Purchasing Associate Job Description, Skills, and Salary
Are you searching for a purchasing associate job description? Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a purchasing associate. Feel free to use our purchasing associate job description template to produce your own purchasing associate job description. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a purchasing associate.
Who is a Purchasing Associate?
The purchasing associate sources for and procure the equipment, components, and raw materials that go into making a product. They closely collaborate with suppliers to agree on prices and other terms of sale, and they might also take part in quality assurance or other production-related duties.
The purchasing associate, who reports to the business manager, is responsible for carrying out ordinary to fairly difficult tasks while acquiring a range of furniture, equipment, supplies, and services. The expectation of the purchasing associate is to deliver high-quality, cost-effective, and client-responsive purchasing services in compliance with all relevant regulatory obligations.
Work environments for purchasing associates include retail stores, wholesale businesses, as well as the manufacturing and service sectors. While they frequently work conventional hours, they occasionally have to work late into the night or on the weekend to fulfill deadlines. Some purchasing agents travel to trade exhibits, suppliers’ locations, or product inspections. The typical workspace for purchasing associates is well-ventilated and illuminated. They might have to lift and carry cumbersome crates of goods or items.
Purchasing Associate Job Description
What is a purchasing associate job description? A purchasing associate job description is simply a list of duties and responsibilities of a purchasing associate in an organization. Below are the purchasing associate job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a purchasing associate job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.
The duties and responsibilities of a purchasing associate include the following:
- Create purchase orders and acquire firm supplies and services based on the budget that has been established.
- Conduct research and consult with suppliers and vendors to identify the finest products and services for business.
- Create a database of contracts with vendors or suppliers, purchase orders, quote requests, and bills, and update it as necessary.
- Create and cultivate effective working relationships with suppliers and vendors.
- Respond to urgent requests and move orders along as necessary.
- Make purchase reports on a monthly and annual basis for management review.
- Ensure that all products and services are up to corporate standards and adhere to all applicable local, state, and federal regulations.
- Maintain and add new suppliers and purchase requisitions to the purchasing data system
- Create, grow, and preserve a good vendor relationship.
- Choose the best supplier for different purchases based on cost and availability.
- Keep track of order status and notify impacted directors or supervisors of any delivery problems.
- Verify the accuracy of the invoices against the purchase orders and add the product details to the inventory system.
- Determine concerns and problems, such as low product quality and supply shortages.
- Complete a range of administrative tasks related to purchasing activities.
- Education: The majority of businesses demand that purchasing associates possess a high school diploma or its equivalent, as well as business, finance, accounting, and economics coursework. Some firms favor hiring applicants with an associate’s degree in business or a related discipline, which is typically earned in two years.
- Training and Experience: A purchasing associate’s new employer often provides on-the-job training. The purchasing policies and software of the business may be covered in this training. Another option is to ask an existing purchasing associate to teach you the duties and obligations of the job.
- Certifications and licenses: Although they are not frequently necessary for purchasing associates, certifications can help employees become more marketable to potential employers.
- Effective Communication Skills: Effective communication is the ability to communicate with people in a way that is clear and intelligible. You will be expected to communicate with supervisors, clients, and suppliers as a purchasing associate. Speaking clearly and simply is crucial to making sure you get the appropriate message through to the proper audience.
- Negotiation Skills: The ability to convince a supplier to lower the price of an item is known as negotiation. As they may assist the organization in saving money, purchasing associates may find this to be a beneficial ability. Gaining a better deal on goods and supplies is possible with the use of negotiation abilities.
- Outstanding Organizational Skills: As a purchasing associate, you may be in charge of maintaining inventory records, sales logs, and payment records. You can complete your work more quickly if you have strong organizational skills. Maintaining order in your workspace and making sure you have the data you need to finish your work are two more ways you may employ organization skills.
- Keen Attention to Details: You should be able to pay close attention to details if you want to work as a purchasing associate. This is due to the possibility that you will be in charge of properly entering product information, making sure you have the right quantity of the goods, and checking that the price is accurate. Additionally, you must be able to tell if a product is damaged or out of stock.
- Effective time management techniques: These techniques enable you to prioritize things and finish them within a set amount of time. You can be in charge of ordering and receiving merchandise as a purchasing associate, so it’s critical to effectively manage your time to make sure you finish all of your tasks.
- Understanding of Research Methods: Purchasing agents can gather market data, cost estimates, and risk management evaluations with the help of research skills. Additionally, purchasing associates may weigh the pros and disadvantages of purchases, usually to aid in forecasting likely future events and suggest strategies to increase capital. Before making judgments about buying new materials, they might also be in charge of conducting research on potential new vendors or businesses.
