The role of buyers/planners is to ensure that office materials and equipment are well-supplied within their organization. They decide and purchase the materials needed for use or resale by their organization. They are responsible for evaluating prospective suppliers based on their cost, product quality, and delivery times. They are also the ones who negotiate contracts specifying the payment terms, price, and delivery schedules. Most employers prefer their buyer to have earned a bachelor's degree with a major in operations management or business management.

Planner/Buyer Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real planner/buyer resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Manage assign commodities by communicating MRP changes to the suppliers, minimizing obsolete inventory while achieving the optimum inventory levels.
  • Manage initiative to find solutions to harsh weather hardware applications, leading to cost savings and improve quality.
  • Execute all ECO changes as required with suppliers, effectively achieving engineering goals while meeting costing requirements and preserving supplier relationships.
  • Plan and coordinate all material requirements of assign commodities and supplier availability utilizing the MRP system.
  • Start collaboration efforts among senior buyers within Cabot to explore synergy savings for commodity projects across multiple business units and locations.
  • Process and expedite computer hardware and software orders using vendor's online order processing system.
  • Utilize company ERP system for inventory management and schedule optimization.
  • Reduce credit holds and reestablish positive account status during ERP implementation.
  • Participate in successful cost savings programs and implement and maintain ISO guidelines.
  • Support RFP evaluation process including setting meeting and preparing evaluation committee packages.
Planner/Buyer Traits
Communication skills shows that you are able to relay your thoughts, opinions and ideas clearly to those around you.
Customer-service skills involve listening skills that allow you to communicate efficiently and respectfully with a customer.
Detail oriented involves being extremely mindful and observant of all details.

Planner/Buyer Job Description

Between the years 2018 and 2028, planner/buyer jobs are expected to undergo a growth rate described as "little or no change" at 1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So if the thought "should I become a planner/buyer?" Has crossed your mind, maybe you should take the growth rate into account. In addition, the number of planner/buyer opportunities that are projected to become available by 2028 is 46,900.

A planner/buyer annual salary averages $60,773, which breaks down to $29.22 an hour. However, planner/buyers can earn anywhere from upwards of $43,000 to $84,000 a year. This means that the top-earning planner/buyers make $41,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

As is the case with most jobs, it takes work to become a planner/buyer. Sometimes people change their minds about their career after working in the profession. That's why we looked into some other professions that might help you find your next opportunity. These professions include a purchasing assistant, procurement analyst, procurement agent, and senior purchasing agent.

Planner/Buyer Jobs You Might Like

Planner/Buyer Resume Examples

Planner/Buyer Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 13% of Planner/Buyers are proficient in Supply Chain, Purchase Orders, and Customer Service. They’re also known for soft skills such as Communication skills, Customer-service skills, and Detail oriented.

We break down the percentage of Planner/Buyers that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Supply Chain, 13%

    Utilize comprehensive understanding of business requirements, supply chain, manufacturing processes and external factors to optimize ordering and inventory management

  • Purchase Orders, 13%

    Released purchase orders utilizing MRP system and interacted with suppliers for on-time delivery scheduling as well as any necessary price negotiations.

  • Customer Service, 6%

    Partnered with internal customer service and demand planning departments to ensure successful execution of inventory plans and proactively resolved potential problems.

  • MRP, 5%

    Monitored Material Resource Planning (MRP) requirements and purchase orders for manufacturing requirements ensuring continuous production.

  • Supplier Performance, 5%

    Develop supplier relationship and drive supplier performance; track completion status and escalate as necessary to eliminate barriers to supplier performance.

  • Vendor Invoices, 4%

    Oversee flagged vendor invoices by SAP to rectify all issues that would delay in them getting paid.

