Logistics management: how far does the role of the buyer go?
Logistics was seen only as an operating sector in companies for a very long time. The main concern with the industry was to maintain a low cost and the market spent a lot of time ignoring the strategic and the competitive potentials that a quality logistics management can offer.
Nowadays, as companies already invest in the creation of directory loads and logistics management, we can see signs that this picture is changing. More than looking after acquisitions and contracts with suppliers, the logistics operators in the company are professionals who influence the performance of all other sectors, ensuring a better quality of raw material, negotiating the best prices and ensuring that there is no lack of structure to produce.
However, precisely because of this new configuration of logistics activities, the role of the buyer has become somewhat blurry. After all, what are the functions of the buyer and where should this professional be involved in the buying process? We will discuss some main points about the buyer’s duties and how it relates to the other departments and employees in a company!
The buyer’s profile
As companies in general devote most of their budgets to acquisitions and investments in the production structure, the purchasing management is an administrative role, not just a supportive section as it used to be seen as.
The purchasing professional needs to be multifaceted, in the sense of studying hard and knowing well the processes of purchase, storage, packaging, transportation and handling of inputs involved in the activities of the company.
In addition, marketing, technology, and management expertise is increasingly demanding to perform fully, as well as demonstrating proactivity, initiative, and good decision-making skills.
All this training is necessary so that the buyer is able to fulfill the objectives set for his department, that is, the best deals, the fulfillment of deadlines and a regularity of supply to the company.
The buyer’s duties
The logistics function involves, among other activities, an analysis of quotations, careful consideration of prices, quality of materials purchased, receipt of purchases and a placement of the inputs in operation.
Within the process of logistics management, the buyer is the individual responsible for ensuring that things are performed completely, without impact or damage to the productive process of the company.
The buyer is responsible for:
1. Ensuring the continuous supply of materials and inputs for the operations, by controlling the requests, searching the best suppliers and negotiating prices and conditions more favorable to the budget;
2. Maintaining inventory control in an intelligent manner, with goods available for quick replacements, avoiding downtime in production;
3. Avoiding stockpiling many similar items, preventing spoilage, waste and obsolescence of goods;
4. Acquiring items of proven quality, and working to maintain this quality within storage, transportation and placement of the inputs;
5. Maintaining administrative control of suppliers, through updated registries, constant contacts with suppliers and revision of old contracts.
In short, the buyer’s function is to make sure the items are purchased in cases of real need, quickly to avoid production losses, and ensure that items are stored and transported safely. The analysis of quotations and suppliers must be widely conducted in order to know all possible sides of the potential partner, looking thoroughly into the suppliers own activities, processes and history.
Other Sectors and Participants
Other logistics management professionals ought to work together to ensure there are no problems with the processes. This means checking the operation of every process at each stage of the supply chain, from the issuing of purchase orders to the delivery of the goods purchased.
The department needs to operate so that costs are always the smallest, collaborating to control inventory expenditures, investing in planning and forecasting replacement and maintenance of equipment and supplies, and mainly working in an integrated way with other departments of the company.
The supply flow begins with a purchase request, which can start from either an internal need of a sector or from one of the stages of the production process. From there, the buyer goes into action to execute that purchase, choosing the best suppliers and setting the deadlines for delivery or execution of the service. After a purchase, the sector that received the service or good must report back to the logistics sector, with comments on the final outcome of the purchase.
Integration is fundamental to keep forecasts reliable, so that the planning can be held through as initially conceived. A good communication channel is important to maintain everyone on the same page, in the form of meetings and reports, to stay aligned in conducts, decisions and attitude.
Transparency across sectors is also a crucial part of logistics management. Problems and defects need to be reported immediately after they occur, as well as obstacles in the delivery process and quality of the goods purchased. Transparency also applies to inventory management, with constant audits and checks to prevent over-purchases.
Suppliers should be carefully selected by the buyer, and their relationship with the company should be similar to a partnership. In this way, it is possible to invite suppliers to get to know the internal operation, analyze your processes and understand the lines of management, indicating problematic points and even being inspired to improve their own internal processes.
By maintaining a friendly relationship with suppliers, the requests will be met with much more zeal, as well as opening new doors for negotiating prices and terms with more flexibility.
In today’s article, you saw some aspects of the discussion about the buyer’s role in logistics management. Of course, each company operates the way it sees fit, assigns different roles and obligations to its employees according to their needs. However, in general, logistics management must go through the points we have listed, in order to maintain a basic purchasing structure in place.
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