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OSP Occupational Profile

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NOC Code: NOC Code: 1474 Occupation: Purchasing and Inventory Clerks
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Purchasing and inventory clerks process purchasing transactions and maintain inventories of materials, equipment and stock. They are employed by retail and wholesale establishments, manufacturing companies, government agencies and other establishments. Purchasing and inventory clerks process purchasing transactions and maintain inventories of materials, equipment and stock. They are employed by retail and wholesale establishments, manufacturing companies, government agencies and other establishments.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3
Writing Writing 1 2 3
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2 3
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3
Money Math Money Math 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2 3
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading Text
  • Read purchase orders to see specifications for materials ordered. (1)
  • Read memos and letters on policy changes, administrative details, and production concerns. (2)
  • Read computer manuals to learn about new applications. (3)
  • Read material safety data sheets (MSDS) to learn about the storage of hazardous materials. (3)
  • Read technical manuals when new equipment has been purchased to understand its operation and capabilities. (3)
  • Read trade magazines and manuals to keep up-to-date with changes in materials and purchasing processes. (3)
  • Read product brochures and material test reports from suppliers to learn about new products and make purchasing decisions. (3)
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Writing
  • Write brief entries on requisition and purchase orders. (1)
  • Write memos or email messages to inform co-workers of decisions, merchandise processed, problems encountered or changes made to purchasing requirements. (1)
  • Write letters to suppliers to find out which products they have in stock, to obtain information on products and to purchase supplies. (2)
  • Write letters to customers clarifying how products will be built and to request approval of the plans. The letters include price quotes and justifications for using particular materials. (3)
  • Write submissions to managers outlining the characteristics of certain products and presenting purchasing options. (3)
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Document Use
  • Consult the Yellow Pages and other listings of manufacturers and suppliers. (1)
  • Record write-offs and mark-downs of damaged or returned merchandise. (1)
  • Read merchandise sale signs and safety signs in the warehouse. (1)
  • Read production and delivery schedules. (2)
  • Verify requisition forms when new pieces of equipment or material are needed. (2)
  • Read stock lists and tables to determine the status of stock. (2)
  • Consult price tables for the cost of materials. (2)
  • Interpret customer sketches and scale drawings of items to be built. These drawings give details of parts and materials and fabrication specifications. (3)
  • Read assembly drawings to learn how equipment fits together. (3)
  • Fill out estimates for contracts. (3)
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Computer Use
  • Use word processing. For example, type letters, create schedules and input work orders on a computer. (2)
  • Use bookkeeping, billing and accounting software. For example, track expenditures with an accounting program. (2)
  • Use communications software. For example, send email messages to co-workers and supervisors. (2)
  • Use a database. For example, refer to and update databases of stock items when completing inventory. (2)
  • Use a spreadsheet. For example, create spreadsheets of stock quantities. (3)
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Oral Communication
  • Brief employees on the next shift on what work has been completed and what still needs to be done. (1)
  • Inform staff about items ordered and when they will arrive. (1)
  • Interact with supervisors to confirm information on purchase orders, discuss reports, ask questions and request clarification on policy issues. (2)
  • Discuss tasks with co-workers and exchange information and opinions about prices, purchases, estimates, improvements to be made to work processes and the quality of products and equipment. (2)
  • Instruct other employees to complete inventory tasks. (2)
  • Speak with clients and suppliers to clarify specifications for orders, enquire about product availability and negotiate prices for raw materials. (3)
  • Present information to staff, such as the results of research completed on a new machine to be purchased for the plant. (3)
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Money Math
  • Receive payments from suppliers. (1)
  • Reduce prices of items by specified percentages when marking down damaged or returned goods. (2)
  • Calculate customer bills including taxes, delivery costs, product weights and discounts for volume purchases. (3)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Monitor inventory by ensuring that sufficient quantities of various items are available, based on average quantities required and the projected demand. (1)
  • Monitor the budget to ensure money is available to cover payments to suppliers, taking into account the amount of credit available to the company. (1)
  • Schedule when and how much raw material and supplies should be on hand, based on past amounts used, and information on upcoming requirements. (2)
  • Adjust established budgets and schedules to incorporate new information, such as delays caused by shortages in suppliers' stocks. (3)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Measure parts when they arrive to ensure they conform to desired specifications. (1)
  • Calculate the area of various sections of the plant or office to know if machines will fit the available space. (2)
  • Measure the dimensions and calculate the volume of objects to be stored and the weight of items to be shipped. (2)
  • Calculate the amount of material needed to produce custom orders. (2)
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Data Analysis
  • Compare the prices of products and sales volumes over a period of time. (1)
  • Analyze data on the amount of scrap produced in the plant over a year in relation to the amount of money which was received upon sale of the scrap. (1)
  • Calculate the average amount of finished products produced per week, month or year. (2)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate by sight whether there are enough materials to continue the production of a particular order. (1)
  • Estimate how much material to order based on the number of products likely to be ordered, taking into account information about suppliers, prospective customers, prices, lead time to produce and volume discounts. (2)
  • Estimate the price of products based on the materials and labour involved. These estimates are made when giving quotes to customers. Some information may be unavailable, especially if products are new or contain new materials. (3)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Purchasing and inventory clerks follow similar schedules every day. They fill out purchase orders, complete paperwork and check inventory. In conjunction with their supervisors, they set the order and priority of job tasks according to deadlines. Their job tasks are co-ordinated with the tasks of co-workers. Interruptions, such as telephone calls and urgent customer requests, are frequent, causing schedules to be readjusted. (2)
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Decision Making
  • Decide whether to place an item on back order. (1)
  • Decide whether to place an order by telephone or in written form. (1)
  • Decide when to have inventory shipped in, based on the cost, space and future demand for the product. (2)
  • Decide which orders should go into production, based on whether required ingredients or components are in stock. (2)
  • Decide whether to give discounts to customers and whether to provide more expensive items in place of cheaper unavailable products. (2)
  • Decide which suppliers to use, taking into account product quality, quantity, cost, delivery time, availability, and the importance of maintaining good relationships with present suppliers. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • A product has been received but the product was not ordered. Contact the supplier to explain the problem and ask for a credit note. (1)
  • The invoices processed do not match inventory sent out. Search recent invoices for errors. (2)
  • The arrival of ordered products will be delayed. Make alternative shipping arrangements so that the product will arrive on time. (2)
  • Deliveries have not arrived on time. Reprioritize the processes and schedules and attempt to find replacement items. (2)
  • An urgent request for a large purchase has been received at a time when supervisors are absent and unable to give their approval. Carefully judge the importance of the request and determine whether to go ahead with the order or place it on hold. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Search computer databases to find quantities in stock, parts numbers, pigment numbers, and specifications for a product. (1)
  • Refer to lists to find out what items are available, on sale, discontinued, and temporarily unavailable. (1)
  • Find information about suppliers in catalogues, supplier indexes and phone books. (2)
  • Obtain information about products by speaking with co-workers, making phone calls and reading brochures and trade publications. (2)
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