Purchasing Job Description – Which One Do You Want?

There are several key positions within a purchasing department and they each have their own purchasing job description.  The main members of staff are the Purchasing Manager, Purchasing Clerks and Administrative Assistants.

Purchasing Manager Job Description

The person that generally runs the purchasing department is called the Purchasing Manager – sometimes in larger companies they may be deemed an executive e.g. Director, VP, or Chief Procurement Officer (CPO). Their purchasing job description is strategic in nature and usually includes the following:

  • Maintaining the purchasing policy and ensuring that all purchases adhere to it.  An executive would set the policy as well.
  • Choosing the suppliers that the company will deal with and maintaining the legal interaction with them.
  • Managing any SLA’s (Service Level Agreements) that may be in place and managing any Master Agreements between the suppliers and the company.
  • Staff recruitment, training and management.
  • Liaison with other departments, particularly the accounting, manufacturing and stock departments.
  • Budgeting, costing and cost saving after reviewing the management information available.
  • Health and Safety, Quality and other legal requirements.
  • Overseeing any large procurement that may happen.

Purchasing Clerks Job Description

Undertaking the normal day to day work are the Purchasing Clerks. The purchasing job description of clerks is mainly tactical and would be something like this:

  • Collate purchase orders and purchase requisitions in order to order materials, goods and supplies.
  • Send them to the suppliers.
  • Review inventories and order as required.
  • Interact with the suppliers on a day to day basis.
  • Review deliveries against the orders.
  • Track the status of any orders.
  • Deal with non supplied, under orders, over orders and damaged goods.
  • Ensure that any invoices are sent to accounts for payment.
  • Produce and maintain all reports.
  • Manage any procurement activities including RFP’s (Request For Proposals).

Purchasing Admin Assistants Job Description

The Administrative Assistant undertakes the more basic work within the Purchasing Department and their purchasing job description would be:

  • Undertake all word processing that is required.
  • Undertake all filing as required.
  • Maintain any diaries that are in the office.
  • Arrange and attend meetings, taking minutes if necessary.
  • Generally help out with smaller purchases, reviews and inventory matters.

Purchasing Agent Job Description

You may also see a purchasing job description for a Purchasing Agent.  These are the staff who buy the raw materials that a company needs to maintain its operations.  They also buy the contract services that are needed to maintain the company buildings and operations.  These would be services such as plant maintenance and cleaning.

Purchasing Agents are more likely to be found in large manufacturing companies and government offices as well as institutions such as hospitals and schools. They, like the purchasing officer, are charged with ensuring that the best use of the businesses’ money is made and that not too much money is tied up in stock and supplies.

As you can see there are three main roles in a purchasing department and one exceptional one that can be found in more institutional companies.  Whichever purchasing job description you choose for yourself, you will be making a great contribution to the profits of the company.


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