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:
Purchase machinery, equipment, tools, parts, supplies, or services necessary for the operation of an establishment. Purchase raw or semi-finished materials for manufacturing.
On the job, you would:
Monitor and follow applicable laws and regulations.
Prepare purchase orders, solicit bid proposals, and review requisitions for goods and services.
Negotiate, renegotiate, and administer contracts with suppliers, vendors, and other representatives.
Arts and Humanities
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Safety and Government
law and government
reading work related information
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
bringing people together to solve differences
talking people into changing their minds or their behavior
read and understand what is written
listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
notice when problems happen
add, subtract, multiply, or divide
choose the right type of math to solve a problem
People interested in this work like activities that include data, detail, and regular routines.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Enterprise resource planning ERP software
Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne
Data base user interface and query software
Data entry software
Financial analysis software
Softstar Costar COCOMO II
bachelor's degree usually needed
Get started on your career:
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