Life As a Purchasing Agent
Job Description: Purchase machinery, equipment, tools, parts, supplies, or services necessary for the operation of an establishment. Purchase raw or semi-finished materials for manufacturing.
What Do Purchasing Agents Do On a Daily Basis?
- Study sales records and inventory levels of current stock to develop strategic purchasing programs that facilitate employee access to supplies.
- Hire, train, or supervise purchasing clerks, buyers, and expediters.
- Negotiate, renegotiate, and administer contracts with suppliers, vendors, and other representatives.
- Monitor changes affecting supply and demand, tracking market conditions, price trends, or futures markets.
- Review catalogs, industry periodicals, directories, trade journals, and Internet sites and consult with other department personnel to locate necessary goods and services.
- Monitor and follow applicable laws and regulations.
Qualities of a Purchasing Agent
Purchasing Agents state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.
Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Negotiation: Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Related Job Titles
- Subcontract Administrator
- Traveling Buyer
- Procurement Analyst
- Contract Manager
- Purchasing Administrator
Is There Job Demand for Purchasing Agents?
In 2016, there was an estimated number of 309,400 jobs in the United States for Purchasing Agent. There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Purchasing Agent. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 23,800 job openings in this field each year.
The states with the most job growth for Purchasing Agent are Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Maine, New Hampshire, or Vermont. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.
What Tools & Technology do Purchasing Agents Use?
Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Purchasing Agents:
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Microsoft Outlook
- Web browser software
- Microsoft Access
- Data entry software
- Microsoft Project
- Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
- Microsoft SharePoint
- Microsoft Visio
- Microsoft Dynamics
- IBM Notes
- Google Docs
- FileMaker Pro
- Intuit QuickBooks
- Oracle PeopleSoft
- Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne
How to Become a Purchasing Agent
Are there Purchasing Agents education requirements?
How Long Does it Take to Become a Purchasing Agent?
Those thinking about becoming a Purchasing Agent might also be interested in the following careers:
Career changers with experience as a Purchasing Agent sometimes find work in one of the following fields:
Image Credit: Nick Nijhuis via Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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