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What Are the Responsibilities of a Purchasing Manager?

A purchasing manager must regularly review inventory levels.
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  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2014
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A purchasing manager negotiates supply contracts with outside vendors and manages the day-to-day activities of people employed in the procurement department. As with most supervisory roles, the responsibilities of a purchasing manager include hiring, coaching and terminating employees. People employed in these roles are also tasked with managing departmental budgets and producing financial reports.

Companies involved in different types of industries have to acquire both quantities of both durable and non-durable goods. Some of these items, such as raw materials, are used to produce goods while other items such as office furniture or storage units are a necessary part of any work location. The responsibilities of a purchasing manager include contacting vendors and attempting to buy supplies at the lowest possible price. Typically, managers have the discretion to negotiate short-term and long-term contracts and in many instances, prices depend upon the length of these deals. In some instances, a firm may have one procurement manager who handles the entire company's buying needs while in other instances, large firms employ several people in these roles; each manager handles the acquisition of a particular type of product.

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Over the course of time, a firm's needs may change and an increase or decrease in production levels may mean that the firm must increase or reduce its inventory purchases. The responsibilities of a purchasing manager include regularly reviewing operating costs and inventory levels to determine whether the company has sufficient supplies to meet its needs. If one department has an excess of paper, ink or another type of basic office supply then the manager may reduce the company's overall costs by reallocating those supplies to another department that lacks such supplies. Additionally, if one departmental manager finds a way to reduce costs by eliminating waste then the purchasing manager may relay details of those cost cutting measure to other departmental supervisors.

Aside from managing acquisitions and supplies, the responsibilities of a purchasing manager also include supervision of employees. A single manager may oversee a team of procurement agents each of whom is tasked with negotiating deals with specific suppliers. The manager must ensure that these individuals understand company policies and have the requisite interpersonal skills to aggressively negotiate on the firm's behalf. Employees who order too much or too little or who perform poorly in their jobs may need additional one-on-one coaching from the manager. If a worker proves unwilling or unable to improve his or her job performance then the purchasing manager is responsible for disciplining, firing and replacing that employee.

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