As with any sort of team that is composed of various people with varying obligations, procurement teams are normally staffed with a spectrum of professionals and specialists. Each member on a procurement team has a specific set of obligations and duties that need to be fulfilled in order to keep the entire procurement department operating smoothly. One of the most crucial members of the procurement team is the sourcing specialist. 

The sourcing specialist is a procurement professional that carries extensive knowledge of their commodity field, and performs a myriad of activities related to the procurement process. The two main functions of a sourcing specialist is working with contracts and vendors to negotiate the best possible prices and deals, as well as to evaluate and assess the overall efficiency of the procurement department. In assessing the procurement department, the sourcing specialist is also tasked with improving the processes and procedures that currently exist within the procurement framework. 

Between identifying points of improvement in the current procurement processes and procedures, and negotiating with vendors and suppliers, the sourcing specialist plays a vital role in the overall success of the procurement team. 

While there is no doubting the importance of the sourcing specialist, emphasising this role is not to downplay other procurement professional positions like contract managers, or simply procurement team members. Each and every professional involved in the procurement department plays a vital role in the success of the department as a whole. 

Breaking Down the Sourcing Specialist Role

As already mentioned, the sourcing specialist has two main areas of responsibility. The first, negotiating and managing existing contracts and vendors to achieve the best possible prices available. One way sourcing specialists accomplish these negotiation activities is through the use of e-sourcing software

E-sourcing software offers all sorts of benefits to procurement professionals that contribute to improving efficiency and finding larger pools of savings. 

While simultaneously negotiating contracts and working with vendors and suppliers, sourcing specialists are also constantly conducting internal reviews and taking note of the current processes and procedures that compose their procurement departments. This ‘in-the-fire’ type approach to procedural evaluation is especially effective in departments like procurement that are almost constantly churning. 

The sourcing process itself is composed of five key components which include, spend analysis, e-sourcing and eProcurement, contract management, supplier management, and savings management. All of which the sourcing specialist needs to be familiar with, if not an expert in. Many procurement teams rely on the sourcing specialist to be somewhat of a bank of knowledge, as they should be capable to perform the duties associated with all five elements that make up the sourcing process. 

Not all sourcing specialists are created equally, however. Like in any field, there is a spectrum of talent among sourcing specialists, and there is a significant difference in the performance from top-tier procurement sourcing specialists, to your everyday sourcing professional. 

The Benefits of an Expert Sourcing Specialist

The benefits of staffing an expert sourcing specialist are far and wide. As their role is immersive and involved in almost every element of the procurement department, an expert sourcing specialist will bring a major advantage to any organization. 

Some of the benefits that an experienced and expert level sourcing specialist will bring can include significant improvements to efficiencies within the procurement department, better pricing on existing and future contracts, and longer-lasting supplier relationships that yield higher levels of overall lifetime savings. 

Additionally, really great sourcing specialists will embrace the bandwidth of their position, and make a point to teach their surrounding staff-members. This further empowers the developing procurement professionals to own their roles in the procurement process, and leads to a stronger understanding of the procurement software and ultimately, higher levels of efficiency. 

Sourcing specialists take on a wide bandwidth of responsibility within procurement teams, making them a very valuable resource to procurement departments. Pairing a strong sourcing specialist with the intuitive and easy to use procurement software can yield massive company-wide benefits relating to savings, efficiency, and departmental communication. 

For details on other procurement professional roles, or the many benefits that powerful procurement software from ProcurePort can offer your organization, visit ProcurePort today, the internet’s most robust knowledge-base on everything procurement.