How to Manage Your Purchasing Department

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Managers are responsible for overseeing employees.
Managers are responsible for overseeing employees. (Image: young manager image by NiDerLander from Fotolia.com)

Having a well qualified manager to help operate and oversee all departments is an essential part of a successful business. For example, a manager is needed to run the purchasing department. If you happen to be that manager, then you need to understand exactly what the purchasing department does for a business. Simply put, the purchasing department is responsible for making business purchases, including equipment, supplies and anything else that’s necessary to keep the business running smoothly. The manager needs to oversee every aspect of this key job function for the business.

Keep detailed records. For tax purposes, businesses need to keep very careful track of all expenses and items purchased. Work closely with the accounting department of the company to keep hard copy and electronic records of all your purchases. Train all employees in your department on your specific method of record keeping and filing.

Plan in advance. When it comes to making purchases, the sooner it can get done the better. Assign a specific employee or group of employees to regulate everything your department purchases and determine the best time to reorder. For example, you and your team may decide that a good time to reorder ink for the office is when there is only one extra ink cartridge per printer left in the supply room.

Process reasonable purchase orders as soon as possible. A portion of your department’s employees should be responsible for processing purchase orders sent from other departments. For example, the marketing department may need a new computer ordered. By the time you receive the purchase order, the purchase will have already been approved. Therefore, your team can focus on purchasing the item and tracking the expense.

Use good judgment when managing the purchasing department. One of your key job functions is processing purchase orders. However, you should also pay attention to what you’re ordering. In some companies, the various other departments in the building might be requesting excessive or unnecessary purchases that you’re expected to make. If you notice these types of purchases, you should notify your superior, the Chief Financial Officer, the business owner or the board of directors, depending on the hierarchy in your company.

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