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Become A Purchasing Buyer

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Working As A Purchasing 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

  • $51,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Purchasing 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 Purchasing 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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Purchasing Buyer Career Paths

Purchasing Buyer
Buyer Purchasing Manager
Senior Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Buyer Senior Buyer Purchasing Manager
Senior Sourcing Manager
13 Yearsyrs
Buyer Purchasing Manager Supply Chain Manager
Senior Manager-Supply Chain Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Buyer Material Manager
Materials Director
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Buyer Manager Vice President
Supply Chain Vice President
17 Yearsyrs
Purchasing Agent Material Manager Supply Chain Manager
Global Supply Chain Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Purchasing Agent Planner/Buyer Supply Chain Analyst
Senior Supply Chain Analyst
7 Yearsyrs
Purchasing Agent Material Manager
Materials Planning Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Operations Manager Supply Chain Manager
Director Of Supply Chain Operations
12 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Business Manager Contracts Manager
Project Procurement Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Manager Managing Director Director, Procurement
Director Of Strategic Sourcing
13 Yearsyrs
Procurement Agent Purchasing Supervisor Director Of Purchasing
Director Of Global Sourcing
14 Yearsyrs
Procurement Agent Supply Chain Specialist Supply Chain Analyst
Supply Chain Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Procurement Agent Senior Purchasing Agent
Procurement Officer
5 Yearsyrs
Store Manager Inventory Manager Supply Manager
Global Supply Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Managing Director Director, Procurement
Director Of Sourcing
13 Yearsyrs
Warehouse Manager Quality Control Manager Production Control Manager
Manager Of Purchasing & Materials
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Purchasing Agent Senior Manager, Procurement
Global Procurement Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant Contracts Administrator Senior Purchasing Agent
Manager, Operations And Procurement
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Purchasing Buyer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Senior Buyer 5.4 years
Purchasing Buyer 5.0 years
Purchasing Manager 4.7 years
Purchasing Agent 4.3 years
Plant Buyer 4.1 years
Planner/Buyer 4.0 years
Buyer 4.0 years
Technical Buyer 3.7 years
Buyer Lead 3.6 years
Procurement Buyer 3.6 years
Buyer/Expeditor 3.6 years
Strategic Buyer 3.4 years
Junior Buyer/Buyer 2.5 years
Top Careers Before Purchasing Buyer
Buyer 17.0%
Cashier 4.4%
Manager 3.0%
Secretary 2.9%
Internship 2.4%
Top Careers After Purchasing Buyer
Buyer 22.4%
Cashier 3.2%
Manager 2.6%

Do you work as a Purchasing Buyer?

Purchasing Buyer Demographics

Gender

Female

53.0%

Male

37.6%

Unknown

9.4%
Ethnicity

White

60.9%

Hispanic or Latino

15.7%

Black or African American

10.9%

Asian

9.4%

Unknown

3.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

29.5%

Chinese

12.8%

Mandarin

12.8%

Japanese

7.7%

Cantonese

7.7%

German

3.8%

French

3.8%

Portuguese

2.6%

Arabic

2.6%

Korean

2.6%

Italian

2.6%

Filipino

1.3%

Czech

1.3%

Russian

1.3%

Carrier

1.3%

Hindi

1.3%

Tagalog

1.3%

Polish

1.3%

Croatian

1.3%

Thai

1.3%
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Purchasing Buyer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

24.5%

Michigan State University

13.8%

Wayne State University

6.1%

Indiana Wesleyan University

5.1%

Arizona State University

4.1%

Baker College

4.1%

University of Houston

3.6%

Davenport University

3.6%

Northwood University

3.1%

Pennsylvania State University

3.1%

American InterContinental University

3.1%

University of Kentucky

3.1%

San Antonio College

3.1%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

3.1%

Austin Community College

3.1%

Central Michigan University

3.1%

Strayer University

3.1%

University of California - Riverside

2.6%

Bowling Green State University

2.6%

University of Maryland - University College

2.6%
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Majors

Business

48.0%

Accounting

7.1%

Management

6.1%

Supply Chain Management

6.0%

Marketing

4.2%

Finance

3.0%

Psychology

2.9%

Criminal Justice

2.5%

General Studies

2.3%

Education

2.3%

Communication

2.3%

Computer Science

2.1%

Human Resources Management

2.1%

Health Care Administration

1.5%

Liberal Arts

1.4%

English

1.3%

History

1.3%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.3%

Economics

1.1%

Secretarial And Administrative Science

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.2%

Other

27.7%

Masters

13.2%

Associate

12.4%

Certificate

5.6%

Diploma

1.9%

Doctorate

0.7%

License

0.4%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$51,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$30,000
Min 10%
$51,000
Median 50%
$51,000
Median 50%
$51,000
Median 50%
$51,000
Median 50%
$51,000
Median 50%
$51,000
Median 50%
$51,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
CyberCoders
Highest Paying City
Elgin, IL
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
4.7 years
How much does a Purchasing Buyer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Purchasing Buyer in the United States is $51,765 per year or $25 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $30,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $88,000.

Real Purchasing Buyer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Buyer-Global Purchasing General Motors Company Warren, MI Oct 01, 2014 $67,884
Purchasing Oracle Superuser-Buyer Knape & Vogt Manufacturing Company Grand Rapids, MI Dec 11, 2016 $59,406
Purchasing Buyer Mahle Industries, Incorporated Farmington Hills, MI Mar 05, 2012 $57,782
Purchasing Buyer Mahle Industries, Incorporated Novi, MI Mar 15, 2012 $57,782
Purchasing Buyer Kasai North America, Inc. Murfreesboro, TN Jan 08, 2016 $53,000 -
$58,000
Buyer, Purchasing & Supply Management Volvo Construction Equipment North America, LLC Shippensburg, PA Feb 11, 2016 $52,800 -
$81,900
Buyer, Strategic Purchasing Atlas Copco Drilling Solutions LLC Garland, TX Sep 03, 2013 $52,000 -
$59,000
Advance Purchasing Buyer-Electronics Mando America Corporation Opelika, AL Jan 01, 2010 $52,000
Advance Purchasing Buyer-Electronics Mando America Corporation Opelika, AL Dec 07, 2009 $52,000
Buyer-Global Purchasing Venetian Casino Resort, LLC Las Vegas, NV Dec 19, 2013 $45,695 -
$55,695

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Top Skills for A Purchasing Buyer

  1. Office Supplies
  2. Purchase Orders
  3. Vendor Invoices
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed general secretarial duties along with procurement of office supplies.
  • Processed requisitions into purchase orders.
  • Audit vendor invoices, authorize payment, and forward to accounting using Doc Link.
  • Coordinate with all internal departments to ensure all transportation related materials and equipment are present and available for loading as necessary.
  • Collaborate with senior management in the identification and development of multiple cost savings initiatives.

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