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Become A Planner/Buyer

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Working As A Planner/Buyer

  • 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

  • $56,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Planner/Buyer 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 Planner/Buyer

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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Planner/Buyer Career Paths

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Average Length of Employment
Senior Buyer 5.1 years
Purchasing Buyer 4.1 years
Planner/Buyer 4.0 years
Purchasing Agent 4.0 years
Corporate Buyer 4.0 years
Buyer 3.8 years
Technical Buyer 3.6 years
Buyer Lead 3.5 years
Materials Planner 3.4 years
Buyer/Expeditor 3.3 years
Strategic Buyer 3.3 years
Procurement Buyer 3.3 years
Material Analyst 3.1 years
Procurement Agent 3.1 years
Associate Buyer 2.7 years
Purchase Analyst 2.6 years
Junior Buyer/Buyer 2.4 years
Top Careers Before Planner/Buyer
Buyer 24.4%
Senior Buyer 12.3%
Planner 3.7%
Internship 2.1%
Manager 2.1%
Supervisor 1.7%
Teller 1.7%
Top Careers After Planner/Buyer
Buyer 22.5%
Senior Buyer 18.3%
Planner 2.9%

Do you work as a Planner/Buyer?

Planner/Buyer Demographics

Gender

Female

51.8%

Male

46.0%

Unknown

2.2%
Ethnicity

White

60.4%

Hispanic or Latino

17.6%

Black or African American

9.6%

Asian

9.0%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

48.1%

Chinese

12.8%

Mandarin

10.2%

Portuguese

4.5%

French

3.5%

Korean

2.9%

German

2.7%

Japanese

2.7%

Cantonese

2.1%

Carrier

2.1%

Vietnamese

1.9%

Russian

1.6%

Italian

1.6%

Arabic

1.3%

Albanian

0.5%

Swedish

0.3%

Turkish

0.3%

Hindi

0.3%

Hebrew

0.3%

Danish

0.3%
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Planner/Buyer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

