Purchasing and supply is essential part of the effective functioning of the organization. Many businessmen consider an established procurement process, which is carried out by high-profile people, to be the key to the entire business (Seven key objectives for procurement success, 2016). This paper aims to describe the main aspects of purchasing and supply processes through an interview with a Fremont Middle School business manager.
Mission and Goals of the Organization
I prepared several questions for Laura Ashley, a business manager at Fremont Middle School, a public organization, about the school’s business line, mission, and goals.
- Laura, can you describe the mission of your organization?
- Our primary mission and business line focus on promoting a safe and positive school environment that enhances learning and citizenship through recognizing and teaching positive behavior (Welcome to Fremont, n.d.). Therefore, as a business manager in a K-12 school system, I am responsible for realizing this goal by creating a comfortable and motivating environment. Everything that happens within the school walls, how children feel, behave, and their academic success, depends on what space they are in, what objects surround them. You can’t even imagine how much time it takes, how many essentials each child should have.
Educational Background, Professional Experiences, and Personal Challenges
- I will surely think about it. But you probably have to work hard to achieve these goals. Tell our audience about your job description, educational background, professional experiences, personal challenges, job achievements, and fulfillment.
- I have come a long way before getting this position. I have always dreamed of working at school, making children’s lives more bearable (laughs). As for my education, I have got a Master’s Degree in Business from a respectable university. Besides, I worked as a purchasing and supply associate at FedEx for several years. When I came across a vacancy from Fremont Middle School, I realized – this is my chance! I was so happy and so worried before the interview. But everything went well, and now I’m delighted with my job.
My primary responsibilities are to draw up purchasing plans, keep records, create invoices, work with delivering services, and control foods’ quality for school meals. As a rule, we draw up a quarterly procurement plan for the year in the summer. It includes textbooks, stationery for children, school uniforms, uniforms for sports, new furniture. Besides, every year we make repairs at the school, this usually happens in the summer season, when children are on vacation.
- What duties are most pleasant for you to perform?
- Every month we replenish our library with modern literature; a recreation area next to the library is my special pride. I also like to buy sports equipment for outdoor sports grounds – horizontal bars, mechanical trainers. Although the school’s main task is to educate children, it is impossible without all these items, which also support teachers in their work. Usually, I consult with teachers, and they share their ideas and opinions since they spend more time with children and better understand their daily needs. We often go out for excursions, organize summer hikes, deliver food for children during the holidays. All this stuff means – lists, waybills, acts of acceptance of goods; everything should be recorded.
- Were there any difficulties that you had to face?
- We have several trusted suppliers with whom we cooperate; therefore, all processes are well established. At first, I had to carry out some reforms finding new suppliers, whose products are optimal in terms of value for money. Suppliers can raise prices, and then I need to find out the reasons for such changes, and if they are not justified, and people do not make concessions, I usually change the supplier. We work with large chains and private entrepreneurs (Supply chain: easy ways to improve purchasing, n.d.). I am not trying to make my life easier by standardizing my work according to only one criterion. When I work with someone, I conduct a comprehensive assessment of the effectiveness of our interaction.
- What about the disliked part of the duties?
- The hardest thing for me is working with meals for school lunches. I am responsible for the children’s health, so every day, I check the dates to ensure that the food is fresh and well packaged, and I look into the kitchen to make sure that the storage standards are followed.
Operational and Strategic Objectives of the Supply and Purchasing Department
- Laura, tell us about the operational and strategic objectives of the supply and purchasing department.
- The supply and purchasing department, in my person, not only deals with purchases but also interacts with management in developing the organization’s strategy. Since the students’ self-confidence, academic excellence, health, and safety are our priorities, a comfortable environment is only a means to achieving these goals. Therefore, when management proposes, for example, to reduce the cost of buying new furniture, and in return, organize summer vacations or food deliveries for the children on holiday, I take it with understanding (Lunchbox express, n.d.). For such situations, there is a categorization system in the supply and purchasing department. Things critically related to students’ safety and health have the highest priority (UN, n.d.). There is also a purely academic part of the work, such as working with institutions that provide grants for further education (Student investment account, n.d.). The management cooperates with recreation centers, museums, and other institutions to implement extra-class projects.
Academic achievement is the immediate goal of our students to stay in school and the mirror that reflects our success. Therefore, the supply and purchasing department’s strategic task is the creation of physical space where the most important thing – the educational process – takes place. Because sooner or later, children will leave school and, first of all, they will need to have the qualities of character and knowledge necessary for survival and active participation in society’s life.
How Supply Objectives Align with Organizational Mission
- Laura, it seems to me that you understand the importance of your actions in the context of the organization’s mission and goals. What are your most important steps related to it?
- As I already mentioned, it is imperative to provide children with a comfortable and developing environment. Besides, this environment must be safe; otherwise, tension will inevitably appear in students, which will result in conflicts, trauma, and illnesses. Children are very sensitive to the cleanliness, light, color, texture of things. I am also a rather sensitive person by nature, and therefore I like comfortable and aesthetic spaces. If something breaks or something is lacking, children always react, even unconsciously. Consequently, I always follow this personally, and every week I walk around to speak with teachers and see the classes. I also do my best to allocate the budget properly, and the management helps me much by setting clear boundaries and warning me of possible funding cuts.
Thus, the main aspects of purchasing and supply processes were described in the interview with a business manager at Fremont Middle School. When managing these processes, a business manager must pay attention to the quality of goods, monitor the market for lucrative offers, and interact with team members. Besides, despite the importance of supplies for the organization’s effective operation, the priority is the strategic organizational goals and objectives.
Lunchbox express. (n.d.). Web.
Seven key objectives for procurement success. (2016). Procurious. Web.
Student investment account (SSA). (n.d.). Web.
Supply chain: easy ways to improve purchasing. (n.d.). BDS. Web.
UN. (n.d.). UN procurement practitioner’s handbook. Web.
Welcome to Fremont. (n.d.). Web.