Purchasing agents and buyers are constantly busy with creating purchase orders, placing credit card purchases, researching cost effective products, talking to vendors, ensuring shipments will arrive on time, setting up standing orders, and handling emergency purchases.
Professional buyers can perfect their daily office practices by applying a few simple procedures.
Get Organized to Save Office Time
Is your paper work conveniently organized? Filing vendor contracts and pricing agreements by the company name is very efficient. Contracts filed by vendor name should also be alphabetized by items in the same folder. For example, you file a printer paper contract under Staples, but there is a separate Staples contract for office chairs. Place the chairs contract in front of the printer paper contract in the file.
If you keep contract files and price lists electronically in Word or Excel, create folders with the vendor name and alphabetize it.
Get an alphabetized rolodex to keep sales reps business cards organized. A rotary rolodex with transparent sleeves works best. It is best to file business cards by the company name because you can remember the name of the company easier than the reps last name. However, if you have an electronic system like Reptrax, Vendormate, or Vendorclear that keeps sales rep contact information, then disregard this tip.
Deal with Vendors More Efficiently on a Daily Bases
Ask your I.T. specialist if an open purchase order report can be built for you. An open purchase order report is a listing of orders that have not arrived, yet. Most packages take 5 to 7 days to arrive. However, if 7 days has lapsed and the order is still open, the report should tell you that and what company and purchase order it is under. In most cases, the company did not get the order or the item is on back order. This tip is helpful to buyers that process 20 or more orders a day.
When faxing orders to vendors, request a fax confirmation back. Ask for price confirmation, availability, and the order number. Don’t forget to put your fax number in the comments of the purchase order. Most companies will accommodate your request.
Before calling a vendor to place an order or inquire about an order, have your information together. There is nothing more aggravating and time consuming than being on the phone with someone who doesn’t have everything they need to complete the task, especially when you know that person knows better. When calling a company about pricing, placing an order, or the status of an order have your account number, purchase order number, order number, and catalog number in front of you.
Utilizing your email when conversing with sales reps and customer service centers will cut down on phone time. Sales reps love to talk, and not just about business. You don’t need to know about his kid’s piano recital, you need to know how much he is going to charge you for nine Xerox copiers. It is okay to socialize for business reasons, but don’t let it eat up your work time when you have stacks of research and orders to process.
Place emergency orders online. For example, hospital buyers get called all the time to place supply orders for an emergency case. Faxed orders and electronic data interchange (EDI) orders are not reliable enough in emergency situations. Plus, there could be a long hold time by phone with the company. A company’s online ordering website is more accurate, reliable, and gets processed quicker. Online ordering allows you to pick rush shipping. Make sure you have online access to contracted vendors’ websites.
Ways Purchasing Agents and Buyers Improve Personal Office Practices
Stop, think, and verify. Most of our office time is spent correcting something that should have been right to start with. Confirm what the end-user wants and expect a product to do. This should definitely be practiced concerning capital purchases.
Make a cheat sheet for frequent actions. Having a quick reference to account, phone, and catalog numbers for frequent purchases will cut down search time. For instance, a buyer can get a lot of calls regarding the company’s standard office products. The buyer can grab the cheat sheet and tell the customer the vendor and catalog number without searching through the electronic system. Let’s face it; technology can be slow at times.
Quick Tips on Perfecting Daily Office Practices for Purchasing Agents
Memorize frequent actions. Know how to do your job.
Make sure you know the fax, printer, and copy machine inside and out. Do you know how to clear a jam? Can you change the toner?
Learn how to work a scanner. Scanning sanction agreements and signed service orders and emailing them will save paper and time. Scanning also has a higher success rate of reaching the other party than a fax, which saves time by not sending it again.
Learn new company software implantations ASAP by taking a class and attending training sessions.
By perfecting their daily office practices, purchasing agents can save time, cut down on clutter, and have a less stressful day.