Classification of Material Purchasing Work of a Manufacturing Company

The five classifications of work found in a purchasing operation are:

1. Administrative

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2. Buying

3. Expediting

4. Special staff work

5. Clerical.

1. Administrative:

Purchasing administration involves all the tasks associated with the management process, with emphasis on the development of policies, procedures controls, and the mechanics for coordinating purchasing operations with those of other departments.

2. Buying:

This includes a wide variety of activities such as reviewing requisitions, analysing specifications, doing informal value analysis, investigating vendors, interviewing sales people, studying costs and prices, and negotiating.

3. Expediting:

This order follow up activity involves various types of vendor liasion work, such as reviewing the status of orders, writing letters, telephoning and telegraphing suppliers and occasionally visiting suppliers’ plants.

4. Special Staff Work:

A well developed purchasing operation has an unending number of special projects or studies requiring specialised knowledge and interrupted effort. These projects commonly are found in the areas of formal value analysis, economic and market studies, special cost studies, special vendor investigations, and system studies.

5. Clerical:

Every department must write orders, maintain working files, maintain catalogs and library materials, and maintain records for commodities, vendors, prices and so on.

In a small company, say 150 employees, purchasing is frequently a two person department. The purchasing manager handles all work in the first four classifications, and a secretary performs the clerical work. As the size of the department increases, additional personnel are usually assigned joint buying and expediting duties.

At this point, buyers begin to specialise on the basis of broad classifications of the commodities which they buy, and each buyer typically does his own expediting work. As the department grows, buyers continue to specialise in increasingly narrower commodity classifications.

Eventually, the expediting work may be withdrawn from the buyers and assigned to expediters, who may specialise in somewhat the same manner as buyers. Continued growth finally results in the addition of one or more staff personnel who specialise in various kinds of special projects.