BUS230 – Performing Purchasing Agent Duties
Performing Purchasing Agent Duties Business is booming for Waters, Inc., a growing customer service fulfillment business. Most of its business is coming from clients who once outsourced their customer service needs to firms in India. A major client just signed a contract that will take effect in nine months. This means there are only nine months to purchase the equipment and to train 75 new customer service representatives. As a purchasing agent, you are tasked with getting the computer equipment and software that the new agents will need to the specifications of both the client and established company standards.
Need Identification and Specification
- Create 10 to 12 questions that you will ask the client in order to determine the exact hardware and software needs. Provide a brief rationale for asking the question.
Questions to Assist Purchasing Agent Establish Software and Hardware Needs of a Company
The acquisition of hardware and software is one of the important activities companies undertake periodically. Analysis indicated that most organizations acquire or upgrade their computer system after a specified period of time such as 3-5 years. The acquisition or upgrade of the computer system depends with the market forces such as the expansion and demand to effective and efficient services. Other factors include the life span of the software and hardware (Habrias & Frappier, 2006). Considering that information technology is a fast-changing field and most of the software and hardware components are rendered obsolete within a short period, it is prudent for the company to acquire components that are upgradable in order to minimize costs.
As a result, companies are expected to make major decisions based on the expert analysis in order to acquire the right components. However, most companies lack internal expertise and they are forced to outsource purchasing agents to helps in delivering the correct computer components based on the specifications outlined (Psaltis, 2015). In order to establish the right software and hardware needed by the company, purchasing agents are guided by the specific questions. These questions assist the purchasing agent to establish the needs and the requirements of the company. Identification and specification of software and hardware is very crucial in ensuring that computer equipment functions properly. Some of the questions include:
What are the size of the computers the company would like to acquire?
This is the question that would guide the purchasing agent to determine whether to tender for the supply of small or large size computers. This also ensures that the purchasing agent supply the right size of computers. The size of the computers is normally determine based on the size of working environment and the kind of work the computer would be handling. It is the responsibility of the purchasing agent to advice the company accordingly based on the requirement and needs of the company.
What is the level of customization of the system that the company would like to have?
This question is very crucial when determining whether the company requires software and hardware that are customized according to their specifications. Some companies prefer to install software and hardware that are customized to deliver specific services and functions. For example, software and hardware that interact directly with customers through an interface requires friendly user interface. Customization of the software and hardware is effected at the production and some manufacturing companies are known to produce customized products. Customization of computer component is very crucial in ensuring that customers and clients receive quality services in an effective and efficient manner.
What are the software applications that the company would like to install in their computers?
This is an important question because some software applications are manufactured with a build in applications while others come with separate applications that would require installations. It is important for the purchasing agent to understand all the software application since some applications have compatibility use and this can affect operations of the computer components. In addition, some companies prefer to acquire software applications that are delivered as purchase-industry specific that suits the company activities.
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How much has the company budget for software and hardware acquisition?
This question is very important since it enables the purchasing agent to operate within the budget of the company. Also, when selecting the suitable supplier for the software and hardware, only companies that quoted within the budget would be selected. It is important for the purchasing agent to advice company accordingly in order to ensure that the correct amount is allocated without compromising the quality of software and hardware as well as creating value for the money.
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What are the computing tasks of the company?
It is necessary to understand the computing tasks of the company in order to determine the suitable Central Processing Unit (CPU) to supply. It is important to understand that some computing tasks are executed using a CPU with certain specification and any computing with CPU lacking these specifications cannot perform the task. In addition, some application requires CPU with high speed processors in order to function effectively. For example, most applications that require the use of 3D graphics and video editing functions effective when executed using CPU with Intel core i7 which has high speed. Therefore, it is important to understand the company’s computing tasks in order to supply equipment that improve service delivery in the company.
What method of file conversion is the company intending to use?
There are three file conversion methods that the company could use to move from the current system to the new system. These are direct changeover, phased out or parallel file conversion method. This is question is very important since it helps the purchasing agent to determine if there is a need for the vendors to install the system and wait for the system to convert fully or remove the existing system and replace with the new one. This helps the vendor to plan adequately and speed up the installation process. Also, the file conversation methods can have effect on the overall cost, therefore, it is necessary to know the file conversion method in order to factor in the cost.
What are the company’s business process and the systems it uses?
It is crucial for purchasing agent to understand business process of the company in order to establish the right software that could be integrated with these business process, thus improving the productivity and service delivery to the clients. For example, the acquisition of right software and hardware that could be integrated with sales, marketing, finances and accounting process of the company improves the overall management of the company, which is the essence of upgrading the information technology system of the company.
Are the employees of the company comfortable with upcoming systems?
This question helps the purchasing agent to determine whether the implementation of the new system will receive support or resistance from the employees of the company. This also helps the purchasing agent to understand whether the company employees including the management are aware of the new systems that already exist in the market. In addition, the purchasing agent will be able to determine whether the employees and management of the company are flexible to adopt new technologies available in the market, in order to consider supplying the new technologies available in the market to help improve the company’s performance.
What made the company to consider purchasing their own equipment and not outsource?
This is question is very crucial in identifying the flaws that are associated with outsourcing. The purchasing agent will tend maximize on the weaknesses of outsourcing by ensuring that all the flaws are avoided in the tendering process thus delivering quality service to the client.
What are the ideal expectations of the company on the kind of software and hardware it would like?
This question helps the purchasing agent to determine the suitable company to supply the equipment. Some companies prefer products of specific manufacturing companies due to quality and performance. For example, most companies in United States prefer Apple hardware and software due to their reliability.
What kind of keyboard the company would prefer to use?
There are three kinds of keyboard and there uses: the wireless, use of ergonomics and use of mouse. This question is very important in ensuring that as a purchasing agent, the right keyboards are supplied as expected by the company. Also, it is important to know the kind of keyboard in order to acquire the correct keyboard from the right vendor with detailed specifications.
What internet connection and Random Access Memory (RAM) would the company prefer to use?
Although all vendors may stock computer components of various specifications, some vendor are very specific on component that they supply. As a result, it is important for the purchasing agent to know the speed of the processor and the internet connection they would like to use in order to procure using the specified details. These also may be determined by the kind of work the computer is used for in the operations of the company.