A Day in the Life of Purchasing and Procurement
“People think that purchasing is like shopping. It’s not,” says Richard Reeves, Director of Purchasing for CoolSys. While purchasing, by definition, is simply buying services or goods, procurement is a broader concept that generally includes everything from selecting suppliers and vendors to the negotiation of those contracts. For Richard, who handles CoolSys’ procurement on a corporate level, it’s one of the most important parts of his job.
“Making sure suppliers are aligned with our vision is vital to our supply chain as we grow. It isn’t just the act of buying. And we aren’t just looking for the lowest cost, we are looking at total value. We are searching for the right partner and we need to make sure that our internal customers also get the support they need from our suppliers,” he explains. Purchasing takes a great effort in convincing suppliers to support CoolSys’ requirements, and sometimes that requires a lot of selling.
Being a national organization and the largest HVAC-R company in the world gives CoolSys considerable buying power. “Everyone wants to sell to us,” says Mark Coronado, Purchasing Manager for CoolSys. “I weed them out and investigate what they offer and how it fits. I primarily work with our vendors. I’m a liaison between the service tech and construction and the vendor or manufacturer. And, I set up rebate structures to make our business more profitable.”
For those who handle purchasing and procurement for our operating companies around the country, their roles come with their own unique challenges. When Corey Hoke, Facilities Manager for ABC, first started with the company, he recognized the need to move to a better system. “As a small mom-and-pop company, I needed to trend them towards streamlined purchasing and inventory,” says Corey. “They grew at such a fast pace and hadn’t understood how to standardize what goes in vans and what tools go into different job roles,” he adds. “Now that we have, it makes our employees much happier.”
When you work in purchasing and procurement, you are used to having a lot of responsibility. “I oversee eight parts specialists and they do most of the day-to-day purchasing and maintain inventories within the warehouses. I set min/max. I do equipment purchasing, like HVAC and refrigeration units, vehicles and make sure we get things where they need to be,” says Mike McCuin, Parts Manager, Legacy Air. “We play an important role in serving the customer and making sure the customer experience is great. At Legacy, our biggest customer is Starbucks, but it’s the service team that is our internal customer. Finding the parts they need as quickly and inexpensively as possible is what we do,” he adds. As a purchasing and procurement professional, you’re in demand and have opportunities to work with many different departments and people within the organization. “The best thing about my job is that I get to know all my coworkers. It’s one of the few positions that works with everyone,” comments Corey.