Purchasing involves the acquisition of goods: Workers in a purchasing position have the responsibility of buying manufacturing materials or consumer products for resale in their organisation. Those who work in purchasing may be known as buyers, purchasing agents, or contract managers. Purchasing requires an analytical mind and the possession of strong negotiating skills, and the ability to be able to verify barcode data in order to perform the various duties successfully.
Buyers or purchasing agents play an important role in the successful operation of a company. If they purchase too much of a product, the company will bear the costs associated with carrying excess inventory. I did this when working for a bed company, and the excess stock meant the firm had to hold a huge bed and mattress online sale, which lost them money, and also cost me my job. The problem is, if they purchase too little, the company may run out of a product; which can lead to lost sales, frustrated customers, and a possible loss of future business.
Types of buyers include purchasing agents, who buy products for a company’s internal use, such as raw materials for the manufacturing process. A wholesale or retail buyer purchases finished goods like clothing or sporting goods, which are then resold to consumers. Contract managers usually work for a government entity and award jobs to contractors, based on a bidding process.
Buyers need to have extensive knowledge of the products they purchase, as well as the specifics of their industry. They examine sales records to see how well a product has sold in the past, and use their experience to determine which products to buy, and in what quantities. Buyers who purchase consumer products should also be able to anticipate trends in the marketplace, based on their own knowledge and instincts.
An important feature of a successful buyer is possessing the ability to negotiate. Buyers can save their companies a significant amount of money, by being able to negotiate the best price possible for the goods they purchase. They can also ensure that the company does not run out of critical items, by negotiating deals to buy in bulk at reduced prices. Companies can use the savings to reduce their overall operating expenses or to gain a more competitive position in the marketplace by offering lower prices to end users.