Purchasing Agent

Last Updated:
September 19, 2023

Job Description Overview

A Purchasing Agent job description in the transportation industry involves overseeing the procurement of goods and services required by the company. The goal of the Purchasing Agent is to ensure that the right materials are purchased at the right price and in the right quantity to keep operations running smoothly. They are responsible for developing and implementing purchasing strategies, negotiating contracts with suppliers, and maintaining good relationships with vendors.

Additionally, Purchasing Agents monitor inventory levels to ensure that sufficient stock is maintained, but not overstocked, to prevent waste and reduce costs. They also review and analyze purchase orders and contracts to identify potential opportunities for cost savings. Being detail-oriented and possessing excellent communication skills are critical for success in this role.

The transportation industry relies heavily on Purchasing Agents to keep supply chains moving seamlessly. As a result, Purchasing Agents must work well under pressure and make decisions quickly in a fast-paced environment.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Source and purchase necessary goods and services for the transportation company.
  • Evaluate potential suppliers through competitive bidding and negotiations to ensure the best value for the company.
  • Complete purchase orders and manage inventory levels to facilitate smooth operations.
  • Coordinate with other departments to ensure timely delivery of goods and services.
  • Monitor and follow up on orders to ensure on-time delivery and resolve any issues that may arise.
  • Maintain accurate records of purchases and related transactions.
  • Keep up to date with industry trends and market conditions to find opportunities to improve procurement processes.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with suppliers to promote long-term partnerships and improve collaboration.
  • Communicate effectively with internal stakeholders to ensure alignment on purchasing decisions.
  • Work with accounts payable to resolve any invoicing discrepancies and ensure accurate accounting of expenses.

Experience and Education Requirements

To get a job as a Purchasing Agent in the Transportation industry, you usually need a high school diploma or equivalent, and some experience in purchasing or logistics. College courses in business, supply chain management, or a related field can also be helpful. Employers may prefer candidates with a Bachelor's degree or professional certification, like the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM). Successful Purchasing Agents need to have strong communication and negotiating skills, be organized and detail-oriented, and have a good understanding of market trends and pricing. Some on-the-job training is often provided to help Purchasing Agents gain knowledge of specific products, suppliers, and processes related to their industry.

Salary Range

Purchasing Agents in the transportation industry are responsible for finding, negotiating and buying goods and services for their company. Their duties include analyzing competition, identifying suppliers and ensuring delivery of products. If you're wondering about salary range, the median salary for Purchasing Agents in the United States is $63,240 per year. However, this can vary depending on factors like company size, location, and experience level. For example, a Purchasing Agent in New York City can make on average $78,000 annually. In Canada, the salary range for a Purchasing Agent is between CAD $45,000 to CAD $85,000 per year. In the United Kingdom, the average salary ranges from £20,000 to £40,000 per year. 

Sources: 

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics 
  • Glassdoor 
  • PayScale

Career Outlook

If you're interested in becoming a Purchasing Agent in the Transportation industry, the career outlook is positive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 4% growth rate in the need for Purchasing Agents in transportation and logistics operations. With global trade on the rise, businesses in the transportation field require more Purchasing Agents to manage supplier relationships, negotiate pricing, and monitor inventory levels. In fact, job opportunities are expected to grow in other industries as well. As per ONET, the employment rate is projected to increase by 5% for Purchasing Agents and Buyers, mainly due to the increasing demand for goods and services. If you're considering a career in Purchasing, you can be confident that job opportunities will continue to be available in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What does a Purchasing Agent in the Transportation industry do?

A: A Purchasing Agent in the Transportation industry is responsible for acquiring goods and services needed for the operation of transportation companies, such as airlines, trains, and shipping companies.

Q: What skills does a Purchasing Agent need in the Transportation industry?

A: A Purchasing Agent in the Transportation industry should have excellent negotiation skills, attention to detail, and knowledge of the transportation industry. They also need to be familiar with procurement software and understand contract language.

Q: What are the education and experience requirements for a Purchasing Agent in the Transportation industry?

A: A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required, but a bachelor's degree in business or a related field is preferred. Prior experience in procurement, logistics, or transportation is also beneficial.

Q: What are the work hours like for a Purchasing Agent in the Transportation industry?

A: Purchasing Agents in the Transportation industry typically work full-time, Monday through Friday. However, they may be required to work outside of normal business hours to coordinate with suppliers in different time zones or resolve any issues that arise.

Q: What are some challenges faced by Purchasing Agents in the Transportation industry?

A: Some challenges faced by Purchasing Agents include managing supplier relationships, negotiating prices, and staying up-to-date on industry developments. Additionally, the transportation industry can be volatile, which can lead to sudden changes in demand and supply.


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