What is a purchasing agent? Purchasing agents are employees who purchase material to place in a company’s inventory. They also purchase non-stock items for immediate use.
When employed by an airline or aviation company, the job description that answers the question what is a purchasing agent describes a person who places and reviews purchase orders and resolves any mistakes that were made in order placement. In addition, they make travel arrangements for cargo to be delivered, working through air and ocean logistics, depending upon where the cargo is being shipped to or from. A purchasing agent for a cargo airline is working for a company whose only commitment is to ship various types of cargo to and from specific destinations. Often, perspective employees who are applying for this position with an airline will want to know details so that they can determine exactly what is a purchasing agent for an airline and whether the job will be suited for them.
Many corporations will choose to ship their products by air. This type of shipping can greatly reduce transportation time as well as the chances that the cargo will arrive damaged. Additionally, point to point transportation is a preferred way of shipping because goods are shipped right to their destination without having to stop at a central hub. This door to door service is often done by cargo companies. In this way shipping time is reduced as well as the possibilities of product damage. Arranging this transportation is all part of the purchasing agent duties.
When an airline, aviation company, or any type of business is hiring someone to join their purchasing team, they will know in advance the criteria governing what is a purchasing agent. Human resources personnel will have on hand a list of purchasing agent interview questions that will help determine what extent of knowledge the perspective employee already has. Typically, a bachelor’s degree is preferred as well as some length of time gathering experience in the field. Also in this way the company will know how much purchasing agent training will be necessary.
A purchasing agent employed by an airline will be given a list of responsibilities. He or she will need to know and understand the terms particular to the field, as well as rules and laws set down by the government as well as the company. They have to comply with all regulations and see to it that they are carried through to the letter. The laws and practices that govern air travel, whether it be passenger or cargo, are very stringent and must be adhered to. A purchasing agent needs to be able to quickly become familiar with the company’s procedures and practices. They have to set goals regarding the requirements of their job, and to know how to plan and expedite proper air cargo shipping procedures.
Someone beginning in the air shipping industry at an entry level would only need a level of experience ranging from none to three years. Because they are basically in their learning stage, they would be expected to depend upon pre-established rules and guidelines in order to do the work assigned to them. During their time as an entry level employee, they would have constant supervision and instruction. Not being at the level of an independent purchasing agent as yet, they would be required to report to a higher-up. Their function at this point would not include performance under their own judgement.
A purchasing agent hired with between two and five years experience in the field will typically have a little more responsibility than someone with only three years experience. Their work will be supervised; however, they will have more opportunity to work independently, using their own judgment and creativity.
A senior purchasing agent just being hired will be required to have about five to eight years of experience in the field, as well as a bachelor’s degree and a working knowledge of the procedures and concepts of the industry. This agent will have the responsibilities of negotiating with vendors and of purchasing equipment and supplies. He or she will have a long list of intricate tasks to perform and are expected to be very creative in carrying out their appointed functions.
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