In Summary - Procurement Officer / Buyer
Procurement Officer / Buyers typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Procurement Officer / Buyer
Procurement officers (also known as purchasing and supplies officers, or buyers) buy raw materials, equipment, services and other items for use by an organisation. They might buy anything from office furniture to helicopters, timber for a shed manufacturing company to paper for a printing company, security services for a hospital to horses for the police force - the list is endless.
They make sure that they get the best value for money, that the company is holding the right amount of stock and that it has the appropriate suppliers in place to deliver the goods and services needed.
Buyers consult with user departments to find out which goods and services they need and then find companies that might be able to supply these. They obtain estimates of prices from possible suppliers and check on their past performance, for example, if they always deliver on time. Then they negotiate with them to agree the best possible price and quality.
Buyers have a budget and must try to buy what is needed without spending any more than this amount. When they have chosen a supplier, they agree the terms of the contract. They need to consider the legal aspects of buying and selling, and to understand the business needs and processes of their organisation.
Buyers use their knowledge of market conditions to forecast the availability and prices of supplies in order to buy at the right time.They take into account any problems that could occur and try to work around them. This could include placing several smaller orders for the same product with different suppliers in case of non-delivery or poor quality. They might have to accept or reject deliveries and be responsible for making sure that the items are suitable and delivered at the right time.
Some buyers might be involved in authorising payment, once they are satisfied with the quality and quantity of products. Buyers check the performance of their suppliers and try to solve any problems that might occur. If problems cannot be overcome, the buyer must find another supplier.
Some buyers might be involved in stock control and the safe and efficient storage of goods. Stockpiling goods is uneconomical and inefficient so the buyer tries to make sure that orders arrive 'just in time' for use or distribution. Increasingly, purchasing is an international profession and buyers might need to travel to meet suppliers across the world.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Use computers to organize and locate inventory, and operate spreadsheet and word processing software.
- Negotiate prices, discount terms and transportation arrangements for merchandise.
- Manage the department for which they buy.
- Confer with sales and purchasing personnel to obtain information about customer needs and preferences.
- Examine, select, order, and purchase at the most favorable price merchandise consistent with quality, quantity, specification requirements and other factors.
- Monitor and analyze sales records, trends, or economic conditions to anticipate consumer buying patterns and determine what the company will sell and how much inventory is needed.
- Set or recommend mark-up rates, mark-down rates, and selling prices for merchandise.
- Authorize payment of invoices or return of merchandise.
- Interview and work closely with vendors to obtain and develop desired products.
- Conduct staff meetings with sales personnel to introduce new merchandise.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Selling or Influencing Others Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Interests - Procurement Officer / Buyer
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
As a buyer, you will need to have:
- Excellent communication skills.
- Negotiating skills.
- An aptitude for figures and the ability to manage a budget.
- An analytical mind.
- IT skills.
- An interest in the activities of your own organisation.
- The ability to build up a good knowledge of manufacturing and distribution methods and suppliers.
- Teamwork skills.
- The ability to prioritise tasks and manage your time to meet deadlines.
You should be:
- Able to build good relationships with all kinds of people.
- Willing to make decisions and take responsibility for them.
- Well organised, self-reliant and motivated.
- Able to forecast future needs and plan ahead.
For some jobs, employers look for applicants with a technical or scientific background. Foreign language skills could be useful if you are buying from other countries.
Entry Requirements - Procurement Officer / Buyer
Entrants typically have a Degree in a relevant subject area i.e. business studies, economics, marketing, retail management and IT. Foreign language skills are valued by companies who trade with overseas suppliers.
Pay & Salary - Procurement Officer / Buyer
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 28k - 80k
Buyer/Planner: 28 - 60
Planning Manager: 55 - 80
Brightwater / Morgan McKinley / Sigmar
Last Updated: July, 2015
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.