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Know your inventory

By Ranjan K Baruah

Purchase is a common word for all of us. We purchase different goods or items on different occasions. We purchase for basic needs as well as luxury. It refers to a business or organisation attempting to acquire goods or services to accomplish its goals. Although there are several organisations which attempt to set standards in the purchasing process, processes can vary greatly between organisations. Typically the word “purchasing” is not used interchangeably with the word “procurement” since procurement typically includes expediting, supplier quality and transportation and logistics, in addition to purchasing.
Traditionally, the purchasing section issued purchase for supplies, services, equipment and raw materials. Then, in an effort to decrease the administrative costs associated with the repetitive ordering of basic consumable items, ‘blanket’ or ‘master’ agreements were put into place. These types of agreements typically have a longer duration and increased scope to maximise the quantities of scale concept.
When additional supplies were required, a simple release would be issued to the supplier to provide the goods or services.
Now, when it comes to career opening then we see options in purchase management. Purchase or purchasing management is the management of the purchasing process and related aspects in an organisation.
A purchasing management department can be formed and operated by one or more employees to ensure that all goods, supplies and inventory needed for the organisation to operate are ordered and kept in stock, as well as control inventory levels and costs associated with purchasing the items. It is also called material management and hence aspirants should not be confused with the term.
Materials management is a core supply chain function and includes supply chain planning and supply chain execution capabilities. Specifically, materials management is the capability firms use to plan total material requirements. The material requirements are communicated to procurement and other functions for sourcing. It is also responsible for determining the amount of material to be deployed at each stocking location across the supply chain, establishing material replenishment plans, determining inventory levels to hold for each type of inventory, and communicating information regarding material needs throughout the extended supply chain.
The job and responsibility vary in each organisation and one should be flexible to be successful in this field. The salary also varies and one might work in business houses or other departments or in NGOs or development organisation that provides reliefs and other assistance.
Purchasing managers direct the buying activities for a company/organisation and factories and they must have good leadership skills to excel in career. They have wide spectrum of employment opportunities in public as well as the private sector.
Graduates may enter this field easily who have management degree. Without management degree it may not possible to get entry level jobs but some time references might work for which one needs to be skilled and little experienced.
Some of the courses related to this filed are: Advanced Diploma in Material Management, Diploma in Material Management, MBA in Material Management, MBA in Production and Materials Management, Post Graduate Diploma in Materials and Logistics Management, Post Graduate Diploma in Materials Management, Post Graduate Diploma in Production and Materials Management, Certificate in Purchase Management, etc.
Apart from regular courses there are courses through distance mode too. These professionals seek employment in government departments like public sector undertakings; industries like manufacturing, pharmaceuticals or logistics; banks and other financial houses; media, entertainment and fashion industries; tourism, travel and hospitality industries, telecom etc.

(Ranjan K Baruah is a career mentor, skill trainer, academic consultant and strategic planner and can be reached at [email protected] or 8473943734 for any career related queries)

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