Purchasing Agent

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Post-secondary training +

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What They Do

Purchasing Agents Career Video

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

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster Manufacturing Production Process Development pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Monitors and follows applicable laws and regulations.
  • Prepares purchase orders, solicits bid proposals, and reviews requisitions for goods and services.
  • Negotiates, renegotiates, and administers contracts with suppliers, vendors, and other representatives.
  • Purchases the highest quality merchandise at the lowest possible price and in correct amounts.
  • Analyzes price proposals, financial reports, and other data and information to determine reasonable prices.
  • Formulates policies and procedures for bid proposals and procurement of goods and services.
  • Maintains and reviews computerized or manual records of purchased items, costs, deliveries, product performance, and inventories.
  • Researches and evaluates suppliers, based on price, quality, selection, service, support, availability, reliability, production and distribution capabilities, and the supplier's reputation and history.
  • Confers with staff, users, and vendors to discuss defective or unacceptable goods or services and determines corrective action.
  • Hires, trains, or supervises purchasing clerks, buyers, and expediters.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overnight travel
  • Overtime work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Buyer — Plans and selects a range of products to sell.
  • Procurement Specialist — Negotiates contracts and acquires the goods and services that a company needs.
  • Purchasing Administrator
  • Procurement Official