Vanderbilt University Purchasing Agent in Nashville, Tennessee

Purchasing Agent (Job Number: 1800715)


Position Summary:

The Purchasing Agent is responsible for processing and dispatching purchase orders for professional and general services in accordance with the terms and conditions of the governing contract and all applicable Purchasing and university policies. The Purchasing Agent is the primary interface between university customers and suppliers for procurement transaction support. The Purchasing Agent is responsible for drafting and negotiating contracts for professional services (see listing below). The Purchasing Agent supports the Sourcing Officer in supplier negotiations, supplier performance and contract deployment.

As a member of the Purchasing and Payment Services Team, the Purchasing Agent assists in establishing and maintaining strong, collaborative relationships with Vanderbilt’s faculty, staff and students and identifies additional ways to be of service and ensure customer satisfaction. This position supports the success of a high-performing organization by helping to champion and drive the full procure to pay process.

About the Work Unit:

The Purchasing and Payment Services Team (P&PS) is the single point of contact for all centralized procurement and payment activities, setting the overall strategy for Vanderbilt University’s purchases and payments. As part of the Finance organization, Purchasing and Payment Services provides an integrated approach to purchasing goods and services by connecting the procurement function to the entire supply chain processes within Vanderbilt to the final goods and services receipt process, and finally to payment issued to suppliers.

About Vanderbilt:

Vanderbilt is a renowned private institution founded in 1873 located a little more than a mile from downtown Nashville, TN. The university’s students, faculty, staff and visitors frequently cite Nashville as one of the perks of Vanderbilt. VU is a place where your expertise will be valued, your knowledge expanded and your abilities challenged. It is a place where your diversity is sought and celebrated. It is a place where employees know they are part of something that is bigger than themselves, take exceptional pride in their work and never settle for what was good enough yesterday

Key Functions and ExpectedPerformance:

  • Coordinatesand collaborates with suppliers to request price quotes and proposals forprofessional and general services contracts.

  • Usesprofessional judgement to draft and negotiate purchasing terms andconditions taking into account Vanderbilt policies and customerrequirements.

  • Reviewspurchase requisitions and issues purchase orders in accordance withdepartmental needs and university policy.

  • Managesday-to-day processes for resolving invoice, receiving and warrantydisputes with suppliers.

  • Collaborateswith Sourcing Officers in the development and execution of commoditystrategies and supplier contracts.

  • Coordinateswith university customers to define and communicate specifications andsourcing options.

  • Seeksopportunities for continuing process improvement in terms of processes andcapabilities within this role and of the Finance group overall.

  • Assists inspecial projects and additional duties as assigned.

Supervisory Relationships:

This position does not have regular supervisory responsibility. This position reports administratively and functionally to a Sourcing Officer, and indirectly to the Director of Purchasing Services.

Education and Certifications:

  • Two or moreyears of experience in purchasing is necessary.

  • Bachelor’sdegree required, with emphasis in Business Administration ispreferred.

  • CertifiedPurchasing Manager (CPM) or other purchasing professionalcertification is preferred.

Experience and Skills:

  • Experience inpurchasing complex professional services including consulting, recruiting,financial, business administration, marketing, graphic design, video& photo production, and engineering is preferred.

  • Ability draftand negotiate complex contract with solid working knowledge ofprocurement contract law is preferred.

  • Experience insupporting or leading Request for Proposal (RFP) projects and conductingcompetitive bidding is preferred.

  • Experienceworking with electronic purchasing systems and eProcurementplatforms is preferred.

  • AnalyticalThinking – able to simplify complex problems, processes or projects intocomponent parts and then explore and evaluate them systematically. Is ableto understand commercial imperatives and trading relationships ispreferred.

  • Managingrelationships - able to build and maintain effective working relationshipswith a range of people understanding their needs and goals. Showssensitivity and tact. Works co-operatively with others as part of a team,as opposed to working separately or competitively is preferred.

  • Flexibility -open to change, adapts, and works effectively with a variety ofsituations, individuals or groups. Able to understand and appreciatedifferent and opposing perspectives on an issue is preferred.

  • Collaboratingacross boundaries - challenges systems, processes and people that blockcollaboration; connects people, ideas, processes and issues, sets anexample by sharing resources; knowledge, ideas and skills across theorganization, builds helpful, productive relationships across theorganization is preferred.

  • Leadingcreativity - fosters imagination, creativity and experimentation, takesand promotes considered risks, celebrates creative successes and learnsfrom failure, shows openness to alternative ways of doing things ispreferred.

  • Substantialrelevant experience in a complex organization, with a strong purchasingand payables background is preferred.

  • Stronginterpersonal skills and the ability to develop and maintain relationshipswith key stakeholders is preferred.

  • Proven skillin attention to detail and a highly organized work style in collaborationwith effective written and verbal communication skills is preferred.

Key Characteristics of a SuccessfulTeam Member in this Work Unit:

  • Analytical & Detail-Oriented – Accurately assessesinformation and applies applicable law, policy and procedure. Considersthe long term implications of actions today and advises employeesappropriately. Even small mistakes can create big issues; attention todetail work indicates care about the outcomes.

  • Integrity – Holds oneself accountable; takes responsibilityfor failures as well as successes, recognizes that trust is required tohold a team together.

  • Raises the Bar – Expects and delivers excellence. Is a creativeproblem solver. Is proactive. Welcomes input on making thingsbetter. Places a high value on learning and getting better

  • Hard-Working – Is industrious as well as efficient (busy isn’tthe same as productive). Can juggle multiple competing prioritiessimultaneously without becoming overwhelmed.

  • Teamwork – Genuinely values teamwork and co-workers; makethem feel valuable and important by acknowledging what they do well.Doesn’t expect from others effort that one is unwilling to dothemselves. Finds ways to acknowledge other’s strong suits.


In addition to offering a lively community that encourages learning and celebrates diversity, VU offers a competitive, flexible benefits package including health, dental, vision, life, accidental death & dismemberment, disability insurance, paid time off, and a 403(b) retirement plan with employer match. Vanderbilt offers tuition assistance to employees, spouses and dependent children. Also, after five years of service, Vanderbilt will pay up to 55% of the tuition for up to three dependent children to earn a bachelor's degree. Learn more about Vanderbilt's benefits at VU Benefits Overview at

Job requires Bachelors and 3 Years of experience or the equivalent.

Primary Location: United States-Tennessee-Nashville

Organization: 44420 - Procurement and Payment Services

Job: Fiscal Affairs Professionals

Vanderbilt University is committed to principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action