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Efficient organizations often have purchasing programs that guide their procurement activities. Purchasing administrators are in charge of implementing these programs. They perform a wide variety of administrative activities, ranging from reviewing departmental purchase requests to establishing business partnerships with vendors. Although purchasing administrators commonly work for business entities, others work in healthcare facilities, educational institutions and government agencies.
Using the Skills
Excellent analytical skills are integral to the competence of purchasing administrators. They need these skills to evaluate existing purchasing programs, determine whether they meet the organization’s needs and make appropriate adjustments. To establish and maintain positive business relationships with suppliers, these administrators must have good interpersonal and communication skills. Technical and organizational skills are also useful to purchasing administrators, because they need to understand technical production information and manage several purchasing documents.
The primary task of a purchasing administrator is to ensure the organization sticks with its purchasing policies and procurement. For example, if it is a company's policy to invite supply bids for purchases worth $500 or more, the administrator ensures compliance to this policy by running advertisements asking suppliers to place formal bids. To ensure all purchases are consistent with the needs of the organization, purchasing administrators train departments on purchasing guidelines and verify all purchase departmental requisitions.
Supply chain partnerships are integral to the continued success of organizations. As such, purchasing administrators have a duty to create long-lasting relationships with suppliers and other service provides. To do this, they often collaborate with purchasing managers to ensure suppliers are paid on time, and maintain an open line of communication with them. Purchasing administrators also supervise clerical staff with a view of enhancing proper record-keeping of all purchasing documentation, and provide recommendations on various procurement matters, such as reducing the transportation costs of purchased materials.
To become a purchasing administrator, you typically need to earn a bachelor's degree in business management, accounting or economics. Small businesses such as convenience stores may, however, hire applicants with associate's degrees. Because employers prefer hiring experienced professionals, it is common for purchasing administrators to begin working as purchasing agents and work their way up with increase in experience. Although licenses are not an employment requirement, earning professional certifications, such as the American Purchasing Society’s Certified Purchasing Professional, enhances your prospects of becoming a purchasing manager. A master’s degree in business management is also a perfect career progression springboard.
Based in New York City, Alison Green has been writing professionally on career topics for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in “U.S. News Weekly” magazine, “The Career” magazine and “Human Resources Journal.” Green holds a master's degree in finance from New York University.