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Become A Commodity Specialist

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Working As A Commodity Specialist

  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $64,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Commodity Specialist Do

Buyers and purchasing agents buy products and services for organizations to use or resell. They evaluate suppliers, negotiate contracts, and review the quality of products.

Duties

Buyers and purchasing agents typically do the following:

  • Evaluate suppliers on the basis of the price, quality, and speed of delivery of their products and services
  • Interview vendors and visit suppliers’ plants and distribution centers to examine and learn about products, services, and prices
  • Attend meetings, trade shows, and conferences to learn about new industry trends and make contacts with suppliers
  • Analyze price proposals, financial reports, and other information to determine reasonable prices
  • Negotiate contracts on behalf of their organization
  • Work out agreements with suppliers, such as when products will be delivered
  • Meet with staff and vendors to discuss defective or unacceptable goods or services and determine corrective action
  • Evaluate and monitor contracts to be sure that vendors and supplies comply with the terms and conditions of the contract and to determine the need for changes
  • Maintain and review records of items bought, costs, deliveries, product performance, and inventories

Buyers and purchasing agents buy farm products, durable and nondurable goods, and services for organizations and institutions. They try to get the best deal for their organization: the highest quality goods and services at the lowest cost. They do this by studying sales records and inventory levels of current stock, identifying foreign and domestic suppliers, and keeping up to date with changes affecting both the supply of, and demand for, products and materials.

Purchasing agents and buyers consider price, quality, availability, reliability, and technical support when choosing suppliers and merchandise. To be effective, purchasing agents and buyers must have a working technical knowledge of the goods or services they are purchasing.

Evaluating suppliers is one of the most critical functions of a buyer or purchasing agent. Many organizations run on a lean manufacturing schedule and use just-in-time inventories, so any delays in the supply chain can shut down production and cause the organization to lose customers.

Buyers and purchasing agents use many resources to find out all they can about potential suppliers. They attend meetings, trade shows, and conferences to learn about new industry trends and make contacts with suppliers.

They often interview prospective suppliers and visit their plants and distribution centers to assess their capabilities. For example, they may discuss the design of products with design engineers, quality concerns with production supervisors, or shipping issues with managers in the receiving department.

Buyers and purchasing agents must make certain that the supplier can deliver the desired goods or services on time, in the correct quantities, and without sacrificing quality. Once they have gathered information on suppliers, they sign contracts with suppliers who meet the organization’s needs and they place orders.

Buyers who purchase items to resell to customers may determine which products their organization will sell. They need to be able to predict what will appeal to their customers. If they are wrong, they could jeopardize the profits and reputation of their organization.

Buyers who work for large organizations often specialize in purchasing one or two categories of products or services. Buyers who work for smaller businesses or government agencies may be responsible for making a greater variety of purchases.

Wholesale and retail buyers purchase goods for resale to consumers. Examples of these goods are clothing and electronics. Purchasing specialists who buy finished goods for resale are commonly known as buyers or merchandise managers.

Purchasing agents and buyers of farm products buy agricultural products for further processing or resale. Examples of these products are grain, cotton, and tobacco.

Purchasing agents, except wholesale, retail, and farm products buy items for the operation of an organization. Examples of these items are chemicals and industrial equipment needed for a manufacturing establishment, and office supplies.

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How To Become A Commodity Specialist

Although a high school diploma may be sufficient for some positions, many employers require buyers and purchasing agents to have a bachelor’s degree. Most entry-level positions require some form of on-the-job training.

Education

Educational requirements usually vary with the size of the organization. Although a high school diploma may be enough at some organizations, many businesses require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree. For many positions, a degree in business, finance, or supply management is sufficient.

For those interested in a career as a buyer or purchasing agent of farm products, a degree in agriculture, agriculture production, or animal science is often beneficial.

Training

Buyers and purchasing agents typically get on-the-job training for more than 1 year. During this time, they learn how to perform their basic duties, including monitoring inventory levels and negotiating with suppliers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

There are several certifications available for buyers and purchasing agents. Although some employers require certification, many do not.

Most of these certifications involve oral or written exams and have education and work experience requirements.

The Institute for Supply Management offers the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) credential, which covers a wide scope of purchasing professional duties. To receive the CPSM credential, candidates must pass three exams and those with a bachelor’s degree must possess at least 3 years of relevant work experience while those without a bachelor’s degree must have at least 5 years of relevant work experience.

The American Purchasing Society offers the Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) certification. The CPP certification is valid for 5 years. Candidates must earn a certain number of professional development “points” to renew their certification. Candidates initially become eligible and can renew their certification through a combination of purchasing-related experience, education, and professional contributions (such as published articles or delivered speeches).

