Commerce today is largely based on knowing how to navigate a purchase or a sale. Someone purchasing expensive items will have to be careful so that they are buying from a reputable seller, and then there’s the logistics of actually delivering those items on time (and safely). This can be tricky for some people who buy a lot of items or live in a remote place such as Caribbean islands. Fortunately, a purchasing agent can help with Dominican Republic shipping, for example, or air and ocean cargo bound for Cuba or the Bahamas. A same day delivery service might be called upon, or door to door shipping, too. But what is a purchasing agent, exactly? Someone wondering “what is a purchasing agent” may make good use of them one they figure out how to hire one.
What is a Purchasing Agent
The simplest answer to “what is a purchasing agent?” is: a hired expert who handles purchases on behalf of a client. The name is somewhat self-explanatory, but that does not make a purchasing agent’s job simple. In fact, purchasing agents may be responsible for negotiating many thousands of dollars’ worth of goods for their client, and figure out how best to get those items delivered safely and on time. Goods might be delivered by truck, train, ship, or airplane, and some items may be time-sensitive.
Overall, a purchasing agent will, on behalf of the client, work every day to make the best and most important purchases for the best price (and in the correct amounts, of course). They may also solicit bid proposals as well as review orders and requisitions, too. The purchasing agent may also go over financial reports to determine what the client can afford to buy, and try to find the best possible prices based on that client’s budget. On top of that, a purchasing agent will of course make sure to follow all laws and regulations in terms of what they are purchasing or where it came from, or where it is going. Meanwhile, a purchasing agent will also negotiate and bargain with wholesale suppliers, private sellers, and other distributors to find good deals and set up shipments of desired items.
A purchasing agent may be a busy one, if they are buying many different items from different sellers. On the job, a purchasing agent will probably not deal with angry customers, but they will often be on the phone with wholesale suppliers, private sellers, and the carrier companies that are delivering these items by vehicle. A purchasing agent may get e-mails from a trucking company, for example, with updates on where the truck is and how soon it might arrive at the next checkpoint. Or, a purchasing agent may make a phone call to a supplier and ask if they have a certain quantity of something in stock. They may also negotiate prices by phone, and negotiate shipping prices.
Multiple parties are involved in the order and purchase of an item. There may be the buyer, the purchasing agent working for that buyer, the seller, the staff of a warehouse, and a carrier company. Often, the carrier company is the main go-between for the buyer and seller, as they will pick items from the seller’s warehouse and deliver them to the buyer. Such companies may make regular land-based deliveries by truck, as trucks are much cheaper to own and maintain than ships or planes. But for buyers who need very fast overnight deliveries, or those who are on islands, a plane will be needed. Unimpeded by the ground, planes can make very fast deliveries, and are often used for expedited deliveries or overnight shipping.
A purchasing agent may coordinate with the buyer to find the fastest and most reliable shopping company, based on the buyer’s time frame, their budget, and location. Ordinary deliveries may be made by truck, and time-sensitive ones may involve negotiating to find a good carrier that offers a plane, as mentioned above. The purchasing agent will also get updates from the carrier on when the vehicle will start the journey, and its estimated time of arrival, too. If something goes wrong, such as a truck’s flat tire, the purchasing agent may get updates about that, too.