A purchasing agent’s work performance can significantly influence how much revenue a business generates in a given year. Also called a buyer, a purchasing agent’s job is generally to make sure that the business expends as little as possible for the materials and equipment that the business utilizes to generate as large a profit as possible. Moreover, a purchasing agent also has to take into consideration the quality of the supplies and equipment that are to be bought as low-quality materials can lead to inferior products.
Schools, government facilities, hospitals, and other big companies utilize purchasing agents. A purchasing agent should get in touch with all company departments to maintain the supplies needed.
An aspiring purchasing agent must have at least a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Generally, a purchasing agent goes through a training prior to employment. Bigger corporations choose individuals who have a master’s degree. Some companies require a purchasing agent to acquire technical familiarity with the materials regularly purchased by the business. In this connection, an extra education in other aspects like science and medicine may be necessary. Certifications are also obtainable.
Duties and Responsibilities
Basically, a purchasing agent is responsible for coordinating all activities associated to procurement of materials and supplies for a company. Part of his responsibility is to supervise and manage the work of those individuals involved in the storage, transport, and maintenance of the procured supplies or materials; organize the processing and re-selling of the material; and prepare the process of bids and procurement of the supplies.
A purchasing agent is also responsible for giving instructions or advice to the producer on methods to improve and augment their produce, both in quantity and quality. This would require the purchasing agent additional knowledge about the produce and how it is processed. A purchasing agent needs to make payment invoices. He must keep track of all the records of every business deal and provide precise and correct reports to the management as often as needed.
Part of his responsibility is to provide the estimate value and transport of the supplies. He has to confer and bargain with the sellers; observe and supervise the transport and safety of the procured products. A purchasing agent has to be updated and well-informed about all aspects concerning the supplies procured by the company.
Salary and Compensation
With modern technology like the internet, purchasing agents can now search for products and compare prices easily and quickly. This efficiency has then lessened the number of hours required to accomplish their work responsibilities, which eventually led to a drop in the need for purchasing agents. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be little to no growth at all in this job position all the way to 2016. The salary of a purchasing agent is dependent on the level of work experience of the agent and the size of the business he is working for. The typical yearly salary for purchasing agents not engaged in farm, wholesale or retail products is around $39,000 to $66,000 as reported in May 2011.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/