APICS offers the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. Applicants must have 3 years of relevant business experience or a bachelor’s degree in order to be eligible for the CSCP credential. The credential is valid for 5 years. Candidates must also earn a certain number of professional development points to renew their certification.

The Next Level Purchasing Association offers the Senior Professional in Supply Management (SPSM) Certification. Although there are no education or work experience requirements, applicants must complete six online courses and pass an SPSM exam. Certification is valid for 4 years. Candidates must complete 32 continuing education hours in procurement-related topics to recertify for an additional four-year period.

The Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC) offers two certifications for workers in federal, state, and local government. The Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) credential requires applicants to have earned at least an associate’s degree, possess at least 3 years of public procurement experience, and complete relevant training courses. The Certified Public Purchasing Officer (CPPO) requires applicants to have earned a bachelor’s degree, possess at least 5 years of public procurement experience, and complete additional training courses.

Those with the CPPB or the CPPO designation must renew their certification every 5 years by completing continuing education courses or attending procurement-related conferences or events.

The National Institute of Government Purchasing (NIGP), Institute for Public Procurement offers preparation courses for the UPPCC certification exams.

Advancement

An experienced purchasing agent or buyer may become an assistant purchasing manager before advancing to purchasing manager, supply manager, or director of materials management. Buyers and purchasing agents with extensive work experience can also advance to become the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) for an organization.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. When evaluating suppliers, buyers and purchasing agents must analyze their options and choose a supplier with the best combination of price, quality, delivery, or service. 

Decisionmaking skills. Buyers and purchasing agents must have the ability to make informed and timely decisions, choosing products that they think will sell.

Math skills. Buyers and purchasing agents must possess basic math skills. They must be able to compare prices from different suppliers to ensure that their organization is getting the best deal. 

Negotiating skills. Buyers and purchasing agents often must negotiate the terms of a contract with a supplier. Interpersonal skills and self-confidence, in addition to knowledge of the product, can help lead to successful negotiations.

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Average Length of Employment
Senior Buyer 5.4 years
Purchasing Buyer 4.7 years
Purchasing Agent 4.3 years
Plant Buyer 4.1 years
Buyer 4.0 years
Planner/Buyer 4.0 years
Technical Buyer 3.7 years
Procurement Buyer 3.6 years
Buyer/Expeditor 3.6 years
Buyer Lead 3.6 years
Buying Analyst 3.4 years
Strategic Buyer 3.4 years
Material Analyst 3.3 years
Procurement Agent 3.2 years
Top Careers Before Commodity Specialist
Buyer 19.1%
Senior Buyer 18.3%
Manager 1.8%
Top Careers After Commodity Specialist
Senior Buyer 13.2%
Buyer 8.4%
Manager 2.7%

Do you work as a Commodity Specialist?

Average Yearly Salary
$64,000
Show Salaries
$37,000
Min 10%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$64,000
Median 50%
$111,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Ball
Highest Paying City
Plymouth, MN
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
3.7 years
How much does a Commodity Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Commodity Specialist in the United States is $64,772 per year or $31 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $37,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $111,000.

