Purchasers buy general and specialized equipment, materials or business services for the internal use of establishments. The items they sell are not for resale, although they may sell off used stock once it is no longer needed. Most importantly they seek to obtain the highest quality merchandise at the lowest possible purchase cost for their employers. In this paper I will explore some significant points of a purchaser, such as a description of main features, working conditions, education and qualifications that are needed, future prospects… etc.
The purchaser’s main features are to determine which commodities or services are best, choose the suppliers of the product or service, negotiate the lowest price, and award contracts that ensure the correct amount of the product or service is received at the appropriate time. To complete tasks successfully, purchasers study sales records and inventory levels of current stock, and have knowledge of changes affecting both the supply of and demand for products and materials for which they are responsible for. Today the efficiencies brought about by computerized systems is allowing workers to expand their duties into more complex tasks. In the past, their time may have been completely taken up by responding to immediate needs within their companies. This meant manually
completing routine tasks such as preparing tenders and purchase orders. Now
they spend more time on planning and researching purchasing needs. This may mean working to establish relationships with suppliers that secure the best prices, services, and delivery options on all potential purchases.The purchasing manager usually handles the more complex or critical purchases and may supervise a group of purchasing agents handling other goods and services. Whether a person is titled purchasing agent, buyer, or manager depends more on specific industry and employer practices than on specific job dutiesMost purchasers work in well-lighted offices, either at stores, corporate headquarters, or service facilities. Normal hours of work reflect a “9-to-5″ pattern, though after-hours or weekend work may be required occasionally. For those who work in retail trade, this is especially true prior to holiday seasons. Many retail firms discourage the use of vacation time from late November until early January.Workers in this occupation have above-average earnings. In 1996, annual earnings of purchasers were $33,200. The middle 50 percent earned between $23,300 and $45,900. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,400 while top 10 percent earned more than $63,000. Of course, those with the most education in their field have the highest incomes. Many purchasers spend at least several days a month traveling. Purchasers for worldwide manufacturing companies and large retailers, and buyers of high fashion, may travel outside the U.S. A majority of purchasers are male. Only about one-third of workers in this occupation are women. Compared to other occupations, people in this field are about average in age, or a little older. There are slightly more people in the 35 to 44 year-old range than average, suggesting that this is a mid-career position. The average age of workers in this field is 40.I will now discuss some education and qualification points that are needed for this occupation. There are several ways to become a purchasing agent. Individuals with a high school diploma can start in an entry- level position, such as purchasing clerk, expediter, junior buyer, or by working in departments where stock is processed such as stores and shipping/receiving. Taking courses in purchasing in college or at institutes are definite assets for those who wish to advance. Individuals with college diplomas, or university degrees in business administration, economics or commerce may be able to start at a higher level and advance more quickly. Some employers require a specialized background, such as chemistry or engineering, in order to purchase industrial products. Business experience is helpful. A master’s degree in business or public administration is usually required by government agencies and larger companies for top-level purchasing positions. Purchasers must possess good communication skills, be able to work with many kinds of people, and be excellent negotiators. They must be analytical and creative, and be able to spend large amounts of money responsibly. They need to be able to make decisions and work independently. A good memory is required, and computer skills are a must. Also, new employees must learn the specifics of their employer’s business. Training periods range anywhere from 1 to 5 years. At this point you have a variety of information about what a purchaser does and what it takes to become one. Now I will share with you its future prospect.Employment of purchasers is expected to increase more slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2006. Unfortunately, demand for these workers will not keep pace with the rising level of economic activity because the increasing use of computers has allowed much of the paper work, typically involved in ordering and purchasing supplies to be eliminated, reducing the demand for lower level buyers who traditionally perform these duties. Also, the increased use of credit cards by some employees to purchase supplies without using the services of the purchasing office, combined with the growing number of buys being made electronically, will restrict demand of purchasing agents within the governments and many manufacturing firms.In conclusion, what I have learned about this occupation in doing this research paper is that it’s a job for resourceful people who enjoy solving problems. Careful attention to detail pays off. You also have to be able to think creatively about problems, looking at them in new ways. The best purchasing officers are self-starters who are willing to go the extra distance to provide good service.