Career Development

What Does a Purchasing Administrator Do?

Find out what a purchasing administrator does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a purchasing administrator.

Purchasing administrators are responsible for managing the purchasing process within an organization. They work with vendors to place orders, negotiate prices and terms of sale, and ensure that products and services are delivered on time and as promised.

Purchasing administrators may also be tasked with ensuring that all purchased goods and services meet quality standards. This might involve inspecting shipments upon arrival or conducting audits of vendor performance over time.

Purchasing Administrator Job Duties

A purchasing administrator typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Coordinating with suppliers to place orders, monitor inventory levels, and ensure timely delivery of goods
  • Reviewing order specifications and confirming that they meet company standards
  • Negotiating prices, terms, and conditions of contracts with vendors
  • Establishing relationships with suppliers in order to develop new business opportunities for the company
  • Reviewing purchase orders and other paperwork from suppliers to ensure that deliveries match orders
  • Matching incoming goods with purchase orders in order to ensure that the correct items were received
  • Communicating with warehouse managers regarding shipping schedules and other details regarding storage and handling of inventory
  • Processing invoices from suppliers for payment according to company policies
  • Communicating with vendors about changes in order quantities or delivery schedules based on business needs Duties vary depending on the size of the business and the industry in which it operates.

Purchasing Administrator Salary & Outlook

Purchasing administrators’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $52,500 ($25.24/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $112,000 ($53.85/hour)

The employment of purchasing administrators is expected to decline over the next decade.

Organizations are increasingly using electronic systems to automate the procurement process, which may limit the need for purchasing administrators. Organizations also are beginning to outsource some of their procurement activities to third-party providers, which may reduce demand for purchasing administrators.

Related: Purchasing Administrator Interview Questions and Answers

Purchasing Administrator Job Requirements

The following are some of the requirements that are often needed to become a purchasing administrator:

Education: A bachelor’s degree is often a minimum requirement to become a purchasing administrator. Some purchasing administrators choose to earn a degree in business administration, supply chain management or another related field.

Training & Experience: Purchasing administrators typically receive on-the-job training when they start a new position. This training may last for a few months and may include shadowing a current purchasing administrator or another company employee. The training may include learning the company’s purchasing procedures, software and other relevant information.

Certifications & Licenses: Professional certifications allow you to prove your skills and qualifications to current and potential employers. Purchasing administrators can earn certifications to gain more theoretical knowledge of their responsibilities, test their professional skills and further advance their career.

Purchasing Administrator Skills

Purchasing administrators need the following skills in order to be successful:

Negotiation: Negotiation is the ability to communicate with others to reach an agreement. As a purchasing administrator, you may be responsible for negotiating contracts with suppliers. This requires you to be able to communicate your needs and expectations to the supplier and explain why you need certain terms in the contract.

Communication: Communication is the ability to convey information to others in a clear and understandable manner. As a purchasing administrator, you may be responsible for communicating with suppliers, managers and other employees. This requires you to be able to write and speak clearly. You may also be responsible for communicating information to employees about changes in company policy or other important information.

Analysis: Analytical skills are necessary for purchasing administrators to make informed decisions about the products and services they purchase for their organizations. Purchasing administrators should be able to evaluate the needs of their organization and determine the best way to fulfill those needs. They should also be able to analyze the cost of different options and make informed decisions about which products and services to purchase.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills allow you to identify and resolve issues. As a purchasing administrator, you may be responsible for resolving supplier issues, supplier delays or other problems that arise during the purchasing process. Your ability to identify and solve these issues can help you to complete your duties effectively.

Leadership: Purchasing administrators are responsible for managing the purchasing process for an organization. This includes managing a team of purchasing agents who may have different responsibilities and skill levels. Effective purchasing administrators are able to provide direction and guidance to their team members. They are also able to motivate their team members to work efficiently and effectively.

