In the procurement department of a company, a purchasing clerk usually does clerical work. He could be in charge of preparing orders and double-checking them for accuracy. Another task could be to check stock and keep track of what needs to be ordered and when. This person may be in charge of receiving the items when they arrive. He could also file claims with the appropriate parties for lost or damaged goods.
Typically, this person works under the supervision of a purchasing agent. He rarely enters into contracts or authorizes purchases. He could, however, be in charge of filing and entering these documents into a database. He might also type orders and keep track of their progress with vendors.
A purchasing clerk may review an order after it has been placed to ensure that the correct items and quantities were requested. He might also check to see if the company is being overcharged for goods or shipping. He frequently does this going through the purchase order one line at a time, looking for errors before placing the order.
A purchasing clerk might suggest to his boss which products should be ordered. He could do this keeping track of the inventory in the storage rooms of a company. In order to make a valid assessment, this person may also need to forecast the future use of specific items. If theft or misuse of assets is suspected, he may be called upon to track the use of specific materials.
The receiving department can ask a purchasing clerk to double-check that the seller shipped the correct products. In this case, the person may need to count the items or compare the items to the original order. In addition, the clerk may file reports on items that have been damaged in transit or incomplete shipments. When these kinds of issues arise, he might be in charge of attempting to obtain credit from the vendor or carrier.
A high school diploma is usually all that is required for employment as a purchasing clerk. He should be well-versed in warehouse operations and have excellent communication skills. It’s also a plus if you’ve worked with automated spreadsheets and databases before.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States predicts that job growth in this field will be below average. This is largely because computerized ordering methods are expected to become more popular in the future. However, because there is a need to replace workers who have retired or changed careers, job prospects may remain favorable in many areas.