"supply chain," "purchase orders," and "customer service" aren't the only skills we found planner/buyers list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of planner/buyer responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for a planner/buyer to have happens to be communication skills. An example from a resume said this about the skill, "production, planning, and expediting clerks are frequently in contact with suppliers, vendors, and production managers and need to communicate the firm’s scheduling needs effectively." Additionally, other resumes have pointed out that planner/buyers can use communication skills to "improved relations and increased communication with china subsidiary for delivery dates. "
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many planner/buyer duties rely on customer-service skills. This example from a planner/buyer explains why: "stock clerks sometimes interact with customers in retail stores and may have to get the item the customer is looking for from the storeroom." This resume example is just one of many ways planner/buyers are able to utilize customer-service skills: "monitored vendor delivery obligations to avoid any delays in customer delivery dates and appraised production planning on any potential delays. "
  • Planner/buyers are also known for detail oriented, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a planner/buyer resume: "material and product inspecting clerks check items for defects, some of which are small and difficult to spot." We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "set up and maintain product detail in erp. "
  • A thorough review of lots of resumes revealed to us that "math skills" is important to completing planner/buyer responsibilities. This resume example shows just one way planner/buyers use this skill: "some material recording clerks use math to calculate shipping costs or take measurements." Here's an example of how this skill is used from a resume that represents typical planner/buyer tasks: "utilized the vista software, reviewed vendor iso forms and payment terms and statistics to evaluate supplier timeliness and accuracy. "
  • See the full list of planner/buyer skills.

    After discovering the most helpful skills, we moved onto what kind of education might be helpful in becoming a planner/buyer. We found that 65.4% of planner/buyers have graduated with a bachelor's degree and 7.8% of people in this position have earned their master's degrees. While most planner/buyers have a college degree, you may find it's also true that generally it's possible to be successful in this career with only a high school degree. In fact, our research shows that one out of every seven planner/buyers were not college graduates.

    Those planner/buyers who do attend college, typically earn either business degrees or supply chain management degrees. Less commonly earned degrees for planner/buyers include accounting degrees or management degrees.

    When you're ready to become a planner/buyer, you might wonder which companies hire planner/buyers. According to our research through planner/buyer resumes, planner/buyers are mostly hired by Aerotek, Robert Half International, and Crane Co. Now is a good time to apply as Aerotek has 7 planner/buyers job openings, and there are 7 at Robert Half International and 6 at Crane Co.

    But if you're interested in companies where you might earn a high salary, planner/buyers tend to earn the biggest salaries at Avnet, GEP Worldwide, and Kaman. Take Avnet for example. The median planner/buyer salary is $95,217. At GEP Worldwide, planner/buyers earn an average of $94,743, while the average at Kaman is $94,431. You should take into consideration how difficult it might be to secure a job with one of these companies.

    View more details on planner/buyer salaries across the United States.

    We also looked into companies who hire planner/buyers from the top 100 educational institutions in the U.S. The top three companies that hire the most from these institutions include Macy's, Whole Foods Market, and General Motors.

    The industries that planner/buyers fulfill the most roles in are the manufacturing and technology industries. But the highest planner/buyer annual salary is in the technology industry, averaging $78,819. In the manufacturing industry they make $70,877 and average about $68,951 in the health care industry. In conclusion, planner/buyers who work in the technology industry earn a 21.1% higher salary than planner/buyers in the retail industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious planner/buyers are:

      What Purchasing Assistants Do

      A purchasing assistant is responsible for obtaining raw materials and goods for a business or company. They primarily function to assist purchasing managers or supervisors by keeping records, maintaining inventory, reviewing purchase orders, and monitoring shipments and deliveries. Furthermore, a purchasing assistant may perform administrative support tasks ranging from arranging appointments and managing schedules, answering calls and inquiries, reaching out to vendors and suppliers, producing reports, and coordinating with various departments to ensure the smooth flow of products within the company.

      In this section, we take a look at the annual salaries of other professions. Take purchasing assistant for example. On average, the purchasing assistants annual salary is $17,574 lower than what planner/buyers make on average every year.

      While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both planner/buyers and purchasing assistants positions are skilled in purchase orders, customer service, and mrp.

      As far as similarities go, this is where it ends because a planner/buyer responsibility requires skills such as "supply chain," "kanban," "safety stock," and "corrective actions." Whereas a purchasing assistant is skilled in "purchase requisition," "data entry," "buyers," and "general ledger accounts." So if you're looking for what truly separates the two careers, you've found it.

