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Purchasing Agent  What They Do

Just the Facts


Purchases machinery, equipment, tools, parts, supplies, or services necessary for the operation of an establishment. Purchases raw or semi-finished materials for manufacturing.

This career is part of the Manufacturing cluster Logistics and Inventory Control pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Purchases the highest quality merchandise at the lowest possible price and in correct amounts.
  • Prepares purchase orders or bid proposals, and reviews requisitions.
  • Researches and evaluates suppliers.
  • Analyzes contract proposals, financial reports, and other information to determine reasonable prices.
  • Monitors and follows applicable laws and regulations.
  • Negotiates contracts with suppliers, vendors, and other representatives.
  • Monitors shipments to make sure goods come in on time.
  • Confers with staff, users, and suppliers to discuss defective goods or services and to resolve problems.
  • Monitors contract performance to ensure compliance with contractual obligations.
  • Maintains records of items purchased, costs, quality, delivery, and inventory.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Overnight travel
  • Overtime work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Buyer -- Plans and selects a range of products to sell.
  • Food Broker -- Sells a wide range of food products from various producers and manufacturers to wholesale and retail food businesses.
  • Procurement Specialist -- Negotiates contracts and acquires the goods and services that a company needs.