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What is a Procurement Consultant?

By Carol Francois
Updated May 16, 2024
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A procurement consultant is someone who has extensive experience in procurement or purchasing. There are four areas of focus for procurement consultants: procurement system installation, business process review, strategic procurement advice, and procurement training. Procurement consultants can work for large consulting firms or open their own practice. The vast majority of consultants are industry specific, building on a network of business contacts and experience within a specific industry. For example, a procurement specialist with experience in public sector very rarely works as a consultant in the manufacturing sector.

Well-developed people and negotiation skills are important in this type of work. In a consultant role, it is important to provide advice and guidance in a way that can be easily accepted and implemented. A great deal of business for a procurement consultant is based on referrals, so it is critical to build a good, solid reputation.

The vast majority of procurement consultants have a professional designation as a Certified Procurement Professional® (CPP®) from the National Association of Procurement Professionals®. In addition to this designation, many people in this field have degrees in business, accounting, economics or related fields. It is important to be able to immediately understand the clients' long-term goals and the issues and challenges they face.

Related work experience is essential for a procurement consultant. In addition to academic qualifications, candidates must have at least 10 years' experience working in a procurement role. Typically, this experience is obtained in a procurement professional role. However, a senior procurement consultant may require experience at a managerial or director level to function at this level of management.

People who want to open their own procurement consulting firm must ensure that they set up the correct business structure. Registering your business with the local government agency is critical. This step ensures that you can offer your professional services to companies, invoicing them for services, and depositing the payments into a business bank account. This process is also important from a taxation perspective, as registered businesses have a different set of tax rules and eligible deductions.

Consultants secure opportunities to provide their services through a range of methods. The consultant may decide to manage this aspect of the business himself, building business relationships and partnerships with key players directly. Some consultants sign contracts with specialized firms, who manage the business aspect of consulting, such as looking for clients, billing, and marketing. The services firm takes a portion of the consultant's earning as a fee. Either approach can be successful, you simply need to select the one that will work best for you.

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Discussion Comments
By anon999146 — On Nov 05, 2017

I say that is exactly how it should be where you the customer are met up with products or services that will fit your needs and budget. This should not be a mystery if adequate and proper communication is given ASAP. Very good.

By anon961230 — On Jul 15, 2014

I did an online search for the National Association of Procurement Professionals and it didn't show any results.

By Nefertini — On Feb 22, 2014

@Ceptorbi, I agree that a good procurement consultant can be invaluable to a business. There needs to be a clearly defined consultant agreement for this type of service so both parties know what is expected. You'll find lots of templates on the web, and it's wise to consult your corporate attorneys to review any contracts before they're signed.

By Ceptorbi — On Feb 22, 2014

A company I once worked for obtained procurement services from a consultant firm for new computers and software. The consultants obtained quotes from multiple vendors and helped the company get the best price and the best return on its investment along with the best hardware and software to meet its short-term and long-term goals.

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