Category Lead - Direct in Mobile, AL at Austal

Job Snapshot

Employee Type:



Mobile, AL

Job Description

Any qualified individual with a disability who is having difficulty in completing an application because of incompatible technology or other disability-related application issues may contact us at the following phone number for assistance: 251-445-1932.
Austal shall abide by the requirements of 41 CFR §§ 60-1.4(a), 60-300.5(a) and 60-741.5(a). These regulations prohibit discrimination against qualified individuals based on their status as protected veterans or individuals with disabilities, and prohibit discrimination against all individuals based on their race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin. Moreover, these regulations require that covered prime contractors and subcontractors take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, protected veteran status or disability.  Austal’s commitment to equal employment opportunity applies at all levels of employment, in all job titles, including the executive level, and to all employment actions, including but not limited to decisions concerning recruitment, hiring, training, and promotion. 

REPORTS TO: Procurement Category Manager



The Procurement Category Lead is responsible for defining plans, processes, methods, and tools for ensuring supply chain management the life of all Government assets for the assigned category. Additionally, the Procurement Category Lead is responsible for activities associated with researching and executing cost effective purchases. Support the Government's purchase process and coordinating the delivery of purchases; and managing, tracking, and auditing new and existing orders. Procurement Category Lead will have full responsibility of a buying desk for their specified category within the Purchasing Department. The individual shall ensure the review purchase requisitions for clarity, compliance, detail, completeness, and obtain additional information considered necessary. The individual will actively manage the procurement process from order placement through receipt of products and subsequent payment of invoices. The Procurement Category Lead will actively manage supplier performance through consistent communication to ensure proper adherence to purchase order terms and conditions; and participate in the invoice approval process to ensure that supplier invoices are in accordance with purchase order terms and conditions, and resolve issues as necessary. Transactions at this level will be variable from routine to the more complex and involve higher dollar negotiations and greater levels of risk with moderate to heavy volume.


Quoting and negotiating (when applicable) and issuing purchase orders up to authorized limits for raw materials, parts, subassemblies, finished goods, MRO materials, equipment, tooling, supplies and/or services from suppliers via purchase requisitions or MRP messages.

Complex Market Research; Supplier Sourcing; Complex Financial Analysis; Supplier Assessments; Interpret drawings/specifications/SOW. Working as a supervisor, managing and providing guidance and oversite to team members. Following up with requestors and end users regarding purchase order due dates and status when inquiries are made.

Following traffic and logistics guidelines and minimizing the use of expedited shipping services where/when possible.

Skillfully balancing the price, delivery, quality, service and value tradeoffs and rationalizing the supply base on the given buying desk.

Following all supply chain policies, procedures, guidelines and instructions including those regarding the procurement of materials and particularly the ability to keep confidential information regarding all purchasing or commodity strategies confidential (and in some cases, within the supply chain function exclusively).

Running and maintaining the buying desk’s purchase requisition or MRP open order, expedite, de-expedite, and past due reports.

Working in cooperation with material planning, production planning and logistics to reduce part inventory, obsolete and slow moving materials and handle schedule changes. Striving to increase understanding of the services, material and manufacturing processes associated with the assigned buying desk.

Providing assistance to related departments when applicable to the assigned buying desk (e.g., supplier invoice discrepancies with Accounting, non-conforming material and supplier root cause and corrective actions with Quality, etc.).Representing the supplier inside Austal. Maintaining close communication with supplier account and customer service personnel, and management levels if necessary, so as to minimize risk due to supplier capacity issues, plant shutdowns, and other day to day disruptions that may affect Austal and/or open purchase orders.

Conducting supplier site audits and investigations. Creating and tracking supplier metrics and advising suppliers of their performance. Creating and tracking Buyer metrics for those in their supervisory organization. Maintaining professional relationships with suppliers on the assigned buying desk even in difficult times.

Knowing when to escalate issues to, or ask for help from, the next level of management in the Supply Chain function.

Gathering information to evaluate the financial stability, technical capability, process control, capacity and continuous improvement techniques of suppliers on the assigned buying desk when required.

Conducting business in accordance with Austal policies, procedures and business ethics guidelines. Providing input to, and report outs on, commodity strategies and related projects. Reviewing statements of work when required. Maintaining the Buyer scorecard for the assigned buying desk to assist with cost savings/cost avoidance reporting.

Purchasing in both MRP and project/purchase requisition oriented type environments under Contractor Purchasing System Review guidelines.