Real Commodity Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Hardware Commodity Specialist III A2Z Development Center, Inc. Cupertino, CA Apr 11, 2013 $156,000
Hardware Commodity Specialist III A2Z Development Center, Inc. Cupertino, CA Nov 04, 2013 $156,000
Global Commodity Specialist Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Oct 15, 2015 $143,312 -
$164,900
Hardware Commodity Specialist III Amazon Corporate LLC Seattle, WA Jun 29, 2015 $135,000
Hardware Commodity Specialist III Amazon Corporate LLC Seattle, WA Jan 07, 2016 $135,000
Commodity Specialist Manager Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Aug 27, 2015 $132,174 -
$148,400
Hardware Commodity Specialist II Amazon Corporate LLC Seattle, WA Apr 18, 2016 $130,000
Hardware Commodity Specialist III Amazon Corporate LLC Seattle, WA Apr 18, 2016 $130,000
Commodity Specialist Manager Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Sep 12, 2015 $124,800 -
$148,400
Commodity Specialist Dura Operating LLC Auburn Hills, MI Sep 18, 2014 $120,503
HW Commodity Specialist III A2Z Development Center Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Apr 09, 2016 $120,170
HW Commodity Specialist III Amazon Corporate LLC Seattle, WA Dec 18, 2013 $120,000
Global Commodity Specialist Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jul 08, 2015 $119,600 -
$148,400
Commodity Specialist Western Digital Technologies, Inc. Milpitas, CA Nov 27, 2016 $118,900
Commodity Specialist Sandisk Corporation Milpitas, CA Apr 25, 2016 $117,877 -
$137,877
Hardware Commodity Specialist III A2Z Development Center, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Sep 09, 2015 $117,187 -
$183,400
Hardware Commodity Specialist III A2Z Development Center, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Nov 25, 2015 $116,386 -
$183,400
Commodity Specialist Manager (Logistics) Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jan 20, 2015 $116,325 -
$145,400
Commodity Specialist Sandisk Corporation Milpitas, CA Apr 21, 2015 $116,000
Commodity Specialist Sandisk Corporation Marlborough, MA Sep 09, 2015 $115,652
Commodity Specialist Sandisk Corporation Milpitas, CA Oct 01, 2012 $115,000
Commodity Specialist Sandisk Corporation Marlborough, MA Dec 10, 2015 $104,143
Commodity Specialist Sunpower Corporation San Jose, CA Aug 28, 2014 $103,000 -
$115,500
Commodity Management Specialist Siemens Energy, Inc. Orlando, FL Oct 01, 2011 $98,038
Commodity Specialist CNH America LLC Burr Ridge, IL Sep 30, 2009 $96,985
Commodity Specialist Manager Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Oct 01, 2011 $95,000 -
$115,000
Hardware Commodity Specialist II KIVA Systems, LLC North Reading, MA Jan 27, 2016 $89,627 -
$119,000
Lead Commodity Specialist Dura Operating LLC D/B/A Dura Automotive Milan, TN Oct 15, 2013 $80,621
Casting Commodity Specialist Brose North America Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Sep 16, 2011 $77,730

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Top Skills for A Commodity Specialist

  1. Supply Chain
  2. Supplier Relationships
  3. Cost Savings
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Participated in supplier selections and capability assessments with supply chain and engineering teams, supporting product offerings and complete business portfolios.
  • Excel in creating supplier relationships by building communication and developing a strong teaming environment conducive to overall success.
  • Finalized negotiations and implemented $493,000 in annualized cost savings through allocation shifts and negotiated savings.
  • Worked with suppliers to consistently meet on-time delivery and cost reduction requirements.
  • Job activities included negotiating, contracting and supplier management for production and new product development materials.

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Top 10 Best States for Commodity Specialists

  1. North Dakota
  2. Wisconsin
  3. Minnesota
  4. Michigan
  5. South Dakota
  6. Nebraska
  7. Texas
  8. Illinois
  9. Iowa
  10. Ohio
  • (20 jobs)
  • (117 jobs)
  • (119 jobs)
  • (167 jobs)
  • (12 jobs)
  • (35 jobs)
  • (354 jobs)
  • (192 jobs)
  • (45 jobs)
  • (148 jobs)

Commodity Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

56.4%

Female

38.1%

Unknown

5.5%
Ethnicity

White

63.7%

Hispanic or Latino

14.7%

Black or African American

9.0%

Asian

8.8%

Unknown

3.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

41.7%

Italian

12.5%

Portuguese

8.3%

Japanese

8.3%

French

8.3%

Chinese

4.2%

Vietnamese

4.2%

German

4.2%

Czech

4.2%

Slovak

4.2%
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Commodity Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

15.7%

Arizona State University

11.8%

Northeastern University

7.8%

San Jose State University

6.9%

Michigan State University

4.9%

University of Texas at Austin

4.9%

North Carolina State University

3.9%

Cardinal Stritch University

3.9%

New Mexico State University

3.9%

Pennsylvania State University

3.9%

Western Michigan University

3.9%

San Diego State University

3.9%

Purdue University

3.9%

Eastern Michigan University

2.9%

Thunderbird School of Global Management

2.9%

De Anza College

2.9%

University of Chicago

2.9%

Auburn University

2.9%

University of San Diego

2.9%

National University

2.9%
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Majors

Business

46.4%

Supply Chain Management

8.9%

Management

7.6%

Finance

6.1%

Marketing

5.6%

Accounting

2.8%

Psychology

2.3%

Operations Management

2.3%

International Business

2.0%

Economics

2.0%

Electrical Engineering

1.5%

Education

1.5%

English

1.5%

Project Management

1.5%

Law

1.5%

General Studies

1.3%

Manufacturing Engineering

1.3%

Liberal Arts

1.3%

Industrial Engineering

1.3%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

42.3%

Masters

30.8%

Other

16.0%

Associate

5.0%

Certificate

3.5%

Doctorate

1.9%

Diploma

0.4%

License

0.2%
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