The majority of U.S. businesses rely on international freight shipping to import or export their goods and merchandise. It is estimated that ocean vessels carry 53% of U.S. imports and 38% of exports, measured by monetary value. Whether you are importing products from South America or shipping to the British Virgin Islands or the Dominican Republic, or other international destinations, you’ll need to work with an international purchasing agent.
To have a smooth and effective working relationship with an agent, you need to be aware of purchasing agent responsibilities. These are the duties of a purchasing agent.
1. Build, Expand, and Maintain a Stable Supply Network
Getting an international supplier for your goods is easy, but getting a reliable and consistent supplier is a different ball game. It’s even more difficult to maintain relationships with foreign suppliers while still running your company. You need a dedicated person who will establish and maintain a steady supply network of the products you deal with. This is where purchasing agents come in.
Purchasing agent responsibilities include managing vendor relationships on your behalf. Maintaining solid relationships with all your international suppliers is easier said than done, especially if you utilize multiple suppliers. You would have to overcome many challenges if you decided to handle communication with suppliers on your own.
First, you would use a lot of your productive time to facilitate communication, learn different languages, and observe the time difference between different countries. This can prove to be too much of a hassle, given that you have other crucial responsibilities, like marketing your products in your local market. That’s why you should trust purchasing agents in the USA to manage your supply chain and your relationships with suppliers.
2. Purchasing Agents Monitor and Negotiate Contracts with Suppliers
Naturally, the top purchasing agents are excellent negotiators who will get you the best prices without compromising product quality. In the business world, you must be agile and use any information you get to your advantage. However, when you’re busy running your business, you’ll miss out on good deals that would increase your ROI. But when you have an experienced international purchasing agent on your side, you’ll benefit from discount deals on offers.
Besides negotiating prices with your suppliers, purchasing agent responsibilities include monitoring policy changes that can affect your supply chain. A purchasing and forwarding agent acts as your ears and eyes so that you’re not caught by surprise by the frequent changes that happen in ocean cargo shipping and air freight shipping. With access to new information, a purchasing agent can renegotiate contracts with your suppliers. This way, you don’t get your fingers burnt when policy and price changes are affected.
3. Submit Orders, Track Orders, and Confirm Receipt of Orders
Purchasing agent responsibilities encompass the whole ordering process. Your purchasing agent should order and deliver your goods to your business premises or your customers. For your company to run successfully, you must build credibility by honoring customer orders within the promised timeframe. You must also do a bang-up job with product marketing and offer excellent customer service.
A good purchasing agent will handle product ordering and delivery on your behalf so you can excel at marketing and customer service. This will help grow your business rapidly while keeping your cost of operations at a minimum. Given the complexities of international shipping, it’s challenging, costly, and time-consuming to handle air and ocean logistics on your own. You need air and ocean partners who will oversee your orders and ensure all products get to your customers with no damages.
Purchasing agent responsibilities involve managing your relationships with suppliers, negotiating contracts with suppliers, and ordering, tracking, and acknowledging receipt of orders. This puts a purchasing agent at the heart of your business operations. As such, you must select an experienced purchasing agent from a reputable freight shipping company to handle your shipping operations. A good purchasing agent is an asset to you and your business.