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Purchasing and Contracts Management - Overview


Purchasing and contracts management programs prepare people to direct the way a firm buys, stores, and sells supplies to other firms. Students learn to negotiate contracts and work with vendors. They also learn about audits and inspections.

Have you ever used a web-based shopping site that compares different vendors? Then you have some idea how computers have transformed the way companies purchase goods. As a purchasing manager, you can easily compare prices and shipping methods. You can force suppliers to compete for your purchasing dollar. You can check on the status of an order or shipment.

In the computer age, purchasing and contracts management also plays by new rules. You can reduce the firm's warehousing costs by ordering supplies "just in time" to use them. You can easily detect when supplies are running low, and you can create reports that show seasonal patterns of supply usage.

With these skills, you can help the business be a more lean and nimble operation. And in the era of global competition, that is badly needed. As a result, well-educated specialists can find good jobs in the field of purchasing and contracts management.

The most common route is to get a bachelor's degree. This represents four years of full-time study beyond high school. A few colleges offer bachelor's programs in purchasing and contracts management. (Sometimes it is called supply chain management.) In many other colleges you can take courses in this subject as part of a program in some other business subject.

Another route is to get a bachelor's in another business subject and then specialize at the graduate level. Several business schools offer a master's in business administration (MBA) in this field.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

• Introduction to Business
• Computer Science and Programming
• English Composition
• Public Speaking
• Pre-Calculus
• Economics

Source: Illinois Career Information System (CIS) brought to you by Illinois Department of Employment Security.
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