Purchasing and Material Management

Purchasing refers to a business or organization attempting to acquire goods or services to accomplish its goals. We have listed down the important questions and answers that will help you to prepare for a role in Purchasing and Material Management.

Q.1 What are the uses of vendor management software?
In every procurement department vendor management software is an excellent choice and a good resource .It supports all of the processes which should be done by every procurement department which are as follows. Firstly to keep track of vendor performance metrics, secondly draw attention to sub-par vendor performance, thirdly opportunities for vendor performance improvement.
Q.2 Discuss the requirement of material needs on daily basis.
The right approach to the day to day requirement of material needs is right way of communication. To be proactive and be updated on daily basis by having all the information from sales team, logistics manager, by getting detailed report about the stocks we have in warehouse. The accurate and precise calculations are needed to determine the exact quantity needed on daily basis in different shifts so that the productivity should not lack behind. Though the data is always updated on the company’s interface and all the information is provided just by one click but if at last minute there is a requirement of material needs on urgent basis then communication plays a key role in providing full support of the team.
Q.3 What is the best possible way by which good relationships are maintained with the suppliers?
The best possible to maintain relationships with the buyers is to communicate with them .the orders should be placed on time and understand their requirements if they have any issues. By developing good rapport building and good interactions make strong connections. One should visit the suppliers personally whenever it is required and take interest in looking over their factories and showing the concern builds positivity among each other. When we are connected over mails, calls, or through paper correspondence the personal visit adds good impression which strengthen the association with the suppliers. When we are known to the suppliers on personal level we can get a good negotiation over the price which suits to both the parties at the end.
Q.4 One of the customer called and placed an order at last minute but you don’t have material to fulfil the requirement and it will take some time to get it in production .How will you tackle this situation?
As a material manager it will be the first thing to look into the requirements of the customers and to fulfil it .The possibility of material not available in the production is at the least possibility as being the role given one has to be updated with all the day to day requirements .But in case the material is finished and the order is urgent one can politely see the need of the customer and availability of the material and after careful analysis the problem can be solved. As being in business one always keeps the check on the material needed and is always well stocked as good communication results in strong relationships with the customer’s one can definitely understand the urgent requirement and when to set the deadline to deliver that product. In the meantime by contacting personally to the supplier and figuring out when the material will be ready, delivery time, time for expedition and all the formalities can be done. .If they have any problem and the manager can solve by putting some extra efforts like arranging the vehicle if not available on time or any sort of requirement would be great. In the end strong communication, problem solving capabilities and proactive decisions are key to the answer.
Q.5 What is the role of monitoring and reporting when your job profile is material manager?
While being the material manager the role of monitoring and reporting is very crucial. When the manager monitor stocks he gets updated with information how much material is needed for different shifts on daily basis. The reporting plays important role as well .The interface can show all the data of stocks and material needs in the production according to the orders received and to be fulfilled. When there will be proper interaction with the staff and day to day data monitoring and observing and calculations will lead to proper reporting of the material supplies in the warehouse.
Q.6 What was your experience when you faced a tight deadline order to deliver at work?
It is all about dedication and how efficiently one can foresee things and make it work with sheer determination and cooperation. After all deadline has to be met at work so that there is accurate delivery of the order and one should not lack behind to fulfil ones duty. One should have positive attitude and build up favourable environment so that nobody should feel left out and it should be a team work. During overtime as well when the production requirements needed to meet the specific deadline one should be ready to fulfil all the requirements and challenges occur under such pressure. By prioritising the tasks one can achieve the timeline set to show the deliverance.
Q.7 How you will manage the data related to purchase?
Managing data and metrics for purchasing and material management is an essential task and it involves storing and processing data as per requirement. Access is provided as per the role of the employee. Also, data monitoring across the company is undertaken for sensitive information.
Q.8 What has been your experience with IoT products in material management?
IoT expands to Internet of Things and it refers to applying computing devices which can connect to a network for data gathering, analysis and decision making. They have revolutionized material management as it provides automation and has led to the emergence of Industry 4.0. I have extensive experience in using IoT in material management and using it for analysis and decision making. It helps in improved utilization and maintenance.
Q.9 What are current material management technologies you dealt with?
Yes, I am having experience with various recent material management technologies which includes Predictive maintenance, Smart sensors, Cyber-physical systems (CPS), Cloud computing, Artificial intelligence and The industrial internet of things (IIoT)
Q.10 What do you think of most important role of a material manager?
As a material manager my focus is to provide the materials needed at any stage of production at optimum levels so as to fulfil the customer demand with least cost towards storage though maintaining optimum inventory levels. Adopting material management technologies which are more efficient and effective for the organization. Reducing costs without losing on quality or speed of production is the primary motto.
Q.11 How do you see yourself in next five year in purchase and material management?
