The purchasing department is key to a company, especially when importing is an essential part of the business.
As we have discussed in various articles in this blog, the characteristics of a purchasing department can vary depending on the size of the company, the sector and even the type of products traded.
Despite this, a purchasing professional who is integrated into this type of department must be able to adapt to the company’s market, always complying with a series of requirements that we wanted to collect in the form of “the 10 commandments of the purchasing department“.
You will know the market as well as you know yourself.
Working in a certain sector always forces you to keep up to date with market developments, but when you work in a purchasing department, even more so! New production materials, alternatives to the usual packaging, improvements in the sustainability of a package… You can’t lose track of what’s going on in the market.
You will pay special attention to stock
A possible stock out causes panic in any company, especially in purchasing departments. For this reason, you should always have the quantities of products under control to avoid this crisis that can cause both financial and reputational damage.
You will study suppliers very carefully before buying from them
The selection of suppliers is an essential stage in any import. Carrying out a thorough study of what each factory offers, its quality and production capacity, among other factors, will avoid possible future problems.
You will accept patience as a rule and shy away from urgent purchases
If you work in the purchasing sector, you will know that some transactions are not quick and that patience is a requirement in your profession. When a company imports products from China or any other Asian country, the purchasing process is often slow, which is why planning is essential.
The company’s organisation chart is sacrosanct
In a well-organised company, no one is indispensable. However, working in a team is not always easy, and problems often arise when you are not clear about the organisation chart of a company and the stages that a decision has to go through. It is important that all employees are clear about where they fit in, what their functions are and what objectives they have to fulfil, so study the organisation chart well and be very clear about the chain of command.
You will strive for perfect communication
We often think that “communication” is only important in certain departments, when the reality is that most problems inside and outside a company are caused by poor communication. It is important that you always maintain a fluid conversation with both your teammates and other departments, so it will be much easier to successfully overcome any challenge.
Languages open (many) doors, but they are not always enough
Languages are often regarded as a universal need and, for this reason, people who speak several of them fluently often fall into the trap of thinking that this is enough. In Asian countries, however, the reality is different, and most communication problems are caused by language. Having a local team in the country of production is a sure bet to improve the manufacturing process, so don’t think that speaking a few languages will always be enough.
You will rely on technology to improve any process
Technology is part of your day-to-day business, even in purchasing. You should opt for good software that allows you to keep your stock under control, that makes sales forecasts or offers information on storage to optimise your work.
It will be clear to you that price is never the only decision factor
The cost price of a product is very important, but it should never be the only factor that leads you to choose one supplier over another. Even if a lower cost helps to boost your competitive advantage, there are factors such as quality or production times that you should keep in mind.
You will never stop learning
In a global and changing market, you are obliged to learn every day. It doesn’t matter how old you are, or how much experience you have. There are always new business opportunities, technological or even linguistic developments to study – knowledge takes up no space!
Does your purchasing department need some extra help?
On many occasions, a company embarks on a new line of business in which it does not yet have experience. Despite having a good purchasing department, it is possible that in the first transactions the intervention of a purchasing agent or sourcing company may be necessary to provide support in one (or all) stages of the import process.
At S3 Group, we help all types of businesses with their importing; from pre-import advice, to supplier selection or quality control, among other services. Time has shown us that learning to buy in the best possible way is a skill that is learned with experience and with a good human team that, as in our case, is present both in the country of origin and in the country of production.