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Become A Senior Buyer

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Working As A Senior 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

  • $85,920

    Average Salary

What Does A Senior 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 Senior 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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Senior Buyer Jobs

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Senior Buyer Career Paths

Senior Buyer
Sales Manager Operations Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Global Sourcing
12 Yearsyrs
Material Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Purchasing
10 Yearsyrs
Contracts Manager Account Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Sourcing
13 Yearsyrs
Subcontract Administrator Subcontracts Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Strategic Sourcing
13 Yearsyrs
Procurement Agent Purchasing Manager
Director, Procurement
13 Yearsyrs
Material Manager Operations Manager
General Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Sales Manager Service Manager Purchasing Manager
Global Procurement Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Plant Manager Supply Chain Manager
Global Supply Chain Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Technical Director Production Manager
Material Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Logistics Manager Material Manager
Material Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Contracts Administrator Subcontracts Manager Purchasing Manager
Materials Director
12 Yearsyrs
Contracts Administrator Project Manager Construction Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Category Manager Sales Manager Purchasing Manager
Procurement Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Purchasing Supervisor Material Manager Purchasing Manager
Project Procurement Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Subcontract Administrator Contracts Administrator Purchasing Manager
Senior Manager, Procurement
11 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Product Manager Purchasing Manager
Senior Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Contracts Manager Contracts Administrator Purchasing Manager
Senior Sourcing Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Supply Chain Manager
Supply Chain Director
14 Yearsyrs
Purchasing Manager
Supply Chain Manager
10 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Senior Buyer 5.0 years
Purchasing Manager 4.6 years
Purchasing Buyer 4.1 years
Corporate Buyer 4.0 years
Purchasing Agent 4.0 years
Planner/Buyer 3.8 years
Buyer 3.8 years
Technical Buyer 3.6 years
Buyer Lead 3.5 years
Procurement Buyer 3.3 years
Strategic Buyer 3.3 years
Buyer/Expeditor 3.3 years
Contractor Buyer 3.2 years
Procurement Agent 3.1 years
Associate Buyer 2.7 years
Junior Buyer/Buyer 2.4 years
Top Employers Before
Buyer 35.0%
Planner 1.8%
Manager 1.4%
Top Employers After
Buyer 19.8%
Manager 2.0%
Consultant 1.8%

Do you work as a Senior Buyer?

Senior Buyer Demographics

Gender

Male

56.1%

Female

42.1%

Unknown

1.8%
Ethnicity

White

62.7%

Hispanic or Latino

15.6%

Black or African American

10.3%

Asian

8.0%

Unknown

3.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

48.3%

Chinese

9.2%

Mandarin

8.6%

German

7.2%

French

6.0%

Italian

3.2%

Portuguese

3.2%

Japanese

3.2%

Cantonese

2.9%

Korean

2.0%

Carrier

1.1%

Arabic

1.1%

Hindi

0.9%

Vietnamese

0.6%

Russian

0.6%

Tagalog

0.6%

Czech

0.6%

Romanian

0.3%

Dutch

0.3%

Gujarati

0.3%
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Senior Buyer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

