. Negotiation skills are also important because you’ll work with salespeople on pricing and delivery terms.
Are strong math skills required for procurement engineers?
Procurement engineers will need to be able to work well with numbers because there are a lot of pricing negotiations in the day-to-day tasks. You don’t need to be a complete expert at math, but you should be able to comfortably talk numbers and understand the impacts of a price change.
What are the best engineering roles to go into?
There are many different types of engineering careers, so choose something that interests you. Some roles require additional school after your bachelor’s degree, so decide if you want to get a graduate degree.