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Purchasing Agent

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What Do Purchasing Agent Do?

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

Purchasing Agent Responsibilities

  • Attend meetings, trade shows, conferences, conventions, and seminars to network with people in other purchasing departments.
  • Negotiate, renegotiate, and administer contracts with suppliers, vendors, and other representatives.
  • Formulate policies and procedures for bid proposals and procurement of goods and services.
  • Study sales records and inventory levels of current stock to develop strategic purchasing programs that facilitate employee access to supplies.
  • Monitor shipments to ensure that goods come in on time, and resolve problems related to undelivered goods.
  • Analyze price proposals, financial reports, and other data and information to determine reasonable prices.

Purchasing Agent Needed Skills

When polled, Purchasing Agents say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Negotiation: Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

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.

Management of Financial Resources: Determining how money will be spent to get the work done, and accounting for these expenditures.

Types of Purchasing Agent

  • Timber Buyer
  • Contract Administrator
  • Procurement Specialist
  • Subcontract Administrator
  • Leaser

Job Outlook for Purchasing Agents

There were about 309,400 jobs for Purchasing Agent in 2016 (in the United States). There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Purchasing Agent. There will be an estimated 23,800 positions for Purchasing Agent per year.

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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.

Tools & Technologies Used by Purchasing Agents

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
  • SAP
  • 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

What education is needed to be a Purchasing Agent?

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How Long Does it Take to Become a Purchasing Agent?

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Those thinking about becoming a Purchasing Agent might also be interested in the following careers:

Those who work as a Purchasing Agent sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:

References:

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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