24.4%

Michigan State University

9.4%

Arizona State University

7.0%

Northeastern University

5.6%

San Jose State University

5.4%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.9%

Pennsylvania State University

3.8%

University of Houston

3.7%

Webster University

3.6%

Wayne State University

3.5%

De Anza College

3.4%

Purdue University

3.1%

Western Michigan University

3.0%

Syracuse University

2.9%

Indiana Wesleyan University

2.9%

Texas A&M University

2.9%

San Diego State University

2.9%

University of Southern California

2.8%

Fashion Institute of Technology

2.8%

Northern Illinois University

2.7%
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Majors

Business

52.4%

Management

7.9%

Supply Chain Management

6.1%

Marketing

6.0%

Accounting

3.6%

Finance

3.1%

Communication

2.2%

Psychology

1.9%

Education

1.9%

Economics

1.7%

Political Science

1.5%

Operations Management

1.5%

Project Management

1.4%

Liberal Arts

1.4%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

1.3%

English

1.3%

International Business

1.2%

Industrial Technology

1.2%

General Studies

1.2%

Human Resources Management

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

48.0%

Masters

19.6%

Other

19.4%

Associate

7.7%

Certificate

4.2%

Doctorate

0.5%

Diploma

0.4%

License

0.1%
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Real Senior Buyer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Buyer Urban Outfitters, Inc. Philadelphia, PA Nov 03, 2014 $160,000
Senior Buyer, Furniture Williams-Sonoma, Inc. New York, NY Jul 08, 2013 $150,000
Senior Buyer, Furniture Williams-Sonoma, Inc. New York, NY Mar 17, 2015 $141,835 -
$173,800
Senior Buyer, Furniture Williams-Sonoma, Inc. New York, NY Jul 07, 2015 $141,835 -
$173,800
Senior Buyer, Global Williams-Sonoma, Inc. New York, NY Nov 14, 2016 $141,440 -
$178,500
Senior Buyer Knits-Retail and Direct Urban Outfitters, Inc. Philadelphia, PA Aug 06, 2014 $126,000
Senior Buyer, Apparel Walmart.Com Brisbane, CA Mar 14, 2011 $120,000
Senior Global Buyer, Franchise Williams-Sonoma, Inc. New York, NY Sep 12, 2015 $115,000 -
$150,000
Senior Buyer W. R. Grace & Co. Columbia, MD Dec 28, 2015 $112,200
SR. Buyer Knits-Retail and Direct Urban Outfitters, Inc. Philadelphia, PA Nov 01, 2011 $110,000
Senior Buyer/Planner Litepoint Corporation, A Teradyne Company Sunnyvale, CA May 16, 2016 $110,000
Senior Buyer Pharmavite LLC Los Angeles, CA May 01, 2015 $102,024
SR. Packaging Buyer Tesla Motors, Inc. Fremont, CA Aug 31, 2016 $99,986
Senior Buyer R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Memphis, TN Sep 26, 2013 $93,998
Senior Buyer-Direct Materials, North America W. R. Grace & Co. Baltimore, MD Sep 30, 2013 $82,000
Senior Buyer Coinstar Procurement LLC Oakbrook Terrace, IL Aug 20, 2014 $82,000 -
$100,000
Senior Buyer Coinstar Procurement LLC Oakbrook Terrace, IL Dec 11, 2014 $82,000 -
$100,000
Senior Buyer The Medtech Group South Plainfield, NJ Nov 03, 2012 $81,182 -
$100,672
Senior New Project Buyer Pelco, Inc. Tualatin, OR Sep 18, 2015 $81,000 -
$101,925
Buyer Senior Newmont International Services Limited Greenwood Village, CO May 09, 2016 $80,500
SR. Buyer/Planner Medtronic, Inc. Littleton, MA Aug 31, 2016 $80,000
Senior Global Sourcing Import Buyer Kenney Manufacturing Company Warwick, RI Jan 18, 2016 $80,000
SR. Buyer Coinstar, Inc. Aurora, IL May 02, 2011 $75,000 -
$85,000
SR. Buyer Coinstar Procurement LLC Oakbrook Terrace, IL Nov 30, 2012 $75,000 -
$85,000
Senior Buyer Dometic Corporation Elkhart, IN Feb 22, 2016 $75,000
Senior Buyer SBM Atlantia, Inc. Houston, TX Jun 09, 2012 $74,443 -
$96,000
Senior Sourcing Buyer Goodman Manufacturing Company, L.P. Houston, TX Jan 10, 2014 $73,632 -
$89,586
Senior New Project Buyer Pelco, Inc. Tualatin, OR Aug 28, 2016 $72,904 -
$81,540
SR. Buyer-Supply Chain-Purchasing Foster Wheeler USA Corporation Houston, TX Aug 15, 2015 $72,615

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Top Skills for A Senior Buyer

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  1. Supply Chain
  2. Purchase
  3. Product Quality
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Interfaced between commodity teams and business units to facilitate strategies, which supported consolidated buying and supply chain management efforts.
  • Purchased all material for an entire manufacturing plant and for a CCD camera manufacturing facility.
  • Strengthened Supplier relationships with key International and Asian Suppliers improving lead-time, product quality and customer service across the organization.
  • Work with engineering department to identify and qualify vendors to support new product line material requirements.
  • Reviewed RFQ's, identified long lead-time parts, resolved all material issues, and forwarded all revision changes as required.

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