What does a Purchasing Agent do?
Purchasing agents buy farm products and durable and non-durable goods and services for their respective organizations or institutions. They work to procure the best deal for the organization, meaning the highest quality goods and services available at the lowest possible cost. To bolster their strategy, they study sales records and inventory levels of current stock, identify foreign and domestic suppliers, and remain up-to-date with the latest changes that affect supply and demand for products and materials.
Purchasing agents consider factors including the price, quality, availability, liability, and technical support when they are choosing suppliers and merchandise. They attend meetings, trade shows, and conferences to learn about new industry trends and to establish contact and foster relationships with suppliers. They evaluate suppliers on the basis of the price, quality, and speed and delivery of the product or service and interview vendors, visiting suppliers, plants, and distribution centers to examine and learn more about their products, services, and prices. Purchasing agents need a bachelor's degree in business, mathematics, economics, engineering, or related fields.
- Manage risk to quality, cost, delivery, and supply of purchases.
- Oversee all shipping and receiving of, materials, supplies, etc.
- Confirm and match pricing on all purchase orders and invoices.
- Create purchasing documents as directed to correct inventory discrepancies.
- Check pricing on production items received, correct as needed.
- Build and maintain good relationships with new and existing suppliers.
- Lead estimate reviews with project management, design team, and owners.
- The ideal candidate sources equipment, goods and services and manages vendors.
- Prepare orders to be drop shipped directly to customers.
- Manage, develop and recommend procurement and contract policies.
- Ensure that physical security of all storerooms and product.
- Respond to sales associate requests on a timely basis.
- Coordinate with internal teams to determine and manage inventory/purchasing needs.
- Define, prepare, and develop scopes of work and/or project bid packages.
- Review and approve bid specifications to be submitted to vendors. approves all purchase orders.
- Lead the relationships and negotiations with third party manufacturers.
- Review weekly inventory and sales analysis for all shows and special projects
- Keep updated records and inform project status with all stakeholders.
- Conduct audits and reviews of material and parts ordering to improve operations.
- Bachelor's or Graduate's Degree in computer science, information systems or business administration, or equivalent experience.
- Experience with enterprise resource planning and spreadsheets.
- Comfortable negotiating and problem solving.
- Demonstrated critical thinking and time management skills.
- Work with strong attention to detail and an eye on leadership.
- Collaboration with team members using a positive attitude and strive for continuous improvement.
- Is comfortable liaising with team members and clients.
How much does a Purchasing Agent make?
Purchasing Agent Career Path
Learn how to become a Purchasing Agent, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.
Average Years of Experience
Purchasing Agent Insights
“Self Accountability is important here and taking ownership of your actions is encouraged and expected.”
“It's a great job for critical thinkers as creativity and personal autonomy are highly valued.”
“As a manager it's a great first job out of university and you're given responsibility straight away.”
“There are little to no opportunities to learn and grow outside of your daily tasks.”
“Overall a great positive place whether you're just begin your career or finish off an existing career!”
“It was good to have a full time job working at Hendrickson Auxiliary Axle while it lasted.”
“Promotion prospects based purely on ability to write a good PowerPoint or your personal relationships with influential Directors.”
“What I love about Datavox is the amazing people I have had the opportunity to work with.”
Purchasing Agent Interviews
Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of purchasing agents
The typical day of a purchasing agent centers around procuring goods and services for an organization by assessing vendors, arranging contracts, and analyzing finances. They also build supplier relationships and networks and manage problems that arise during the procurement process.
One advantage of working as a purchasing agent is that they typically have regular business hours, which offers a good work-life balance. These professionals also have the opportunity to travel to conferences or trade shows to find new products and develop new vendor relationships.
Becoming a purchasing agent means being able to deal with stress when orders are late or products have quality issues. They also must take accountability for the purchasing decisions they make, which includes keeping a cool head and rectifying any vendor or order issues that may arise.