Working under pressure and in some cases, tight deadlines. Working under varying degrees of supervision. Participating in plant continuous improvement, Lean Manufacturing, 5S, and other initiatives involving the Supply Chain function or assigned buying desk when appropriate. Being the main contact point for outside departments (e.g., Engineering, Accounting, etc.) as well as suppliers. Participating in price book activities. Other duties as assigned Some travel may be required. Some time required to be aboard ship.  


Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Supply Chain, Material Management or related field and 8 years’ purchasing experience required OR candidates without a degree may be considered with at least 12 years’ of purchasing experience. Previous leadership experience preferred. ERP/MRP: IFS preferred; others like BAAN, SAP, JD Edwards and Oracle are General understanding of how to read blueprints/drawings, interpret specifications and review statements of work. Understanding of the Uniform Commercial Code, U.S. Government FAR,DFARS and ITAR requirements.

General understanding of enterprise quality system functionality (e.g., ISO 9000,AS9100, TS16949, etc.).

General understanding of ERP systems and MRP logic. Very strong organizational and prioritization skills required. Ability to communicate effectively with suppliers, coworkers, internal customers. Ability to recognize critical situations and immediately take appropriate action. Computer proficient utilizing all Microsoft Office applications including Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Access, and Outlook. Demonstrate high initiative and drive to address problems and drive to resolution. Manage Time and Meet Deadlines. Excellent verbal and written communicator. Interact effectively with individuals at all levels of an organization including senior management. Ability to motivate and lead, demonstrate integrity and dedication, problem-solve, and get results. 

DIRECTION EXERCISED: Will provide training and guidance for Buyer I, Buyer II, Buyer III team members.

DISCRETION EXERCISED: Relies on experience, education and judgment to plan

and accomplish goals. Incumbent will be expected to demonstrate creativity and

latitude in order to meet goals and objectives established. Will require the capacity to

self-direct and reprioritize activity in order to support business needs and meet


LIAISES WITH: Company- Buyer I, Buyer II, Buyer III, Buyer IV, Buyer V, Category Procurement Manager, Subcontracts Manager, VP Supply Chain and Logistics,

Senior Management, Materials Program Managers, Material program staff, Senior

Logistics Manager, Traffic Lead, Compliance Coordinator (Supply Chain), document

control and other administrative department personnel. External- Suppliers.


• Basic office machines, PC, copier\scanner, etc.


• 40 hours per week with additional time as required or necessary.


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by

an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Must be able to

tour all vessels and work sites at Austal USA.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to stand,

walk, use hands to manipulate, handle, or feel, reach with hands and arms and talk or

hear. The employee will also be required to sit for extended periods of time in an office


Specific physical requirements include the following:

Must have the occasional ability to bend, squat, stoop, crawl, and kneel. Perform prolonged standing. Ability to turn head from side to side and about the vertical axis. Ability to turn body at the waist from side to side and about the vertical axis. Lift/push/pull up to 20lbs on an occasional basis. Must have the ability to occasionally climb in an unrestrained safe manner (climbing as a minimum includes stairs, scaffolding, ladders, and ramps).Demonstrate good balance while working on uneven surfaces and maneuvering. Ability to utilize personal protective equipment (hard hat, safety glasses, steel-toes shoes, etc.) safely per OSHA standards. Ability to enter into confined spaces within the ships under construction (any space below main deck could be considered a confined space).Able to respond to verbal and audible sounds/commands. Able to utilize adequate visual skills. Able to hear emergency alarm systems and be able to wear authorized hearing. Must be able to walk 100+ yards at a time without assistance. 


The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an

employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee may be exposed to humid

conditions, strong smells, bright flashing lights, moving mechanical parts, high

precarious places, outside weather conditions, extreme heat and cold conditions. The

employee is occasionally exposed, while in production areas, to fumes and/or airborne

particles at or below the PEL, toxic or caustic chemicals. While the noise level in the

normal office work environment is moderate, it can be very loud in the production areas

(+90 dB). According to ADAAA, reasonable accommodations may be made on a case by case basis to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the job.


Must comply with company, federal, state, and local safety and environmental rules and

regulations while performing daily job tasks.


Should have the ability to obtain a US Government Security Clearance if required. Candidates must meet the following employment eligibility guidelines to be considered for employment with Austal USA:

18 years of age or older. Able to provide proof of US person status. No felony convictions of theft/deception or violent crimes within seven years from disposition date.

No felony convictions of drug crimes within three years from disposition date. Willing to submit to a drug screen. Willing to submit to a background check. Movement to the next position in the job class requires, among other things: The department having an opening and funding available to fill it. Meeting the experience requirements. Meeting the education requirements. Passing an in person interview. Having a satisfactory rating on the last two performance reviews.