Buyer and Purchasing Agent
Buyer and purchasing agents evaluate supplies, review quality of products, and negotiate contracts so that they can buy products and services for an organization or institution to use or resell.Buyers and purchasing agents attend trade shows, conferences, and attend 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 an applicant to have 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.
If one is interested in becoming a buyer and purchasing agent of farm products a degree in animal science, agriculture, or agriculture production would be helpful. Depending on each organization, a certification may or may not be required.
Certification usually involves written or oral exams along with work experience and education requirements. Buyer and purchasing agents with experience can advance to the positions of assistant purchasing manager, and then purchasing manager, supply manager, or director of materials management. With further extensive work experience one can become the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO).
Job description of Buyers and Purchasing Agents
Buyer and purchasing agents have several duties which would include evaluation of suppliers in searching for the best price, quality, and delivery time of the products in order to select the best supplier 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 meet with vendors and staff to discuss defective goods or unsatisfactory services and determine how to make corrections.
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 performance. He or she attends trade shows, meetings, and conferences to remain current about new industry trends and to make contacts with suppliers. A buyer and purchasing agent should be skilled in decision making, math, negotiating, and analytical ability.