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Details for Purchasing Agents, Except Wholesale, Retail, and Farm Products


Description

Purchase machinery, equipment, tools, parts, supplies, or services necessary for the operation of an establishment. Purchase raw or semi-finished materials for manufacturing.

Tasks

  • Monitor and follow applicable laws and regulations.
  • Purchase the highest quality merchandise at the lowest possible price and in correct amounts.
  • Prepare purchase orders, solicit bid proposals and review requisitions for goods and services.
  • Research and evaluate suppliers based on price, quality, selection, service, support, availability, reliability, production and distribution capabilities, and the supplier's reputation and history.
  • Analyze price proposals, financial reports, and other data and information to determine reasonable prices.
  • Negotiate, or renegotiate, and administer contracts with suppliers, vendors, and other representatives.
  • Monitor shipments to ensure that goods come in on time, and in the event of problems trace shipments and follow up undelivered goods.
  • Confer with staff, users, and vendors to discuss defective or unacceptable goods or services and determine corrective action.
  • Evaluate and monitor contract performance to ensure compliance with contractual obligations and to determine need for changes.
  • Maintain and review computerized or manual records of items purchased, costs, delivery, product performance, and inventories.
  • Review catalogs, industry periodicals, directories, trade journals, and Internet sites, and consult with other department personnel to locate necessary goods and services.
  • Study sales records and inventory levels of current stock to develop strategic purchasing programs that facilitate employee access to supplies.
  • Interview vendors and visit suppliers' plants and distribution centers to examine and learn about products, services and prices.
  • Arrange the payment of duty and freight charges.
  • Hire, train and/or supervise purchasing clerks, buyers, and expediters.
  • Write and review product specifications, maintaining a working technical knowledge of the goods or services to be purchased.
  • Monitor changes affecting supply and demand, tracking market conditions, price trends, or futures markets.
  • Formulate policies and procedures for bid proposals and procurement of goods and services.
  • Attend meetings, trade shows, conferences, conventions and seminars to network with people in other purchasing departments.

Interests

  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Enterprising - Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
  • Experience - A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.

Knowledge

Skills

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Persuasion - Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Negotiation - Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Management of Financial Resources - Determining how money will be spent to get the work done, and accounting for these expenditures.

Related Careers

  • Cost Estimators
  • Credit Analysts
  • Customer Service Representatives
  • Insurance Adjusters, Examiners, and Investigators
  • Insurance Appraisers, Auto Damage
  • Procurement Clerks
Wages for this career
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