Centralize Functions With a Purchasing Manager

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Tom Poulin, CGR, owner of Poulin Design Remodeling Inc. in Albuquerque, N.M., saw his profits increase by 22% in one year.

April 01, 2003


Purchasing manager Chris Everett.

Tom Poulin, CGR, owner of Poulin Design Remodeling Inc. in Albuquerque, N.M., saw his profits increase by 22% in one year. But he realized that key functions such as making sure items were ordered properly and at the lowest cost had been overlooked or done poorly because the responsibility was spread among too many people. To handle growth more effectively and position his company for future growth, Poulin centralized these key functions by hiring a purchasing manager.

In place for six years, purchasing manager Chris Everett is responsible for fielding all material orders: pre-purchasing items once a job is sold, authorizing all purchases requested from the field and filing orders with distributors. He manages and takes inventory of the warehouse. No jobs are scheduled until he has confirmed that all the necessary products (especially products with long lead times) are accounted for. Once this is done, Everett establishes the earliest possible start date for the project. His duties also involve weekly job and subcontractor scheduling, coordinating field labor and overseeing weekly safety meetings and other training.

Poulin believes his current company structure further empowers its lead men in the field (helped by the absence of a production manager) and gives its sales consultants the ability to focus solely on sales without getting bogged down in post-sale details.

Since he created the purchasing manager position, Poulin says he has seen a direct impact on the effectiveness of the company, noting improved efficiency, the elimination of cost errors, solid customer relations and increased gross profits.

"We found that putting a dedicated, responsible person in charge of all those areas has helped our business run more smoothly," Poulin says. "The number of mistakes we find from material suppliers and subcontractors, billing us for false things, is amazing. The purchasing manager is guarding the company from unnecessary charges."

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