Purchasing managers oversee the work of buyers and purchasing agents. They plan, direct, and coordinate the buying obtainment of products, services, and materials for retailer organizations and wholesalers. They also handle complicated purchases and negotiations. They are also responsible for the supervision of purchasing and buyer agents as well to ensure the best procurements, products, and services are provided. This includes setting processes in on how often their department will get price quotes for items, how many bids to accept, and which vendors to consider.
Watch a video to learn what a purchasing manager does.
How to Become a Purchasing Manager
Purchasing managers typically require a bachelor’s degree in business science, logistics, electrical or mechanical engineering, or business. Some employers desire candidates seeking advancement to top-level purchasing manager jobs to hold a master’s degree. Work experience of at least 5 years is usually expected as a purchasing agent or buyer before one can advance to the purchasing manager.
In addition, some employers require certification, while others do not. The certification involves written or oral exams and have requirements for education and work experience. Certification varies and can be obtained through a variety of organizations. Some examples include the Institute for Supply Management, American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS), American Purchasing Society, or the Institute for Public procurement just to mention a few. All of the organizations have different requirements therefore we encourage you to research which one may be most beneficial for you.
Job Description of a Purchasing Manager
Purchasing managers coordinate the activities of buyers and purchasing agents in buying equipment, supplies, or materials for the organization they work for. They evaluate potential suppliers on the basis of quality, price, and speed of delivery. He or she has the job of interviewing vendors and visiting supplier’s plants and distribution centers to see what services, products, and prices they offer. In doing so they determine the best avenue and products for the organization or business they are representing.
Purchasing managers attend meetings, conferences, and trade shows to remain current with industry trends and make contacts with suppliers. They analyze financial reports, price proposals, and other information in order to make the best price decisions. He or she may also negotiate contracts, delivery of products, and ensure suppliers and vendors are in compliance with the terms and conditions of the contract.
Purchasing Managers work full time and primarily in offices. On occasion travel and overtime is required especially for those working for global and national markets. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the majority of purchasing managers work for manufacturing companies followed by enterprises and wholesales organizations.
Purchasing Manager Career Video Transcript
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.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Purchasing Managers, Buyers, and Purchasing Agents.
National Center for O*NET Development. 11-3061.00. O*NET OnLine.
The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.