Career Development

What Does a Purchaser Do?

Find out what a purchaser does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a purchaser.

Purchasers are responsible for sourcing and purchasing the raw materials, components, and finished goods that go into producing a product. They may work with suppliers to negotiate prices and terms of sale, review quality standards, and monitor production schedules to ensure that everything is delivered on time.

Purchasing agents often specialize in a particular industry or type of good. For example, they might focus on buying supplies for manufacturing companies or food products for grocery stores. This allows them to develop deep knowledge about the types of products they’re working with as well as the best ways to buy them at the lowest cost.

Purchaser Job Duties

Purchasers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Negotiating prices and terms with suppliers or contractors on behalf of the organization
  • Ensuring that all legal requirements are met, including permits and licenses
  • Managing and overseeing the project from start to finish, including hiring contractors and subcontractors as needed
  • Maintaining inventory levels by ordering materials as needed from suppliers
  • Communicating with vendors about any changes to orders or deadlines
  • Reviewing estimates from suppliers to ensure that costs are reasonable and within budget limitations
  • Reviewing bids from potential suppliers or contractors and selecting the most appropriate one based on price, quality of service, and other factors
  • Reviewing contracts with suppliers or contractors to ensure they are legally binding and fair to all parties
  • Negotiating contracts with suppliers or contractors to finalize all details, such as payment terms, warranties, and obligations of each party

Purchaser Salary & Outlook

Purchasers are typically paid a salary, and their compensation can vary depending on their level of experience, the size of the company they work for, and the type of property they are purchasing.

  • Median Annual Salary: $52,500 ($25.24/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of purchasers is expected to decline over the next decade.

Employment growth will be limited by automation, which allows companies to process more orders with fewer workers. In addition, some large retailers have already begun to outsource some of their purchasing functions to suppliers in an effort to reduce costs.

Purchaser Job Requirements

In order to become a purchaser, you may need to have the following:

Education: Most employers require purchasers to have a bachelor’s degree in a field such as business, finance or accounting. Some employers may accept a degree in a related field, such as a bachelor’s degree in marketing or international business.

Training & Experience: Purchasers typically receive on-the-job training to learn the specific processes and procedures of their company. They may also receive training in purchasing software and other technology they use in their daily work.

Certifications & Licenses: Some employers may require employees to pass an industry-specific certification to show their general understanding of the field.

Purchaser Skills

Purchasers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Negotiation: Negotiation is the ability to communicate effectively with a seller to get the best price for a product. This skill is important for purchasers because it can help them save money and get the products they need. When negotiating, it’s important to be respectful and friendly. This can help you build a good relationship with the seller and increase your chances of getting a good deal.

Communication: Communication is the ability to convey information to others in a clear and understandable way. Purchasers use communication skills to interact with suppliers, customers and other stakeholders in the supply chain. They also use communication skills to convey information about their products to customers.

Critical thinking: Critical thinking is the ability to analyze a situation and make a decision based on the information you have. Purchasing a home is a big decision, so it’s important to consider all of your options before making a commitment. You can use critical thinking skills to research the market, analyze your financial situation and consider the pros and cons of each home you visit.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills allow you to identify and resolve issues that may arise during the purchasing process. For example, if you find a product that you like but it’s not in your budget, you can use problem-solving skills to find a way to make the purchase. You may be able to negotiate with the seller or find a similar product that is less expensive.

Organization: Purchasing a home is a large financial commitment, so it’s important to stay organized throughout the process. Having good organizational skills can help you stay on track with your budget and make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. You can also use your organizational skills to keep track of your home’s maintenance and repair records.

Purchaser Work Environment

Purchasers work in a variety of settings, including manufacturing and service industries, wholesale and retail trade establishments, and government agencies. They typically work regular hours, although they may occasionally work overtime to meet deadlines. Purchasers who work in manufacturing industries may be exposed to noise and fumes from the production process. In addition, because they often work with computers, they may be susceptible to eye strain, back problems, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Purchaser Trends

Here are three trends influencing how purchasers work. Purchasers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of Digital Purchases

The growth of digital purchases is a trend that is quickly changing the way businesses buy products and services. This trend is causing a shift towards online purchasing, which allows customers to shop from anywhere and at any time.

As more and more businesses move towards online purchasing, purchasers will need to be familiar with digital channels and how to use them effectively. This includes understanding how to use e-commerce platforms, as well as marketing tools like social media and search engine optimization.

More Focus on Sustainability

The focus on sustainability is a trend that is seeing increasing popularity in the business world. As consumers become more aware of the environmental impact of their purchases, they are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

Purchasers can capitalize on this trend by sourcing products that are environmentally friendly. This can include items such as recycled paper or renewable energy sources. In addition, purchasers can look for suppliers who have implemented sustainable practices, such as fair trade or organic farming.

Greater Use of Technology

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the purchasing process. Purchasers are using technology to research products, compare prices, and make purchases.

In order to stay competitive, businesses need to utilize technology to its fullest potential. This means developing an online presence and providing customer service through social media channels. It also means making sure that your company is equipped to handle transactions through electronic means.

How to Become a Purchaser

Purchasing careers can be rewarding in many ways. You’ll have the opportunity to work with a variety of people and businesses, learn about new products and services, and help companies grow their business.

You’ll also need to be able to think strategically and make sound decisions. This means having strong communication skills, being able to manage your time effectively, and being able to problem-solve when issues arise.

Advancement Prospects

Purchasers and buying agents usually start as trainees or assistant buyers. With experience, they advance to buyer, purchasing manager, and finally, director of purchasing. Some large companies have several levels of purchasing managers.

Purchasing managers often are promoted from among the ranks of senior buyers and assistant purchasing managers. They also may have had experience in other aspects of business, such as marketing, finance, or management. Many purchasing managers have a bachelor’s degree in business administration, economics, or a related field. Some have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) with a concentration in marketing or management.

Purchaser Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we’re always on the lookout for talented individuals to join our team and help us grow. We’re currently seeking an experienced purchaser to help us procure the materials and supplies we need to keep our business running smoothly. The ideal candidate will have a strong background in supply chain management, as well as excellent negotiation and communication skills. They will be responsible for researching and selecting vendors, negotiating contracts, and ensuring that all orders are fulfilled on time and within budget. If you have a passion for procurement and are looking for an opportunity to make a real impact, we want to hear from you.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge of market conditions, product availability, and pricing
  • Research and evaluate suppliers based on price, quality, selection, service, support, availability, reliability, production, and distribution capabilities
  • Negotiate prices and terms with suppliers, and review contracts to ensure they are beneficial to the company
  • Monitor supplier performance to ensure that they meet required standards and deliver goods and services in a timely manner
  • Resolve problems with suppliers in a professional and efficient manner
  • Work with internal departments to determine purchasing needs and specifications
  • Prepare and process requisitions and purchase orders for supplies and equipment
  • Track incoming shipments and confirm receipt of goods and services
  • Maintain accurate records of purchased products, pricing, and delivery information
  • Review invoices for accuracy and resolve any discrepancies
  • Analyze trends to identify opportunities for cost savings
  • Prepare reports on purchases, including cost analysis, as needed

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, accounting, or related field
  • 5+ years proven experience in purchasing or similar role
  • Excellent negotiation skills
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Attention to detail and accuracy
  • Ability to work independently and with a team

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in business, accounting, or related field
  • 7+ years proven experience in purchasing or similar role
  • Experience working in a manufacturing or production environment
  • Working knowledge of MRP or ERP systems
  • CPSM or CPM certification

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