Summary Report for:
13-1023.00 - Purchasing Agents, Except Wholesale, Retail, and Farm Products
Purchase machinery, equipment, tools, parts, supplies, or services necessary for the operation of an establishment. Purchase raw or semi-finished materials for manufacturing.
Sample of reported job titles: Buyer, Procurement Specialist, Purchasing Administrator, Purchasing Agent, Purchasing Manager
Tasks | Tools & Technology | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Prepare purchase orders, solicit bid proposals, and review requisitions for goods and services.
- Purchase the highest quality merchandise at the lowest possible price and in correct amounts.
- Monitor and follow applicable laws and regulations.
- Research and evaluate suppliers based on price, quality, selection, service, support, availability, reliability, production and distribution capabilities, and the supplier's reputation and history.
- Negotiate, renegotiate, and administer contracts with suppliers, vendors, and other representatives.
- Analyze price proposals, financial reports, and other data and information to determine reasonable prices.
- Maintain and review computerized or manual records of items purchased, costs, deliveries, product performance, and inventories.
- Write and review product specifications, maintaining a working technical knowledge of the goods or services to be purchased.
- Formulate policies and procedures for bid proposals and procurement of goods and services.
- Evaluate and monitor contract performance to ensure compliance with contractual obligations and to determine need for changes.
- Monitor shipments to ensure that goods come in on time and resolve problems related to undelivered goods.
- Hire, train, or supervise purchasing clerks, buyers, and expediters.
- Review catalogs, industry periodicals, directories, trade journals, and Internet sites and consult with other department personnel to locate necessary goods and services.
- Monitor changes affecting supply and demand, tracking market conditions, price trends, or futures markets.
- Confer with staff, users, and vendors to discuss defective or unacceptable goods or services and determine corrective action.
- Study sales records and inventory levels of current stock to develop strategic purchasing programs that facilitate employee access to supplies.
- Interview vendors and visit suppliers' plants and distribution centers to examine and learn about products, services, and prices.
- Arrange the payment of duty and freight charges.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Desktop calculator — 10-key calculators
- Desktop computers
- Laser fax machine — Laser facsimile machines
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Personal computers
- Personal digital assistant PDAs or organizers — Personal digital assistants PDA
- Photocopiers — Photocopying equipment
- Special purpose telephones — Multi-line telephone systems
- Tablet computers
Technology used in this occupation:
- Accounting software — Choice Job Cost; CPR International GeneralCOST Estimator; Intuit QuickBooks software; National Job Cost software (see all 5 examples)
- Analytical or scientific software — Construction Management Software ProEst; QSM SLIM; Resources Calculations Incorporated SoftCost; WinEstimator WinEst
- Charting software — Microsoft Office Visio
- Data base reporting software — SAP BusinessObjects Crystal Reports; Software AG software
- Data base user interface and query software — Assured Software JPP; Microsoft Access; Sage 100 Contractor; Xactware Xactimate
- Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — Enterprise resource planning ERP system software; Infor ERP SyteLine; Microsoft Great Plains software; SAP software
- Financial analysis software — Cost estimation software; CPR Visual Estimator; IBM Costimater; Softstar Costar COCOMO II
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Inventory management software — Inventory management system software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office software
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Project management software — Dexter + Cheney Spectrum Construction Software; Galorath SEER-SEM; Microsoft Project
- Spreadsheet software — Apple AppleWorks; Corel QuattroPro; IBM Lotus 1-2-3; Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Economics and Accounting — Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
- Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Management of Financial Resources — Determining how money will be spent to get the work done, and accounting for these expenditures.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Management of Material Resources — Obtaining and seeing to the appropriate use of equipment, facilities, and materials needed to do certain work.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Detailed Work Activities
- Execute sales or other financial transactions.
- Develop business relationships.
- Supervise employees.
- Pay charges, fees, or taxes.
- Purchase products or services.
- Analyze market conditions or trends.
- Train personnel to enhance job skills.
- Confer with personnel to coordinate business operations.
- Maintain data in information systems or databases.
- Analyze business or financial data.
- Evaluate applicable laws and regulations to determine impact on organizational activities.
- Obtain information about goods or services.
- Negotiate contracts with clients or service providers.
- Establish organizational guidelines or policies.
- Monitor inventories of products or materials.
- Develop technical specifications for systems or equipment.
- Conduct eligibility or selection interviews.
- Monitor organizational processes.
- Estimate demand for products or services.
- Telephone — 95% responded “Every day.”
- Electronic Mail — 95% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 76% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 71% responded “Every day.”
- Letters and Memos — 52% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 65% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 48% responded “Very important.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 48% responded “More than half the time.”
- Time Pressure — 45% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 48% responded “Extremely important.”
- Contact With Others — 43% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 43% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 55% responded “Some freedom.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 43% responded “Important results.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 62% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 45% responded “Very important.”
- Deal With External Customers — 43% responded “Very important.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 57% responded “Very important.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 52% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Level of Competition — 50% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Degree of Automation — 50% responded “Highly automated.”
- Consequence of Error — 38% responded “Fairly serious.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 43% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|5||Some college, no degree|
Interest code: CE
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$29.32 hourly, $60,980 annual|
|Employment (2012)||294,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Slower than average (3% to 7%)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||61,600|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Purchasing Managers, Buyers, and Purchasing Agents . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.
- American Purchasing Society , North Island Center, Suite 203, 8 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora, IL 60506. Phone: (630) 859-0250. Fax: (630) 859-0270.
- APICS - The Association for Operations Management , 5301 Shawnee Rd., Alexandria, VA 22312-2317. Phone: (773) 867-1777. Fax: (773) 409-5576.
- Institute for Supply Management (ISM) , P.O. Box 22160, Tempe, AZ 85285-2160. Phone: (480) 752-6276. Fax: (480) 752-7890.
- National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) , 151 Spring St., Suite 300, Herndon, VA 20170-5223. Phone: (703) 736-8900. Fax: (703) 736-2818.