Career Development

What Does a Sourcing Specialist Do?

Find out what a sourcing specialist does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a sourcing specialist.

Sourcing specialists are responsible for finding the best deals on materials, supplies, and other goods. They commonly work with vendors to negotiate prices and terms of sale, but they may also be involved in more strategic tasks such as identifying new suppliers or evaluating supplier performance.

Sourcing specialists often specialize in a particular industry or sector. For example, they might focus on sourcing raw materials for manufacturing companies or sourcing finished products for retail companies. In either case, their goal is to find the best possible price while maintaining quality standards.

Sourcing Specialist Job Duties

A sourcing specialist typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Reviewing purchase orders to ensure that they are complete and accurate according to company policies
  • Working with suppliers to develop new products or improve existing products to meet customer needs
  • Negotiating prices with suppliers and ensuring that they meet company standards for cost effectiveness
  • Managing the purchasing cycle, including creating purchase orders and negotiating contracts with suppliers
  • Working with internal departments to obtain necessary information about products, suppliers, or markets for analysis
  • Providing technical knowledge about materials, products, manufacturing processes, and other industry-specific knowledge for use in negotiations with suppliers
  • Reviewing bids from potential suppliers and selecting a supplier based on criteria such as price, quality, and reliability of service
  • Coordinating with finance staff to ensure that invoices are paid promptly
  • Reviewing supplier performance to ensure that quality standards are being met and problems are addressed quickly

Sourcing Specialist Salary & Outlook

Sourcing specialists’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses or commissions.

  • Median Annual Salary: $66,500 ($31.97/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $100,000 ($48.08/hour)

The employment of sourcing specialists is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Demand for sourcing services will depend on the demand for products and services produced by firms. As companies continue to outsource production to other countries, they will need to ensure that quality standards are maintained and costs are kept low. Sourcing specialists will be needed to evaluate suppliers and monitor product quality.

Related: Sourcing Specialist Interview Questions and Answers

Sourcing Specialist Job Requirements

A sourcing specialist typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: A sourcing specialist is typically required to have a bachelor’s degree in a field such as business, supply chain management or a related discipline. Some of the coursework that these programs include is procurement, contract management, inventory management, logistics and supply chain management.

Training & Experience: Sourcing specialists typically receive on-the-job training after they are hired. This training may include learning the company’s specific sourcing software and processes. It may also include instruction on how to handle the logistics of the job, such as how to ship and track packages.

Sourcing specialists can also receive training through internships or entry-level positions. During these experiences, they can learn more about the logistics industry and how to source products. They can also learn about the different roles and responsibilities of sourcing specialists.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications can validate a professional’s qualifications to current and future employers. A sourcing specialist can earn certifications to gain more practical knowledge of their daily responsibilities, test their professional skills and further advance their career.

Sourcing Specialist Skills

Sourcing specialists need the following skills in order to be successful:

Technical skills: Sourcing specialists use a variety of software programs to complete their work, including sourcing platforms, project management software and email clients. Technical skills can include knowledge of computer programs and how to use them to complete work.

Communication skills: Communication skills are essential for sourcing specialists, as they often work with a team of sourcing professionals. You should be able to clearly convey information to your team members and understand their feedback. You should also be able to communicate with suppliers and clients, as sourcing specialists often negotiate contracts and agreements with suppliers and ensure clients are satisfied with the products they receive.

Problem-solving skills: Sourcing specialists use their problem-solving skills to find solutions to challenges that arise during sourcing processes. For example, if a supplier is unable to meet a certain production deadline, a sourcing specialist may use their problem-solving skills to find a new supplier or develop a contingency plan.

Research skills: Sourcing specialists use research skills to find suppliers and gather information about their products. They also use research skills to find information about the company’s needs and the market trends. This information helps sourcing specialists find suppliers that can meet the company’s needs.

Analytical skills: Analytical skills are the ability to gather information and draw conclusions from it. Sourcing specialists use analytical skills to evaluate data and make informed decisions about sourcing strategies. They also use analytical skills to evaluate potential suppliers and determine if they’re a good fit for the company.