- Skills in data analysis: They frequently use this information to inform their decisions, reduce potential hazards associated with materials, and forecast future demand influx. The data they examine typically relates to past and upcoming departmental purchases. The ability to present data in meetings and transform data into illustrative figures such as charts, tables, and spreadsheets is a skill that purchasing associates possess. In order to completely describe a scenario, they may also need to express their wants and concepts to other department executives about upcoming decisions or purchasing plans.
- Social Skills: In order to effectively manage relationships, purchasing managers must frequently contact a variety of people. To gather information and comments about prior purchases, they may express resource needs to staff, or they may speak with departmental managers or executives to explain product needs or present plans. They can function more productively within a department if they know how to handle interpersonal interactions and effectively convey information. Another method they use to keep this expertise up-to-date is by managing relationships with outside sources of information and vendors. They can minimize potential external problems by effectively engaging with current clients or locating and onboarding new ones.
- Purchase forecasting abilities: Having adequate purchase forecasting skills might be beneficial because purchasing associates may need to strategically acquire items based on marketing forecasts. They can choose when to buy by being aware of the broader economic climate for a certain good and the company’s current situation. For instance, if a department budget has extra money available, it can be a smart idea to stock up on various materials.
- Aligning with company objectives: Another talent that many purchasing associates have is evaluating and coordinating corporate objectives with workable methods of running a division or organization. For instance, a buying manager can think about if altering material purchases is in line with the company’s strategy if it wants to grow its business in the upcoming quarter. They may also confer with other employees to determine whether specific activities are in line with business objectives.
- Skills in strategy: Their understanding of how to make purchases for the department and its objectives can be aided by their strategic thinking abilities. To make purchases that will benefit the department, they may evaluate both the state of the economy and material costs. Additionally, purchasing staff members may decide to place orders in advance so that departments can be ready for things like board meetings and external audits in advance. While purchasing associates can deal with urgent circumstances like broken machines or a shortage of resources, they can also handle purchases that might need more care.
- Sustainability: Repurchasing supplies for a department that manufactures items or tests products requires the use of sustainability skills, which purchasing associates have. For instance, if a department is required to produce and test a certain number of things each month, a purchasing associate makes sure that the department has access to enough supplies to do so. If purchasing agents anticipate a greater quota within a given time frame, they may place excess orders for materials. They employ sustainability management practices to determine when they might need to make purchases and when they can make use of their current surpluses.
- Global market competencies: To support department demands, purchasing associates may require various levels of global marketing expertise, depending on the department or firm. Even if the department does not want worldwide marketing strategies, purchasing agents can promote creative connections with global suppliers. A purchasing associate may have more opportunities and can effectively engage with international suppliers with the aid of skills like localization and cultural awareness.
- An understanding of finance: A purchasing associate’s ability to use their financial skills when working with a budget might be aided by managing the daily supply demands for one or more departments. They might come up with clever strategies to use company money for their purchasing requirements. These tactics could include looking for other suppliers; obtaining supplier discounts; or purposefully buying excess material during a time when prices are at their lowest. By only buying materials when there is a price advantage or an urgent necessity, purchasing associates ensure effective utilization of a departmental budget.
- Innovation and creativity: Purchasing associates can be creative in supplier development and product innovations, even though they might not create new technologies or new ways to produce things. Their understanding of supplier advances and keeping up with any news that can have an impact on a department’s future purchases can be made easier with innovation skills. For instance, if a new product drives down the cost of a material, purchasing colleagues may be aware of this right away and make a quick purchase. A key ability that purchasing associates utilize to sustain their departments is being imaginative with purchases, both to earn surplus and to assess stock.
- Skills in KPI analysis: Since they must adhere to departmental quotas, purchasing associates often comprehend the KPIs of a department (KPIs). Despite sharing certain similarities with quotas, KPIs are distinct since they frequently relate to immaterial items, such as processed files or finished activities. A purchasing associate can learn about a department’s business habits and better prepare for their development by understanding the KPI for that department.
- Leadership Qualities: A purchasing associate may connect with stakeholders, manage daily tasks, and develop action plans with the use of leadership abilities. Purchasing associates may also allocate department purchasing responsibilities and train new hires within the purchasing team, depending on how many departments they are responsible for. They might also be in charge of mentoring, job rotation, and cross-functional training for their purchasing teams. Material purchases are also handled by buying managers; therefore, they frequently take the lead in a company’s or department’s resource allocation process.
- Decision-Making Capabilities: A purchasing associate needs to know how to make decisions in order to select the best option for the company or department. They may use their decision-making abilities to decide whether to continue doing business with the same provider and how much to renew an item for purchase. They know how to make decisions based on what is best for the department’s clients, suppliers, and stakeholders, and they may decide to hire new ones as necessary.
- Skills in time management: Purchasing associates frequently have good time-management techniques and set up procedures to keep the workplace running smoothly. For instance, if they are in charge of several departments, they might plan meetings with them at specific times or delegate work to others, depending on the demands of each department. They might also keep track of how long it takes for production department purchases to get to various places.
