Purchasing is a central part of any business with some form of commercial operations, whether that’s a physical store or an e-store. On this page you’ll find great information about how purchasing works, what you need to think about, and some tips & tricks on how we at PostNord can assist you.
What is purchasing and how does it work?
All products and services bought by a company fall under the purchasing department. If you run a store, products that you buy to then sell to customers are a major part of your purchasing feature, but to the category ‘purchasing’ things you buy to run the business without the purpose of selling them to customers are also included. This includes consumables like office materials, for example.
No matter what type of purchase it is, you want the best possible quality at the best possible price. This is of course especially important if it’s a product or service you plan on selling to your customers. What purchases you make also greatly affect the profitability of your business.
Purchasing in small and large companies
In larger companies, purchasing is usually managed by a purchasing department. This can consist of a single responsible person, or a purchasing manager with several purchasers.
If you run a large organization with an extensive purchasing department it’s a good idea to separate operational purchases and strategic purchases. The operative purchasing process is the one that concerns products – meaning the process of obtaining them – while the strategic process is a centralized function that syncs purchasing with the company goals and management.
If you run a small company it’s usually both easier and more profitable to manage all purchases on your own.
What does a purchaser do?
A purchaser, whether it’s yourself or a member of staff specifically filling this position, is responsible for acquisitions made by the company.
Common work tasks of a purchaser include:
- Creation of purchase calculations
- Negotiations with suppliers
- Supplier assessments
- Strategic purchasing planning
- Operative purchasing work
To succeed as a purchaser it’s important to have the necessary skills in communication and negotiation, a great analytical ability, and a sense of good business. An ability to take initiative and take a helicopter view are also valuable attributes for a successful purchaser.
Things to consider for a more profitable purchasing function
How well you succeed with your purchases is highly connected to how well your business does overall. This is because expensive, unbalanced and unplanned purchases can quickly devour your profits, and risk pulling the entire company down.
To help you build a great purchasing process we give you a few valuable tips & tricks regarding things you should consider:
- Clarify the relation to your supplier – what terms apply and who is responsible for what?
- Dare to negotiate with your suppliers, but set realistic demands
- Regularly follow up on income vs. costs related to purchases
- Identify the purchasing needs and make a clear plan
- Create a purchasing budget and stick to it
Simplify parts of the purchasing process with PostNord
Shipping and distribution of the products you purchase is of course a crucial part of the purchasing process. We at PostNord can assist you with this. We are, after all, experts on everything related to transport and logistics. As a PostNord company client you get access to multiple clever features that can simplify your purchasing experience in PostNord Portal Business – including:
STrack incoming parcels from your suppliers using our efficient Track & Trace feature.
Claims & returns
Collect all claims and returns of purchases in one place. Register, track and follow up.
Don’t have a business account in the portal yet? Register quickly and for free here.