Sourcing Specialist Work Environment

Sourcing specialists are responsible for finding and evaluating suppliers of goods and services for their company. They work closely with purchasing managers to select vendors and negotiate contracts. Sourcing specialists typically work in an office environment, but they may travel to supplier facilities to evaluate their products and services. They may also travel to attend trade shows and conferences. Sourcing specialists typically work full time, and they may work overtime to meet deadlines or to attend evening or weekend events.

Sourcing Specialist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how sourcing specialists work. Sourcing specialists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of Supply Chain Talent

The growth of supply chain talent is a trend that is quickly changing the way businesses operate. As companies become more reliant on sourcing and procurement, they are looking for professionals who can help them find the best products at the best prices.

This trend is creating opportunities for sourcing specialists who can help businesses find the products they need to run their operations. By understanding the latest trends in sourcing and procurement, these professionals can help businesses find the products they need to stay competitive.

More Focus on Sustainability

As businesses become more aware of the importance of sustainability, they are beginning to focus more on sourcing products from suppliers who have a track record of environmental responsibility. This means that sourcing specialists will need to be familiar with the latest sustainability trends and how to source products that meet the needs of their customers.

In addition, sourcing specialists will need to be able to identify suppliers who can provide products that meet the needs of their customers while also being environmentally responsible. This requires a deep understanding of the latest sustainability trends and how to source products that meet the needs of both the customer and the environment.

Greater Use of Technology

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the sourcing process. With the use of technology, sourcing professionals can now access a wider range of products and services than ever before.

As technology continues to evolve, sourcing professionals will need to learn how to use it to their advantage. This includes learning how to use online tools to find the best deals on products and services, as well as learning how to use social media to connect with potential suppliers.

How to Become a Sourcing Specialist

A sourcing specialist career can be a great way to start your career in procurement. It’s a good way to learn about the different types of products and services that companies buy, as well as how to find the best suppliers for those products and services.

As you progress in your career, you may want to specialize in a particular area of sourcing, such as strategic sourcing or commodity purchasing. You could also move into a management role, leading a team of sourcing specialists.

Advancement Prospects

Sourcing specialists are in charge of finding and evaluating suppliers for their company. They work with other departments within the company to ensure that they are getting the best possible products and services for the best possible price. As they gain experience, sourcing specialists may move up to become sourcing managers or procurement managers. With further experience and education, they may become supply chain managers.

Sourcing Specialist Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we are always looking for new and innovative ways to improve our products and services. Part of this process is sourcing the best possible materials at the best possible price. We’re looking for a sourcing specialist to join our team and help us find the best suppliers for the materials we need. The ideal candidate will have experience in sourcing and procurement, as well as a keen eye for detail. He or she will be responsible for identifying potential suppliers, negotiating contracts, and maintaining relationships with existing suppliers.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Understand and comply with all company policies and procedures related to this position and the performance of its duties
  • Maintain a high level of confidentiality regarding company information at all times
  • Develop and maintain strong working relationships with vendors, suppliers, and other team members
  • Understand the company’s products, services, and processes in order to provide accurate and timely information to vendors and suppliers
  • Respond to vendor and supplier inquiries in a professional and courteous manner
  • Negotiate pricing and contract terms with vendors and suppliers on behalf of the company
  • Monitor vendor and supplier performance to ensure compliance with contractual obligations
  • Resolve issues and disputes between the company and vendors or suppliers in a timely and efficient manner
  • Prepare reports and analyses of vendor and supplier performance as needed
  • Assist in the development and implementation of sourcing strategies for new and existing products and services
  • Identify opportunities for cost savings and process improvements within the sourcing function
  • Perform other duties as assigned

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, supply chain management, or related field
  • 3-5 years experience in sourcing or procurement role
  • Demonstrated ability to negotiate pricing and terms with suppliers
  • Experience developing and managing supplier relationships
  • Strong analytical skills for evaluating cost and quality data
  • Excellent communication, presentation, and project management skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • MBA or other advanced degree
  • CPP or CPSM certification
  • Experience with e-sourcing tools, such as SAP Ariba or Oracle iSupplier
  • Familiarity with import/export regulations
  • Language skills


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