I foresee a bright future as I will gain more skills and knowledge in the domain off purchase and material management by adding new technologies as needed by my organization for being competitive after considering the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the organization.
Q.12 What is the impact of purchase and material management on the goals of a company?
Purchase and material management is an important function of the company which has both short term and long term impact on the organization. Manager purchase and material management function fulfils the need of company for material, at right time, place and cost. The long term impact is addition of efficiency and cost reduction with an effective purchase and material management and short term impact is of not stopping production due to non-availability of material.
Q.13 How you manage subordinates in your purchase and material management team?
Supervising subordinates in my purchase and material management team is crucial and I focus on managing subordinate as per their role in the team and skill level they possess. I try to maintain a motivational environment so that the team work as a single unit in providing purchase and material management services to the organization as per laid down KPIs (key performance indicators).
Q.14 How you maintain discipline in your purchase and material management team?
Maintaining discipline in the purchase and material management team is a crucial element for a productive environment in the team. I maintain discipline first by making every team member aware of the applicable HR rules and regulatory laws for it. In case of any disciplinary action to be taken against a team member, I do it in private so that the employee has the chance to correct himself and prevent hostile work environment in future.
Q.15 What tasks are performed by a purchase and material manager?
A purchase and material management is responsible for management of the purchase function and the material management function in the company which focuses on providing material to the company at right time, place and cost. Also storing optimum quantity in least cost to the company. Purchase and material management is focused on having an efficient and effective purchase and material management in the company for achieving the organizational goals as per the specified KPIs (key performance indicators).
Q.16 How do you assign goals to your purchase and material management team?
Assignment of goals to the purchase and material management team involves analysing various factors before assignment which are as per the SMART approach for goals definition and assignment. Other than SMART, other factor is the availability of the resource.
Q.17 Why you are suitable as purchase and material manager?
As a purchase and material manager, I am having extensive experience in both purchase and material management with requisite skills including: communication, problem solving and coping under pressure which is of importance for purchase and material management role.
Q.18 Do you feel satisfied with your role as purchase and material manager?
I feel satisfied as purchase and material manager as I am able to provide my services for effective long term plan for purchase and material management and also manage efficiently and effectively the present purchase and material in the organization.
Q.19 How you keep yourself updated of new trends in purchase and material management?
Purchase and material management is seeing newer development every year and I update myself by attending industry seminars, conferences as available online or offline.
Q.20 What is your greatest work-related accomplishment in purchase and material management?
My greatest work-related accomplishment in purchase and material management has been the automation of material pickup by AMRs which was completed within the time and budget constraints.
Q.21 What are your strengths as a purchase and material manager?
As a purchase and material manager I am having extensive experience on the new purchase and material management technologies as well as managing the present purchase and material management technologies. I also have the requisite managerial skills for purchase and material management.
Q.22 How you manage conflict in your purchase and material management team?
Conflicts arise due to disagreements amongst the purchase and material management team members and which is managed by focusing on the reason for conflict. If needed we can use conflict management technique like collaborating, forcing, accommodating or compromising as per the situation.
Q.23 What will you do for under performance by your subordinates in your purchase and material management team?
Under performance by purchase and material management team member can be due to some specific reasons which are identified first. Usually subordinates are not well experienced hence; their feedback is also used to arrive at correct resolution of underperformance.
Q.24 How do you prioritize purchase and material management related tasks?
Purchase and material management involves many tasks on a day to day basis. Tasks also need to be prioritized to accomplish the organizational goals as per the specified KPIs (key performance indicators). Prioritization of tasks is done on the basis of various factors like: the tasks relevance, urgency, cost involved and resource availability.
Q.25 How you delegate tasks to subordinates in your purchase and material management team?
Purchase and material management has many tasks and which also needs to be managed so that there is no deviation in performance. Task delegation to subordinates is done as per their skill level, availability and past performance.
Q.26 How do you organize information and paper work involved in purchase and material management?
Purchase and material management involves lots of information in paper mode like invoice, receipts, etc. We mostly use electronic data to minimize paper work. Prioritization and proper document organization, helps organize information related to purchase and material management.
Q.27 How you manage your time for purchase and material management?
Purchase and material management involves lots of tasks which need to be completed in a specific time frame. Hence time management is of utmost importance and is applied by: using to do lists, being aware of time wasters and optimizing work environment
Q.28 Did you fail to achieve goals as purchase and material manager?
Yes, there was an instance when I failed to achieve the defined goals as purchase and material manager. I had planned for adding a new technology to material movement and for which requisite equipments were procured and training also imparted to employees for usage and maintenance. But, due to COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown was enforced which stalled the planned roll out. It resulted in financial loss to the company but we did a low key launch after lifting of the lockdown and were able to achieve the specified goals.
