Purchasing buyer job description

Written by sam amico
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Purchasing buyer job description
Purchasing buyers keep track of inventory. (business agent image by Dmitri MIkitenko from Fotolia.com)

A purchasing buyer is someone who handles the acquisitions for a company. Purchasing buyers work in warehouses and manage inventory and a budget, while shopping for deals on products and services related to their industry. They must have a thorough knowledge of the type of items their company needs to succeed, and work tirelessly to find the best deals when making acquisitions.

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Basics

Purchasing buyers work in a wide array of fields, including the trucking, farming, food and retail industries. They spend much of their time negotiating prices with merchandisers and service providers, trying to find a bargain for their company. Oftentimes, they make recommendations on purchases to upper management or come up with ideas to keep the company from overspending.

Skills

A purchasing buyer should possess strong verbal communication skills, as she deals with everyone from salesmen to company management on a daily basis. She also needs written communication skills to make notes on invoices and respond to work-related e-mail in a professional manner. She should be organised, analytical and motivated and have at least a basic understanding of math. On top of those things, purchasing buyers should be sharp negotiators.

Background

There are no set requirements to become a purchasing buyer. Most companies prefer candidates with a four-year college degree, with an emphasis on courses in business, administration, engineering, economics, warehousing and communications. Some members of purchasing departments receive a certification, which varies by state and industry. Other buyers spend time working in other departments within their company, such as sales or marketing, before making the transition to purchasing.

Prospects

Jobs for purchasing buyers were expected to undergo little or no change from 2008 to 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That is about as fast as average for all occupations. More than 527,000 employees worked in purchasing departments in May 2008, the BLS reported. “Persons who have a bachelor's degree in engineering, business, economics or one of the applied sciences should have the best chance of obtaining a buyer position,” according to the BLS.

Earnings

Purchasing buyers earned anywhere from £22,100 to more than £42,250 a year in February 2010, according to PayScale.com. Much of those figures were based on the purchasing buyer’s experience, as well as the industry in which he worked. Meanwhile, the BLS reported that purchasing buyers earned a median salary between £31,661 and £32,285 in May 2008.

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