27.4%

Michigan State University

7.5%

Arizona State University

7.0%

San Jose State University

5.8%

University of Houston

5.5%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.4%

Northeastern University

4.2%

Pennsylvania State University

3.9%

Strayer University

3.7%

Texas A&M University

3.7%

Indiana Wesleyan University

3.1%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

3.1%

Western Michigan University

3.1%

Portland State University

3.1%

De Anza College

3.1%

Ashford University

2.4%

DePaul University

2.3%

University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh

2.3%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

2.3%

Bowling Green State University

2.3%
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Majors

Business

48.8%

Supply Chain Management

9.1%

Management

7.1%

Accounting

5.2%

Marketing

4.5%

Finance

2.9%

Communication

2.0%

Economics

1.9%

Education

1.8%

Psychology

1.8%

Industrial Engineering

1.8%

International Business

1.7%

Operations Management

1.7%

General Studies

1.6%

Project Management

1.5%

Computer Science

1.5%

Liberal Arts

1.4%

English

1.2%

Human Resources Management

1.2%

Political Science

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.5%

Other

20.4%

Masters

16.2%

Associate

10.8%

Certificate

4.5%

Diploma

0.9%

Doctorate

0.5%

License

0.3%
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Real Planner/Buyer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Purchasing Specialist Zone Wholesale Houston, TX Apr 18, 2016 $115,606
Senior Category Purchasing Specialist Continental Automotive Systems, Inc. Troy, MI Apr 10, 2016 $100,000 -
$102,708
Senor Category Purchasing Specialist Continental Automotive Systems, Inc. Troy, MI Jan 11, 2015 $100,000 -
$102,708
Staff Buyer/Planner Western Digital Technologies, Inc. Milpitas, CA May 12, 2016 $98,981 -
$110,000
Buyer/Planner KLA-Tencor Corporation Milpitas, CA Nov 07, 2016 $98,238
Planner Buyer SR. Advisor Dell Products L.P. Round Rock, TX Aug 20, 2015 $93,000
Planner Buyer SR. Advisor Dell Products, LP Austin, TX Sep 06, 2014 $93,000
Senior Purchasing Specialist Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals, Inc. Houston, TX Jan 18, 2016 $92,206 -
$114,600
Purchasing Specialist T. Choithram & Sons (USA) Inc. New York, NY Mar 30, 2015 $88,000
Senior Advanced Purchasing Specialist Continental Automotive Systems Holding Us, Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Oct 01, 2013 $87,055 -
$92,878
Purchasing Specialist H.K.Technologies, Inc. New York, NY Jun 23, 2015 $85,500
Purchasing Specialist Ad Beauty Channel, Inc. Englewood, NJ Jan 14, 2016 $85,010
Purchasing Specialist Faraday&Future Inc. Gardena, CA Sep 05, 2016 $85,000
Purchasing Specialist Faraday&Future Inc. Gardena, CA May 09, 2016 $85,000
Purchasing Specialist-It Kohler Company Kohler, WI Jun 05, 2015 $74,850 -
$112,250
Buyer/Planner Acuity Brands Lighting, Inc. Edison, NJ Oct 01, 2013 $74,818 -
$101,000
Purchasing Specialist Nextracker, Inc. Fremont, CA Sep 15, 2016 $74,568 -
$101,837
Purchasing Specialist Kelly Services, Inc. East Hanover, NJ Sep 24, 2014 $73,045
Import Purchasing Specialist OKK Trading Inc. Vernon, CA Oct 01, 2013 $72,335
Buyer/Planner KLA-Tencor Corporation Milpitas, CA Aug 28, 2013 $72,000
Associate Purchasing Specialist-High Voltage Electronics Tesla Motors, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Aug 17, 2016 $70,000 -
$80,000
Associate Purchasing Specialist-Pcba Sourcing Tesla Motors, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Aug 17, 2016 $70,000 -
$80,000
Buyer/Planner II National Oilwell Varco, L.P. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2015 $58,710
Senior Purchasing Specialist NB Ventures, Inc. Clark, NJ Oct 01, 2015 $58,000
Purchasing Specialist TK Electric LLC Clarksville, TN Apr 27, 2016 $57,998
Purchasing Specialist Bare Escentuals, Inc. San Francisco, CA May 06, 2013 $57,500
Purchasing Specialist Toyoda Gosei North America Corporation Troy, MI Sep 17, 2016 $57,100 -
$67,587
Buyer/Planner A.M. Castle and Co. Oak Brook, IL Sep 08, 2015 $57,000
Buyer/Planner Acuity Brands Lighting, Inc. Sacramento, CA May 13, 2013 $55,578 -
$77,000
Purchasing Specialist JOON LLC Cusseta, AL Oct 01, 2014 $55,493

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AVERAGE SALARY FOR A Planner/Buyer

Average Yearly Salary
$56,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$40,000
Min 10%
$56,000
Median 50%
$56,000
Median 50%
$56,000
Median 50%
$56,000
Median 50%
$56,000
Median 50%
$56,000
Median 50%
$56,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Pico Macom Inc
Highest Paying City
Lynnwood, WA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
3.8 years
How much does a Planner/Buyer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Planner/Buyer in the United States is $56,424 per year or $27 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $40,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $78,000.

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Top Skills for A Planner/Buyer

  1. Supply Chain
  2. Purchase Orders
  3. Vendor Invoices
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed rigorous supply chain modeling scenarios to optimize our sourcing strategy.
  • Developed an efficient and accurate system for monitoring all open purchase orders and inbound deliveries.
  • Reconciled vendor invoices against shipping documents and purchase orders.
  • Purchased direct raw materials for manufacturing and assembly and indirect orders per approved requisitions request.
  • Released purchase orders utilizing MRP system and interacted with suppliers for on-time delivery scheduling as well as any necessary price negotiations.

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Top 10 Best States for Planner/Buyers

  1. Texas
  2. Rhode Island
  3. Maryland
  4. Michigan
  5. Virginia
  6. Connecticut
  7. Minnesota
  8. Wyoming
  9. District of Columbia
  10. Massachusetts
  • (869 jobs)
  • (37 jobs)
  • (246 jobs)
  • (321 jobs)
  • (373 jobs)
  • (188 jobs)
  • (259 jobs)
  • (28 jobs)
  • (44 jobs)
  • (290 jobs)

Top Planner/Buyer Employers

Jobs From Top Planner/Buyer Employers

Planner/Buyer Videos

How to do PROPER Keyword Research and find BUYERS KEYWORDS with the Google Keyword Planner

Erin Condren Life Planner Review & Organization 2014-2015 Edition

Career Advice on becoming a Fashion Buyer by Sahar K (Full Version)

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