      Purchasing assistants tend to make the most money in the manufacturing industry by averaging a salary of $41,620. In contrast, planner/buyers make the biggest average salary of $78,819 in the technology industry.

      The education levels that purchasing assistants earn is a bit different than that of planner/buyers. In particular, purchasing assistants are 8.2% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree than a planner/buyer. Additionally, they're 0.1% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Procurement Analyst?

      Procurement analysts procure favorable contracts by acting as liaisons between suppliers and their employers. They are hired by organizations that rely on supply chain management to analyze and evaluate potential suppliers, prepare reports about monthly supply costs, and negotiate contracts. With good critical thinking skills, these procurement analysts who are also known as purchasing analysts, evaluate vendors and suppliers based on the speed of delivery, quality, and price. They use quantitative methods to support fact-based decision-making to become competitive and to ensure cost-efficiency and high quality of the products and services.

      Now we're going to look at the procurement analyst profession. On average, procurement analysts earn a $13,347 higher salary than planner/buyers a year.

      Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Planner/buyers and procurement analysts both include similar skills like "purchase orders," "customer service," and "mrp" on their resumes.

      But both careers also use different skills, according to real planner/buyer resumes. While planner/buyer responsibilities can utilize skills like "supply chain," "production schedules," "kanban," and "inventory control," some procurement analysts use skills like "procedures," "procurement policies," "ensure compliance," and "data analysis."

      In general, procurement analysts study at higher levels of education than planner/buyers. They're 10.9% more likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 0.1% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Procurement Agent Compares

      A procurement agent develops profitable measures to save the client money and ensure the quality of goods supplied. Procurement agents obtain the purchased items through suppliers, monitor them, and expedite the orders. They oversee the activities and performance of the suppliers for compliance. Their duties include the verification of item receipts, resolving shipment-related problems, and authorizing purchase payments through documentation. The necessary skills for this job include being accomplished, decisive, and strong communication skills.

      The third profession we take a look at is procurement agent. On an average scale, these workers bring in higher salaries than planner/buyers. In fact, they make a $14,115 higher salary per year.

      While looking through the resumes of several planner/buyers and procurement agents we discovered that both professions have similar skills. These similarities include skills such as "supply chain," "purchase orders," and "customer service," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

      Some important key differences between the two careers are a few of the skills necessary to fulfill responsibilities. Some examples from planner/buyer resumes include skills like "production schedules," "kanban," "safety stock," and "pos," whereas a procurement agent might be skilled in "procedures," "commodity," "project management," and "continuous improvement. "

      Procurement agents are known to earn higher educational levels when compared to planner/buyers. Additionally, they're 6.4% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 1.2% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Senior Purchasing Agent

      Senior Purchasing Agents are experienced employees in the company's purchasing department. They oversee the purchase requisitions of the employees. They validate requests, ensure that the requestors followed company guidelines, check the availability of the items with the chosen supplier, and forward the purchase order to the supplier. Upon fulfillment of the request, Senior Purchasing Agents check the deliveries, ensure that the items are complete and correct, forward the items to the requestor, and process the payment for the supplier. Senior Purchasing agents also prepare reports, spot trends in employee or department purchases, and create recommendations based on observations. They are also expected to form good working relationships with suppliers.

      The fourth career we look at typically earns higher pay than planner/buyers. On average, senior purchasing agents earn a difference of $24,217 higher per year.

      While their salaries may vary, planner/buyers and senior purchasing agents both use similar skills to perform their jobs. Resumes from both professions include skills like "purchase orders," "customer service," and "mrp. "

      Each job requires different skills like "supply chain," "production schedules," "safety stock," and "corrective actions," which might show up on a planner/buyer resume. Whereas senior purchasing agent might include skills like "procedures," "product category," "project management," and "continuous improvement."

      Now, let's take a closer look at the financials in each career. The technology industry tends to pay more for senior purchasing agents with an average of $103,995. While the highest planner/buyer annual salary comes from the technology industry.

      Senior purchasing agents reach higher levels of education when compared to planner/buyers. The difference is that they're 10.3% more likely to earn a Master's Degree more, and 1.0% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.