Purchasing Engineer

Purchasing Engineer

AEHQ Automotive Career Choices 1 Comment

Have you ever received a gift of clothes from a relative or friend? Unless these gift-givers knew us very well these gifts often were the wrong color, size and sometimes a style from a different era. The clothing may have been unusable and sent to the dark recesses of a closet never to be worn again. In the automotive engineering world purchasing engineers are responsible for all incoming materials, components and subassemblies; their role is to ensure that they meet all specifications and requirements so that they can be used correctly in production. Purchasing engineers have the important job of making sure that incoming materials will not be relegated to the warehouse wasting valuable resources and keeping production up and running with high quality materials.

Purchasing Engineer Job Description

Purchasing engineers handle a variety of products and work across all areas of engineering from collaborating with design engineering on material selection to working with production and manufacturing engineers to ensure that the subassemblies arrive in packaging that works in the production process. The purchasing engineer will work with all phases of the product development cycle from the selection of new materials and obtaining samples from new suppliers for evaluations, all the way to final validation testing of the product and selecting the best supplier.

Purchasing engineers receive the requirements and specifications from the design department and then will begin to search out a supplier that can produce a part to meet those specifications. They will investigate external and internal suppliers and send out a design requirements package and request for quotation from a group of selected suppliers. The suppliers will then review the design requirements and get any clarification needed so that they can provide a quotation. The supplier will then review the requirements internally and provide a quotation that will include the price per unit and production schedule. These quotations are then reviewed by the purchasing engineer and the best fit for the part selected. Once a supplier is selected contracts are signed, forecasts provided and blanket purchase orders are issued to move forward with production. While the product is in production the purchasing engineer will manage the supplier and address any contractual issues that arise to a steady, on-time stream of parts to support production.

Purchasing Engineers are also responsible for cost negotiations with their parts. While the design engineer may want the most expensive perfect material for her design, it is the purchasers job to challenge them and meet financial budgets for the project. The purchasing department is usually responsible for coordinating cost down initiatives, which basically is a price renegotiation of all the components that make up a project. In factories which produce millions of parts a year, even a cost reduction of a few cents per part can make a huge difference to the bottom line.

Educational Requirements For a Purchasing Engineer

The first requirement for becoming a purchasing engineer is to earn a bachelor’s degree in an engineering field so that you have the basic understand of the engineering field and will be able to correctly manage engineering specifications and discuss these requirements with suppliers. Purchasing engineers need to have a solid understanding of materials and their properties as well as manufacturing processes to ensure that high-quality materials will be supplied. It is also important for purchasing engineers to have strong managerial skills and experience with contract negotiations in order to effectively manage their products and engage in sound contracts with suppliers. A bachelor’s degree is the bare minimum requirement in order to work as a purchasing engineer but to move ahead and manage the more technical or intricate parts you will want to have an advanced degree. Additionally, contract management, negotiations and excellent management skills will help you to advance your career as a purchasing engineer.

No matter what type of component, material or sub-assembly is needed the purchasing engineer plays an important role in procuring the part. Without the purchasing engineer’s work in negotiating a supplier contract to ensure a steady stream of high-quality parts, many production lines would not run smoothly or be mega-expensive. The purchasing engineer position gives the engineer a chance to have a big impact on the production process while working at a highly detailed level.

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