- Negotiation Techniques: You must communicate with suppliers as a purchasing associate in order to close different deals. Whether the sale closes successfully or fails depends on how well you can bargain with your suppliers. Through negotiation, you and your provider might come to a mutually beneficial agreement despite having divergent criteria.
- Result Oriented: A person or organization that places more emphasis on the results than the steps used to create a good or provide a service is referred to by this word. In other words, as a purchasing associate, being result-focused will help you see the end goal. Additionally, keeping the aim in mind will help you concentrate far more on the steps necessary to achieve the intended result during the purchase process.
- Cost-management expertise: By mastering cost management techniques, you may review, optimize, and manage every part of the procurement project’s cost as a purchasing associate. In other words, it gives you the ability to keep an eye on all expenses and make sure they stay in line with the projected budget for project procurement.
- Management of contracts: Strong contract management skills are required if you want to manage contract formulation, implementation, and analysis in order to maximize operational and financial performance while lowering financial risk in your organization. By honing your contract management skills, you can create project procurement contracts that not only assure improved supplier and vendor relationships but also efficiently enforce compliance and reduce risk.
- Skills in Category Management: This is the process of categorizing the primary areas of an organization’s expenditure on imported goods and services into distinct groups of goods and services based on their purpose and, most significantly, to reflect how various markets are set up. As a purchasing associate, you will be able to use this talent to make sure that the right sourcing techniques are employed to find the suppliers who provide the best value.
- Skills in strategic sourcing: This entails determining the appropriate combination of products and services to satisfy the company’s project procurement goals. As a purchasing associate, you can assess large purchases using this talent and build long-term relationships with a small set of suppliers who can deliver high-quality goods and services at reasonable prices.
- IT proficiency abilities: Technology skills are necessary to improve the value, effectiveness, and efficiency of project procurement while managing duties. As a purchasing associate, you can manage, monitor, and maintain project procurement activities by utilizing technological tools and procurement software-as-a-service if you develop your technological skills.
- Presentation Techniques: Presentation abilities are essential for being able to influence or acquire buy-in from people above, below, and beside you by presenting yourself in a clear, assured, and professional manner. Credibility is essential for a purchasing associate’s ability to influence others, gain support from other departments, and manage cross-departmental collaboration—all of which are necessary for successful procurement projects.
How to Become a Purchasing Associate
- Acquire a Degree: A bachelor’s degree in business, finance, or supply management is typically required of purchasing agents. Consider earning a degree in agriculture, animal science, or a closely related topic if you intend to work in a specialized profession like farming, which primarily relies on purchasing agents. Although master’s degrees are not normally required by employers, having one can set you apart from other candidates and make you eligible for managerial roles. If you want to work for a large company that does business with foreign suppliers, learning a second language will be useful.
- Apply for an internship as a purchasing agent: Consider submitting an application for a purchasing agent internship while you are obtaining your degree. Creating purchase orders, inventorying supplies, and finding new vendors are common tasks that interns help with. An internship will enable you to expand your professional network while providing you with real-world experience. It happens frequently for an internship to turn into a full-time job. A purchasing agent internship will seem nice on your CV even if it doesn’t.
- Obtain certificates for your field: You can obtain a Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) accreditation from the Association for Supply Chain Management once you have earned your bachelor’s degree (ASCM). Your ability to apply pertinent purchasing skills and knowledge is demonstrated by your ASCM certification. Additionally, it demonstrates to a prospective employer your willingness to stay current on industry best practices and purchasing procedures.
- Apply for positions as purchasing agents: It’s time to apply for purchasing agent positions once you’ve finished your degree, gotten experience as an intern, and attained professional certification. Don’t give up if you don’t get your desired job straight away; it’s typical for new workers with bachelor’s degrees to start as junior purchasing agents or assistant buyers. Depending on the organization, you may be eligible for a managerial position if you have a master’s degree.
- Develop your knowledge and abilities even more: For buying agents with more expertise, the Association for Supply Chain Management now offers certificates in addition to the CSCP credential. You can develop your career and broaden your knowledge base with the aid of these credentials. You can advance to higher-level positions like procurement officer or director of materials management with a master’s degree and a number of certifications.
Where to Work as a Purchasing Associate
- Retail outlets
- Wholesale businesses
- Manufacturing and service sectors.
Purchasing Associate Salary Scale
Salaries for purchasing associates vary according to their level of education, years of experience, company size, and industry. Bonuses are another possible kind of compensation for them. In the USA, the typical purchasing associate compensation is $21 per hour or $40,951 annually. Most experienced workers earn up to $62,761 per year, while entry-level roles start at $35,100.
In the UK, the average purchasing associate makes £22,551 a year, or £11.56 an hour. Most experienced professionals earn up to £27,056 per year, while entry-level roles start at £21,000.