Q.29 What could be the reason for change management of an organization due to purchase and material management?
Purchase and material management involves introducing new vendors and technologies for increasing efficiency and be competitive. These tasks usually involve change management to be implemented. Hence, before any changes, planning and implementation of the change is undertaken involving all stakeholders.
Q.30 Why do you want to work as purchase and material manager at this company?
Working as purchase and material manager at this company offers me more many avenues of growth and enhance my purchase and material manager skills. Your company has been in the domain of manufacturing FMCG goods and hence offers opportunities for future growth in purchase and material management role. Also considering my education, skills and experience I see myself, more apt for the post.
Q.31 Why do you want the purchase and material manager job?
I want the purchase and material manager job as I am passionate about making companies more efficient by using new technologies and take stock of present technology portfolio to maximize their utility.
Q.32 What is UCC (Uniform Commercial Code)?
It is the code one should be aware of as it is widely used if someone is operating in the United States and purchasing goods from US suppliers. Within the US the body of law that covers the sale and purchase of goods above a certain monetary threshold is UCC.
Q.33 When a company –wide driven operational change driven by procurement needs to save money what tools and techniques should be used and if you have stakeholders how would get buy-in from them?
When procurement department communicates a companywide operational change as if they were procurement driven is not as pleasant as it seems. The procurement initiatives are not supported by stake holders in many cases and mostly when there is an inconvenient change in their work. It would be beneficial for procurement if the work is been carried out with senior management so that operational changes can be done related to the brand. When the senior management drive is initiated it gets the support of procurement which helps various departments and saves money as its stake holder’s accountability for savings. If the approach is taken in this way the changes will be projected as mandatory and strategic for stake holders and procurement department will be seen as a helpful partner.
Q.34 Explain the negotiation with a supplier that’s difficult?
During negotiation if the supplier is difficult then they should be approached carefully. When negotiation techniques are used depending upon the circumstances while negotiation. When we have more supplier’s availability in hands the procurement department can easily use more “hardball” style as their tactics of negotiation. In the case where procurement department have fewer option of the suppliers then persuasion techniques like “selling “style is used .
Q.35 How would describe your negotiation tactics and skillset?
As procurement professional one should have a wide range of skills and tactics intact. In this one has to use different tactics and skills in various circumstances which solely depend on various types of negotiations. There is a pool of negotiation skills along with tactics that should be used by well equipped procurement professional to implement depending upon the situation. The professional should bring the negotiations under win- win situation which is an added advantage.
Q.36 The department wants to order equipment over your budget what will be the right thing for you to do?
When department request to place an order that’s going over budget in that scenario there are many options available. First to be considered is to directly place the refusal of the order which is not so professional approach to be taken. The other option that one can consider with internal customers to lease the equipments instead of buying them. There are many options available for handling a request to make a purchase that exceeds an internal customer’s budget. One should directly refuse to place the order which is kind of least professional approach one has to take in such situation .the suitable option that can be considered is to ask internal customer not to buy the equipment but opt for leasing the same.
Q.37 What is the step by step procedure for purchasing?
The buyer should know the various steps of purchasing process even in the most planned procurement roles it is very important for the buyer to know all the steps for purchasing. The steps include: to determine a need, communicate the need, review the need, Search of potential buyers, conduct bidding or negotiation, Selection of supplier, Formalize the commitment, Follow up, close out the transaction
Q.38 Describe the key procurement metrics?
Procurement metric is a measurable value that tracks all relevant aspects of obtaining or buying goods and services. These KPIs enable the procurement department to control and optimize the quantity, quality, costs, timing and sourcing of purchasing processes. The key procurement metrics are compliance rate, number of suppliers, purchase order cycle time, supplier quality rating, availability of the supplier, defect rate of the supplier, vendor rejections rate and costs, lead time, emergency purchase ratio, cost of purchase order, procurement ROI, purchase in time and budget, procurement cost reduction and cost avoidance, spend under management.
Q.39 Explain the way you keep your records of supplies.
There are various factors that are considered before keeping the record of the supplies. The factors are like supplies cost, supplies uses (for consumption versus for use in manufacturing or billable services) the cost of keeping records versus the cost of poor supply records etc. In case of higher value and higher volume supplies which are considered to be direct costs, to track supplies a computerized inventory management system is used. This should be done for various reasons like replenishment efficiency, accuracy in accounting and more others.
Q.40 According to you what is risk management.
When we discuss about risk management it is said that it is the process for identifying, understanding and grading which includes assessing and managing of risks. It is done to better and mitigate the management of risk in procurement .to be sure of unexpected or undesirable outcomes which can be minimised along with achieving objectives of the procurement. Good procurement is the essential part of risk management.