Purchasing Administrator Work Environment

Purchasing administrators work in a variety of settings, including manufacturing plants, corporate offices, and retail stores. They may work for large or small companies, and their duties vary depending on the size and type of organization. In general, purchasing administrators are responsible for the procurement of materials, supplies, and services for their organization. They may also be responsible for the negotiation of contracts, the management of inventory, and the coordination of shipping and receiving. Purchasing administrators typically work regular business hours, although they may be required to work overtime during busy periods. They may also travel to attend trade shows and conferences, or to visit suppliers.

Purchasing Administrator Trends

Here are three trends influencing how purchasing administrators work. Purchasing administrators will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of Supply Chain Management

The growth of supply chain management is a trend that is quickly changing the way businesses operate. As companies become more globalized, they are realizing the importance of having a strong supply chain in order to keep up with the competition.

This trend is creating opportunities for purchasing administrators who can help manage and optimize the company’s supply chain. By understanding how to source products from different suppliers and track inventory, purchasing administrators can help ensure that the company has what it needs when it needs it.

More Focus on Sustainability

As businesses become more environmentally conscious, they are placing greater emphasis on sustainability. This means that purchasing administrators will need to be familiar with sustainable materials and practices.

By understanding how to purchase sustainable goods, purchasing administrators can help their companies reduce their impact on the environment while also saving money. In addition, purchasing administrators can educate other employees about the benefits of sustainability and encourage them to make eco-friendly choices.

Greater Use of Technology

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in business operations, and this is especially true in the area of procurement. Purchasing professionals are now using technology to streamline their workflows and find the best deals on products and services.

Purchasing administrators can take advantage of this trend by learning how to use technology to their advantage. This includes learning how to use online tools to research products and services, as well as how to use social media to connect with potential vendors.

How to Become a Purchasing Administrator

A purchasing administrator career can be a great way to start your career in business. As a purchasing administrator, you’ll be responsible for managing the procurement process from beginning to end. This includes sourcing products and services, negotiating prices, and making sure that everything is delivered on time and within budget.

To become a successful purchasing administrator, it’s important to have strong organizational skills, be able to manage multiple tasks simultaneously, and be able to work well under pressure. You should also be comfortable working with numbers and have a good understanding of accounting principles.

Advancement Prospects

Purchasing administrators may advance to purchasing manager positions. In small organizations, the purchasing administrator may report directly to the owner or general manager. In larger organizations, the purchasing administrator may report to the purchasing manager, who reports to the director of purchasing, who reports to the vice president of operations. As purchasing administrators gain experience, they may specialize in purchasing for a particular type of product or service.

Purchasing Administrator Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we are always searching for ways to improve our efficiency and quality, which is why we are looking for a Purchasing Administrator. The Purchasing Administrator will be responsible for the procurement of materials, equipment, and services necessary for the company’s operations. He or she will work closely with the accounting department to ensure that all purchases are made within the allocated budget and that invoices are paid in a timely manner. The Purchasing Administrator will also be responsible for maintaining supplier relationships and negotiating contracts.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Serve as the primary point of contact for all purchasing inquiries, orders, and vendor communications
  • Review requisitions and purchase orders for accuracy, completeness, and compliance with company policies and procedures
  • Research and select vendors based on price, quality, and delivery speed
  • Negotiate pricing and terms with vendors to get the best possible deals for the company
  • Place orders with vendors and track shipments to ensure timely delivery
  • Resolve issues with vendors in a timely and professional manner
  • Maintain accurate records of all purchases, including invoices, packing slips, and other documentation
  • Reconcile discrepancies between invoices and purchase orders
  • Prepare reports on purchasing activity as needed
  • Assist with the development and implementation of new purchasing policies and procedures
  • Stay up-to-date on changes in the marketplace and trends in the industry
  • Perform other duties as assigned

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, supply chain management, or related field
  • 5+ years of experience in a purchasing or procurement role
  • Strong understanding of supply chain management principles
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office, with aptitude to learn new software and systems
  • Excellent negotiation skills
  • Proven ability to work independently and with a team

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in business, supply chain management, or related field
  • 7+ years of experience in a purchasing or procurement role
  • Experience working with ERP or MRP systems
  • Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM) or Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM)
  • Familiarity with international trade regulations


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