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Purchasing Assistant – Everything a Procurement Professional Should Know

Key takeaways

  • Efficient Procurement Management: Purchasing assistants handle orders, and maintain records, ensuring smooth business operations and inventory control.

  • Essential Skills: Math, Clerical, Communication: Accuracy, organization, and effective communication are pivotal for purchasing assistants.

  • Vendor Relationship Building: They negotiate with vendors, emphasizing relationship management and effective client service skills in dealings.

Are you wondering why there is a purchasing assistant? There is an adage that says, “No man is an island.” This is true and is most certainly in the business sector. For someone to become a leader, there should be someone that he or she leads. There must be others who must shoulder the other jobs for a smooth process of operation. 

Of course, as we said, the business sector relies on its stakeholders to operate efficiently. Purchasers need them to delegate some of their jobs. In this article, we will learn what they are and what are the qualifications to become one. 

What is a Purchasing Assistant?

A purchasing assistant is in charge of the purchasing in the company. It is in charge of supporting the business by ordering products or services from its employer. He or she also manages the records of purchase cards and maintains the inventory.

Duties and Responsibilities of a Purchasing Assistant

Besides being in charge of the purchasing in the company, it also deals with the suppliers and vendors of the company. Below are the other duties and responsibilities of a purchasing assistant:

1. Maintains Purchase History Records

A purchasing assistant must keep the records of purchases manually or electronically. The record must include the costs, the quantity of the products, and the shipping information of the purchase. 

Recording this information can be beneficial to the budget that the department heads may plan. It can also help in simplifying things when it comes to repeat orders and other regular purchases

It compiles the recorded files to be viewed by the accounting department. This is to be used as one of the bases for their plans.

2. Managing Purchase Orders

As purchasing assistants are in charge of purchasing, they are also tasked to manage those orders that they make. They are the ones who complete and maintain the purchases of goods and materials in the company.

Purchasing assistants work with other departments to gather the orders that they need to sustain the work in the company. They record purchases once they receive the request and submit it to be approved by the purchasing manager.

3. Monitors Shipping Schedules

The purchasing assistant oversees the incoming and outgoing shipments in the company. They check the deliveries if they match the purchase orders to ensure that all that they need is delivered in full. 

It schedules the shipments they will return or sends the materials needed for the company’s project.

4. Checks the Vendors of the Company

The purchasing assistant works directly with the vendors to negotiate price lists and compare their offers. It works closely with the vendors to build relationships to support its profitability. 

It may also review the vendor’s bid, and agreements, and help them with the decision-making. The relationship that they build with the vendors can easily make them issue requests and submit contracts.

5. Keeps Track of the Inventory

Inventory management is crucial in every business. The purchasing assistant monitors the inventory to check when the next order should be scheduled. It may utilize the use of technology to inspect the inventory effectively.

He or she may also use inventory management software to check if there are any spaces left in the inventory. They use this information to check where to place the replenishments they have ordered. They also check if there are any leftovers in the supply to avoid creating new purchase orders. 

Skillsthat a Purchasing Assistant must Possess

1. Math Skills

The purchasing Assistant must master the basics of mathematics to ensure that calculations are correct. It must ensure the accuracy of purchase orders and the supplies in the inventory

2. Clerical Skills

This is the most important skill that a purchasing assistant must-have. A purchasing assistant must have good attention to detail to ensure the accuracy of purchase orders. Also, he or she must be organized. It must know how to arrange the records and compile the reports in a way that will not mislead anyone. This skill is crucial as one wrong move can make the process in the company disorganized. 

3.Communication Skills

A purchasing assistant must have this skill to maintain a structured flow of communication. It must know how to speak and write emails that will not mislead anyone. 

He or she must know how to speak with its internal clients to make sure that all information is correct. 

4. Client Service skills

One of the many skills that a purchasing assistant must possess is dealing with vendors and suppliers. It must know how to work with different departments and interact with its vendors and suppliers. 

In dealing with clients, a purchasing assistant must have the patience to talk about the issues to resolve them properly. 

5. Relationship Management Skills

Those who work directly with their clients must have this skill. They must know how to build a strong relationship with their clients. It is needed for the selection and negotiation of the vendors and suppliers. 

Frequentlyasked questions

What is a purchasing assistant?

The purchasing assistant handles all the purchases in the company.

How much does a purchasing assistant make annually?

A purchasing assistant’s salary ranges from $40,000 to $50,000 annually. However, it varies depending on your country.

What are the qualifications to become a purchasing assistant?

Some of the qualifications to become a purchasing assistant are having a bachelor’s degree in business administration or other related fields. Also, you need to be knowledgeable about the supply chain procedures and must be able to have good negotiation skills.

About the author

My name is Marijn Overvest, I’m the founder of Procurement Tactics. I have a deep passion for procurement, and I’ve upskilled over 200 procurement teams from all over the world. When I’m not working, I love running and cycling.

Marijn Overvest Procurement Tactics