Q.41 Discuss the building of a Sourcing Strategy
During the building of a source strategy we first have to create a Saving Strategy outline, which will list all the tasks that includes in the plan for the accomplishment of the same during a sourcing initiative. With the all the tasks we will list target commencement dates, target commencement dates, actual commencement dates, target completion dates, actual completion dates, target annual savings and actual annual savings. At the beginning of sourcing initiative, our Saving Strategy Online should only contain target dates. As progression is made through sourcing initiative we will add actual dates.
Q.42 What is the best way out to know whether the customized product you purchased from a single source, has the fair price or not?
When the standard product is bought from multiple suppliers the price comparison becomes quite easy. You have easy access to price data points for comparison. The multiple data points are not in consideration when the purchasing of a customized product is done from the single source. In this kind of scenario other techniques are being used such as “should cost model” etc.
Q.43 What will be your approach when you only have raw purchasing transaction data so that it can make some sense?
When you prepare a report on raw purchasing data it takes up lot of space which is not useful. Due to advancement in technology and modernisation it data can be transformed into useful information. It will save money as there will be no necessity to buy an expensive procurement technology suite. Many different functions are offered by Microsoft excel which are used to analyse raw purchasing transaction data .Pivot tables are used for simple sorting and subtotalling. Excel can be used for a very thorough spend analysis.
Q.44 Determine the company’s purchasing patterns?
The company’s purchasing patterns is determined on the basis on:-Conducting analysis and a spend profile. When we go through a good spend profile it gives us detailed information about the money spent on each category of goods and services which was purchased, the money spent with each supplier, changes in spend overtime and more added important information. Deep analysis of spend profile let us know the opportunities consisting implementation cost saving practices like supplier consolidation, strategic sourcing, and standardization. By using different tools and deploying the most updated software along with Pivot tables in Microsoft excel spread sheets one can conduct detailed Spend Analysis.
Q.45 What do you understand by cost savings that is appropriate for executive management?
There is a different understanding of cost savings for procurement professionals and executive management. Standard financial statements like ”scorecard” is used by executive management for the business .At times the working of financial statements like discussed above is not understood by procurement professionals. As a result they face difficulty in reporting cost savings which is considered legitimate. The “language of accounting” is the answer to the procurement professionals which is the right way of communicating with executive management because cost savings appears like this on organizations data on the organization’s official financial statements
Q.46 What influences when you have to produce cost savings in a short period of time?
The two main aspects of spend analysis that determines the category for producing cost savings in a short period of time is effort and impact. A quadrant representing the four combinations of these two factors can be created .in your spend analysis all categories of spend identified should be assigned to one of this quadrant. To produce cost savings in a short time frame the categories of spend with low effort and high impact should be considered first.
Q.47 What is the right process while conducting a sourcing initiative?
First there should be right understanding of the category which should clearly define the sourcing category or commodity. Secondly, know the supply market to develop a sourcing strategy. Thirdly by selecting a suitable sourcing process so that the selection of a suitable supplier and negotiating terms can be done. Next step will be implementing and integrating and lastly by reporting and tracking results the process is completed
Q.48 What are some important measures to be taken for a supplier’s failure to perform?
The following measures can be used to deal with the supplier failure to perform. The important aspect is to know which measure has to be taken for which situation and to contractually utilise that measure accordingly. We can take two different measures like contract termination along with cover damages. In this cover damages covers the collection from contracted supplier any premium paid to another supplier which enable ones requirement from the contracted supplier’s failure. On the other hand TERMINATION states to cancel a contract completely with the supplier. If you are on a long term contract with your important supplier in that scenario terminating the contract would not be a great option .You can opt for cover damages as it will be the right choice for the company which will recover any financial loss without cancelling the whole project while suppliers are switched.
Q.49 It is really great if better contract language is used in a good contract. How can you reduce the risk of the same?
When the contract is written or made between the parties it should be clearly written what will be the steps taken during the risk .Well written contracts clearly states the measures to be taken in the specific situation if risk occurs. In case of a well written contract with a liquidated damages clause the supplier is entitled for sufficient incentive so that he can avoid the late delivery possibility. On the other hand in the same scenario if we discuss indemnity clause which states that it provides legal protection in case of damage, injury or death occurrence where the cause is directly related to a supplier’s performance. There is another clause which is called Force Majeure clause which helps the organization to avoid the penalty in the case of failure to perform due to an “act of god” or any other factors not in control.
Q.50 Explain the techniques that can be used to accelerate progress on your projects?
When well planned projects are executed with modern day technology which provides well efficient tools to support our projects by using Microsoft tools, we still look out for more. So to accelerate our progress and enhance our expertise on procurement projects. The four techniques that we use are: increase source units, find ways to reduce the estimated duration of tasks add resources and lastly just modify working hours. By implementing the above in the project acceleration will be surely seen.
Get Govt. Certified Take Test