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What Considerations Should You Make Before Organizing International Freight Shipping?

purchasing agent interview questions

There is a massive industry for transporting cargo and goods around the world, and more than a few types of vehicles are available to get the job done. Purchasing agents can help any client make the right purchases at the right time, for the right price, and hiring the right one is crucial. That means asking the right purchasing agent interview questions and having realistic expectations about freight shipping. So what do you need to consider about freight shipping and purchasing agents?

The Industry of Fast Freight

As of 2012, the worldwide aviation industry delivered some $6.4 trillion worth of cargo, and according to Boeing in that year, cargo-only planes delivered around 60% of the world’s air-freight shipments. The air cargo industry, as a whole, ships close to 30% of the entire world’s cargo by value, and it may grow in coming years, too. Delivering cargo by plane is efficient and fast, and air freight services enjoy tight control on the process because they are timing sensitive. The short transport time also cuts down risks of damage to products during travel, and higher quality upon arrival, too. And it is air travel that makes “overnight” 24-hour deliveries possible, since jets travel much faster than other vehicles and aren’t hindered by rough terrain.

But don’t forget about ships. Although not as fast as jets, ships can carry a lot more cargo at once, and a large percentage of the world’s goods are delivered by this method. For the United States, for example, ocean vessels are carrying 53% of all imports and 38% of all exports, typically inside huge steel shipping containers. Around six million of those containers are in circulation today, traveling the globe by ship, and they can carry anything from furniture to cars to foodstuffs to raw materials.

Hiring a Purchasing Agent

Who needs to hire an agent dedicated to making purchases? A small or medium-sized company may hire one, to help delegate this tedious but essential work while the owners focus their efforts elsewhere. A purchasing agent’s job is a critical one, since a company or other client must buy the right items in the correct quantity, and for a good price. Doing that is easier said than done, so during the interview and vetting process, the right purchasing agent interview questions should be asked to ensure a candidate can handle making many high-quality purchases for that client.

Some of these purchasing agent interview questions may be along the lines of:

  • How would you find the best prices for product X consistently?
  • What’s your system for managing my inventory to decide when a purchase must be made?
  • Do you have good phone skills?

A purchasing agent, after all, is the one who reaches out to suppliers on the client’s behalf and interacts with them, negotiating prices and shipment options for the client. Such an agent must find the best deal for any desired product, and arrange for the cheapest, most reliable, and fastest delivery possible.

When you’re searching for a purchasing agent or setting up international freight shipping, don’t forget to take all of this into consideration.

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