Course Reflection: purchasing and material management
This course has helped me to gain tremendous knowledge and skills related to purchasing material and management. I never thought purchasing process to be as important as described in the course. I have gained knowledge about purchasing process as well as the process of supply chain management. I was very poor in the knowledge about how different processes occur in the organization. This course has helped me a lot in getting plenty information about different steps of purchasing the material. Material management includes various things such as inventory management, transportation, and procurement. The organization encounters several problems in both the process of purchasing material and supply chain management.
I have learned that business follows more formal approach to consumer buying habits toward purchasing. They need to focus on several aspects before actually buying the material. They have to compare the suppliers, prices, quality of good and services before making a purchase. Some businesses properly focus on each step of material purchasing. On the other hand, some businesses skip some steps if they are in a hurry or don’t want to spend time figuring out what is required. I learned that material purchasing is a long process where we need to focus on each and everything carefully to assure that we have made a worthy purchase.
I learned about the entire process of purchasing material with the help of videos, discussions, and textbook. The videos provided in the course proved to be very helpful in understanding the concepts easy and faster. I think that it would be difficult for me to understand different concepts without the discussions board better. The discussion board was very helpful to listen to others and talk your points about the concept. We were given a video to review and then discuss it with others. Therefore, we all get many ideas, points, and thoughts of others on a single concept.
I searched that the process of purchasing material starts with the identification of the problem. Until any person in an organization identifies an issue that can be resolved with purchasing material, the process does not start at all. Any person in the organization can initiate the process of purchasing. It can help employees, a customer, manager, salesperson or anyone else. It is also possible that a salesperson might help someone other from the company to figure out the problem existing in the organization that no one other had previously recognized. Once the problem is recognized, a significant thought is given about if the good or service is required or not. Therefore, after detailed analysis, the decision to purchase material is made. After the identification, it is also important to describe the need. For instance, if an organization is out of printer paper, then significant decisions can be taken. The decisions can vary with the person. If the manager has to resolve the issues, then he might decide to purchase more paper. On the other hand, it is also possible that the software engineer in the company recommends using a tablet computer to become paperless. Therefore, it depends on the organization which decided that they need to follow considering the urgency and cost.
Once the purchasing authority of the organization approved the purchasing decision, next step is to narrow down the specification of the product. They focus on the actual requirement from the product. For example, if the company decided to purchase tablets over the printer paper, the next step is to specify the size of the tablet, required memory, screen quality, etc. on the other hand, if the company decide to purchase paper over the tablet, then they will look for quantity and the quality of paper required. I think that defining product specifications helps a lot in making a good purchase. If we are purchasing the product as per the requirements, then we are likely to get more benefit from it.
I also learned that the next step in purchasing material which is “supplier search” is very important. I never considered this important steps. As a customer, I never focussed on this part of the purchasing process. But I learned that searching an appropriate supplier is the crucial need while purchasing material. Though many companies already have a supplier from whom they frequently purchase different products. But if the company does not have any supplier, then the best way to search for a supplier is to look online. Apart from this, companies can also indulge in trade shows or directly contact the supplier through the telephone. Different aspects need to consider while deciding on the supplier. It is very important to search for those suppliers who are financially stable and reputable. The company can write out a request for proposal and then send it to many suppliers that they prefer. They can also send the proposal in public so that any supplier in the market can send the proposal. I think this is a simple process if purchases are small, but the process becomes complex when it comes to larger organizations.
The next step in the purchasing material process is the “supplier selection.” The larger organizations read the proposal of the suppliers to determine which supplier is offering the best product at the best price. Sometimes, it is the price that helps some organizations to win. On the other hand, some organizations focus on the quality of the product. Therefore, it is very important to a trade-off between the quality and the price before selecting the supplier.
The order specification and performance review follow the supplier selection. After selecting the supplier, the organization places the order. There are certain terms on which both the supplier and the organization must agree on. At last, organization review the product delivered by the supplier. It is checked for the specification. It must be within acceptable standards. If there is a larger purchase, then a formal review process is followed. In this way, the course provided me in-depth knowledge of the entire purchasing process.
We also learned about the supply chain management process. I learned that supply chain management is a process of designing, planning, executing, controlling and at last monitoring the different supply chain activities. The main purpose of the entire process is to create net value. There is numerous another process that comes from the supply chain management such as strategic planning, demand planning, manufacturing, supply management, procurement, warehousing, order fulfillment, and transportation. All these processes make the supply chain management complete and effective.
In simple words, there are five important steps in the entire supply chain management process. These include plan, develop, make, deliver and return. The entire process focuses on these five steps. It is very important for an organization to prepare a proper strategic plan for sourcing and supply chain management. After the planning, products are services are delivering considering the demand forecast. The products are manufactured in bulk after the approval. After the manufacturing, the products are stored in the warehouses before reaching to the end users. The process of delivering the product is itself complex. The transportation medium always plays an important role in the timely delivery of the products. It also needs to consider the delivery point. As many countries are now indulged in international business, there is an important need to focus on transportation. There are many businesses where quick product delivery is necessary. For example, Domino’s pizza and much other food business are conducting their business with the competitive advantage of delivering food at home without taking considerable time. In such type of business, the delivery time plays a crucial role in the success of the business. Therefore, it is very important that to consider the transportation medium to deliver the products.
The last step in the supply chain Mangement is the return. Many online businesses allow the customer to return the product if it is not as per their acceptable standards. Therefore, the customers can either keep the product or return to the company. Many businesses do not incorporate this step in their process.
Overall, the course offered me a great opportunity to learn many things about the business world. I think that manufacturing companies have many steps and processes in every operation. I also learned about quality management in the process of supply chain management. The quality management department assures that the manufactured products are within the acceptable quality. If there are some flaws in the product, then control process is involved to assure it is as per the customer requirements.
I think all the concepts that I learned in this course will help me a lot in future. I understand the big picture of how different business operates. Therefore, it will be very easy for me to adapt to any environment in any workplace. I think that if organizations focus on every step of supply chain management, then they can easily create value for the customers. The customer satisfaction is the primary need, or we can say that success factor in any business. The satisfied customers are likely to purchase the good from the same company again in the future.
It was a great experience to work on this course. I am now writing this reflection and very happy to see progress in myself. I enjoyed analyzing videos and participating in discussion boards. I have developed numerous skills related to writing, purchasing and supply chain management. In my future courses and career, I will implement all the key learnings from this course. Even I can implement the process of purchasing in my daily life as well. I am seeking to open my own business in future. Therefore, having full knowledge about the material purchasing will help me a lot in getting the things better. I would be able to make a better decision. I will make sure to carry my goals while using all the skills and knowledge that this course has offered me. I am very thankful to everyone for their support and participation.