Also called: Materials Manager, Procurement Manager, Procurement Officer, Purchasing Director
Produced by CareerOneStop
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Purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents have two major goals: to buy goods their company can sell at a profit, and to increase their customer base by offering products that consumers want. Purchasing agents buy items that support an organization’s operation, such as chemicals or industrial equipment for a manufacturer. Buyers purchase goods for resale to consumers, such as clothing or electronics. Purchasing managers oversee the work of buyers and agents, and handle more complex tasks. The most challenging part of the job is predicting which items will be popular, and which might end up left unsold in a warehouse or hanging on a store’s markdown racks which takes a combination of good planning, decisiveness, and the confidence to trust their intuition. Buyers and purchasers research industry trends, study past sales, and listen to customer feedback to identify buying patterns. They carefully select product suppliers that will meet the quality, cost, and delivery date promised. Most buyers, purchasing agents, and managers work in offices full time, with some travel to see suppliers. Overtime is common. The largest employers of these positions are in the manufacturing industry, wholesale and retail trade, and the federal government. Buyers and purchasing agents often need a bachelor’s degree and related experience, though a high school diploma suffices for some positions. Purchasing managers usually have at least a bachelor’s degree, and several years’ work experience as a buyer or purchasing agent.
What they do:Plan, direct, or coordinate the activities of buyers, purchasing officers, and related workers involved in purchasing materials, products, and services. Includes wholesale or retail trade merchandising managers and procurement managers.
On the job, you would:
- Represent companies in negotiating contracts and formulating policies with suppliers.
- Develop cost reduction strategies and savings plans.
- Develop and implement purchasing and contract management instructions, policies, and procedures.
- accounting and economics
Arts and Humanities
- English language
Math and Science
- arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Engineering and Technology
- computers and electronics
- listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
- talking to others
- understanding people's reactions
- bringing people together to solve differences
- managing your time and the time of other people
- selecting and managing the best workers for a job
- listen and understand what people say
- communicate by speaking
Ideas and Logic
- come up with lots of ideas
- create new and original ideas
- choose the right type of math to solve a problem
- add, subtract, multiply, or divide
People interested in this work like activities that include leading, making decisions, and business.
They do well at jobs that need:
- Attention to Detail
- Analytical Thinking
You might use software like this on the job:
- Ariba Spend Management Suite
- Automated purchase order software
Data base user interface and query software