What does a Buyer and Purchasing Agent do?
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Buyer and purchasing agents evaluate supplies, review quality of products, and negotiate contracts. These findings are used to buy products and services for an organization or institution to use or resell. They attend trade shows, conferences, and meetings to remain current on new industry trends and make contacts with suppliers. Buyer and purchasing agents assure the supplier delivers products on time, with correct quantities, and without sacrificing quality.
How to Become a Buyer and Purchasing Agent
Most employers require a bachelor’s degree in business, finance, or supply management. In some cases a high school diploma may be sufficient. Employers typically give on-the-job training of up to 1 year or more to ensure the buyer and purchasing agent can perform their job including negotiating with suppliers and monitoring inventory levels. Those interested in becoming a buyer and purchasing agent of farm products may benefit from a degree in animal science, agriculture, or agriculture production.
Buyers and Purchasing agents can also get certified though not required by most employers. Certification usually involves written or oral exams along with work experience and educational requirements. Earning these credentials allows buyer and purchasing agents with experience to advance to the positions of assistant purchasing manager, purchasing manager, supply manager, or director of materials management. With further extensive work experience one can even become the Chief Procurement Officer(CPO).
Job Description of Buyers and Purchasing Agents
Buyer and purchasing agents perform evaluations of suppliers in searching for the best price, quality assurance, and delivery time of the products. This allows them to select the best supplier and product for their organization. They conduct interviews with vendors and visit supplier’s distribution centers and plants to examine products, services, and prices. He or she analyzes price proposals, financial reports, and negotiate contracts for their employer. They also meet with vendors and staff to resolve and discuss defective goods or unsatisfactory services.
A buyer and purchasing agent monitors contracts to ensure the vendors and suppliers comply with the terms and conditions of the contract. They maintain accurate records of past purchases, costs, deliveries, inventories, and product performances. He or she attends trade shows, meetings, and conferences to remain current about new industry trends. They also attend to network and make contacts with suppliers. A buyer and purchasing agent should be skilled in decision making, math, negotiating, and analytical ability.