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4 Characteristics of a Good Purchasing Agent

Between managing your daily business operations and marketing your company, it is tough to focus 100% on your shipping operations. However, you should — your delivery and supply operations can make or break your business. So, how do you hack it? By engaging purchasing agents in U.S.A.

A good purchasing agent will order, receive, store, and ship goods to your customers or deliver to your location. Since you will trust a purchasing agent with a crucial part of your business, it’s wise to know the background of an agent, such as the purchasing agent training procedures and relevant industry experience.

Generally, a reputable purchasing agent should have the following characteristics:

1. Deep Knowledge and Connections in Your Industry

A purchasing and forwarding agent should have commercial knowledge beyond freight logistics. Since freight forwarders have undergone purchasing agent training, you expect them to be well-versed with international shipping. But does the purchasing agent know your industry? The ideal purchasing and forwarding agents should have more industry-based knowledge. They should have a working relationship or have the capacity to partner with different vendors and suppliers. If one of your existing suppliers came short, you wouldn’t have an inventory crisis because your purchasing agent would help you get a new vendor fast enough. That’s why your international purchasing agent should have business connections beyond the freight shipping industry.

2. An International Purchasing Agent Should Understand Government Regulations

If you rely on vendors from different countries, you always have to be updated about any laws and regulations that will affect your shipping operations. For example, if you import your merchandise from the Dominican Republic and the British Virgin Islands, you have to be on top of any shipping rate changes in both locations. If you don’t adjust your shipping operations as the changes come, you may make huge losses or lock heads with the authorities. This is the challenge a purchasing agent will solve for your business. Forwarding agents keep tabs on the changes happening in the shipping industry and advise you accordingly. Purchasing agent training makes them familiar with commercial law and international shipping regulations.

3. Purchasing Agents Are Good Negotiators and Communicators

Managing different international vendors’ calls is a time commitment that you may not afford. Consider the different time zones and language barriers that you would have to deal with. Additionally, you would have to spend a huge chunk of time comparing and negotiating offers from different suppliers. Luckily, you don’t have to deal with the tedious task of managing supplier relationships, as your purchasing agent will have your back. A purchasing agent should scout for the best offers available and negotiate on your behalf. For this reason, you will always buy quality goods at the best price. In the long run, the small price discounts will add to your profits in a big way.

4. Purchasing Agents Should Be Trustworthy and Have High Integrity

Trusting someone else to handle your inventory supply and shipping operations is not an easy decision. All it takes is a poor or dishonest purchasing agent, and your business will be in trouble. On the other hand, a responsible purchasing and forwarding agent will boost your company’s productivity. You may give your agent credit card access or have a bank account with their freight shipping company to enhance seamless operation. This allows the agent to capitalize on flash sales and facilitate vendor payments to keep operations running smoothly. Seeing how much responsibility you will be giving to your purchasing agents, they must be efficient and have high integrity.

Before you sign a purchasing agent agreement with an international freight forwarder, you should ensure that they are well-versed with your industry. Additionally, they should be trustworthy and have the capacity to interact with different vendors and negotiate prices on your behalf. The top purchasing and forwarding agents have undergone purchasing agent training that makes them adept at international shipping. This is great, given that ocean vessels carry 38% and 53% of U.S. exports and imports, respectively.

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