The job description of a purchasing agent is to essentially shop for and purchase goods and services for a company to use or resell. The agents constantly evaluate their purchases, look for better deals in terms of pricing and quality and negotiate contracts with vendors.
A purchasing agent plays a vital role in a company by making sure employees have all the supplies they need to effectively perform their jobs and ensuring that the company is getting the best value for its investment in the procured goods and services.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities of a Purchasing Agent
- Reviews requisitions to determine the best deal for the company.
- Meets with various vendors to obtain information about products and services like prices, availability and delivery schedules.
- Examines or tests items prior to making purchase selections.
- Uses knowledge of the market to determine whether or not a product or service is a good value for the company.
- Determines the purchase method such as a direct buy, a public bid or a request for proposal to selected vendors.
- Prepares requests for proposals, bid requests and purchase orders.
- Reviews bids and proposals and meets with vendors to negotiate contracts that meet the company’s budgetary limitations.
- Procures goods and services for a company like supplies, parts, equipment, tools, raw materials, various services and other things necessary for the operation of the business.
- Maintains electronic or hard copy records of all purchases made for the company including the cost, delivery details, quality or the product or service and current inventories.
- Teams with quality control personnel to discuss defective or unacceptable goods or services and meets with vendors to resolve such problems.
- Approves invoices for payment to vendors.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Possesses exceptional negotiation and persuasion skills when dealing with vendors and striving to get the best contract for the company.
- Demonstrates excellent judgment and decision making abilities when selecting a vendor or product.
- Has strong reading comprehension skills when perusing multiple contracts.
- Displays strong written and verbal communication skills.
- Has knowledge of industry products and services that best benefit the company.
- Keeps up-to-date on new developments in the industry and the reasonable costs for new and emerging products and services.
- Shows strong math skills as well as an ability to work within a strict budget.
- Possesses good listening skills as well as strong critical thinking abilities.
- Has the ability to multi-task, manage time effectively and delegate tasks to the right team members.
Education and Experience
- High school diploma.
- Bachelor’s degree in procurement, finance, or a business-related field.
- Experience working in a purchasing department.
- Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM) designation.
- Spends a large amount of time in a climate controlled office talking on a hands-free headset or telephone and working on a computer.
- Makes site visits to vendor locations to observe or test potential purchases.
- Visits other departments in the company to meet with managers and employees for the purpose of understanding their needs prior to making a purchase.
- Works normal business hours of 8:00a.m. to 5:00p.m.
- A purchasing agent earns a salary in the range of $40,000 to $60,000 a year or an hourly wage of $20 to $40 per hour.