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Purchasing Agent Job Description

Kundan Pandey Jul 14, 2019
Purchasing agents have to co-ordinate and manage the supply of raw materials related to the operations of a firm. This write-up discusses the challenges and responsibilities associated with this profession.
Operations management is a key department of industrial firms and top-notch companies which are in the manufacturing business.
The efficiency of these industries is a function of various parameters, and at the ground level, it's dependent on the human resources that are involved in managing various tasks. Purchasing agents are the professionals who are responsible for managing various tasks related to supply chain management.

Introduction to the Profession

For the uninitiated, purchasing agents are the people who are responsible for the procurement of raw materials that are required to manufacture products. An extremely crucial and challenging job, these agents have to be vigilant enough to strike the right deals and ensure that raw materials meet quality standards.
Besides that, they have to display a strong sense of business ethics and integrity, when it comes to financial management.

Job Description

Purchasing agents of a firm buy raw materials for the company. The job is quite different from that of a wholesaler or retailer. The latter buy products for resale, while these agents buy raw materials for their companies. These raw materials are further used in the development of products.
The agents ensure that the raw materials are always ready for the workers, so that the target output can be achieved by firms. Some more of their responsibilities are as follows:
  • Purchase raw materials at economical prices.
  • Monitor the deals till the end and understand the official rules and regulations that must be dealt with.
  • Research and analyze price proposals, as well as financial reports, to understand the right price ranges for materials.
  • Monitor and evaluate the contracts of the firms supplying raw materials and check if the obligations are fulfilled.
  • Be an active member of trade meetings, seminars, and conferences related to the trade and commerce industry.
  • Be aware of the industrial fluctuations in the economy and understand the market trends related to costs of raw materials.

Educational Requirements

The agents must have in-depth knowledge of financial and accounting principles, business tactics, and an understanding of the market and economy.
Aspirants who have a bachelor's degree in subjects related to business, have fairly better chances of getting selected. Many firms provide the hired candidates with a substantial training of around 1 to 5 years, in which they simultaneously work and understand the deeper aspects of this job.
Generally, on-the-job-training is more effective, as it acquaints the candidate with various dimensions of the job. Effective decision-making and negotiation skills are the two important attributes that are developed in the candidates during training process.
The career opportunities in this field help you to learn the intricacies of supply chain management and you can complete the two certification programs, viz. the Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) and the Certified Professional Purchasing Manager (CPPM). These programs are generally completed after gaining substantial work experience.
The salary ranges from USD 35,000 to USD 69,000. These duties must have given you an idea about the role of these agents in the Supply Chain Management (SCM) process and success of manufacturing firms. They are a crucial part of operations management team and though they work at the initial level of purchase, they play a large role in success of projects.