What Does a Purchasing Administrator Do?

D. Nelson
D. Nelson
Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Individuals who work in purchasing are responsible for getting supplies, materials, and equipment for their organizations. In most cases, purchasing professionals order these items from suppliers. They perform integral roles in the supply chain, which consists of all the steps involved in creating products and putting them on the market. A purchasing administrator is a high level professional who is responsible for overseeing the actions of the purchasing department. It is common to find these professionals in the manufacturing industry, where purchasing professionals often must have a strong technical understanding of specific materials and equipment.

People who become purchasing administrators often have years of experience working in purchasing in a specific industry. These professionals are most commonly found in industries where a specialized knowledge of equipment and materials is necessary, so they often have much formal academic training. Purchasing administrators who work in manufacturing, for example, often have degrees in engineering.

To some degree, much of what a purchasing administrator does is shop around for the best deals. He or she compares the costs offered by different suppliers. A purchasing administrator also compares the quality of different materials and equipment. This is one reason why a strong understanding of an industry is essential for someone in this position. He or she must know which factors to look for in items particular to his or her business.

A purchasing administrator should also understand the principles of financial and asset management. In most cases, companies try to avoid waste. When suppliers provide organizations with too many materials, organizations suffer since those materials amount to wasted funds. Purchasing administrators then should be aware of volumes ordered and used. They also should keep up with industry projections related to demand.

Negotiation is an important aspect of a purchasing administrator position. He or she negotiates contracts with suppliers. An administrator also might be responsible for keeping track of when contracts expire. He or she makes sure that a supplier follows all of a contract's terms. When a supplier makes errors or is late delivering materials, a purchasing administrator might follow up with management of a supplier organization.

Purchasing administrators also tend to act as managers of purchasing departments. They convey to buyers concepts dictated by executives. These professionals also might be responsible for recruiting new purchasing professionals and promoting individuals within a department. In short, a purchasing administrator is accountable for the overall performance of his or her department.

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