Purchasing Manager

Purchasing managers work in a wide range of sectors for many different organisations. Their job is to buy in any product or service that the organisation may need in order to carry out their business and operate as necessary.

The purchasing manager sources whatever the business requires or searches for better deals and more profitable suppliers possibly on a worldwide scale. They need to be cost effective while also dealing with other factors such as sustainability, risk management and ethical issues.

Purchasing and supply management is an important role for any business or organisation. More than two thirds of revenue can be spent on buying the companyĆ­s products or services meaning the purchase manager can make a real difference in cost saving and profit.

Typical work activities

The work activities carried out by a purchasing manager depend largely on the business functions, size and location of the employing organisation. The level of responsibility held by the purchasing manager will also influence duties. Tasks typically involve:

  • forecasting likely levels of demand for services and products to meet the business needs and keeping a constant check on stock levels to maximise business efficiency;
  • conducting research to ascertain the best products and suppliers in terms of best value, delivery schedules and quality;
  • liaising between suppliers, manufacturers, relevant internal departments and customers;
  • identifying potential suppliers, visiting existing suppliers, and building and maintaining good relationships with them;
  • negotiating and agreeing contracts and monitoring their progress – checking the quality of service provided;
  • processing payments and invoices;
  • keeping contract files and using them as reference for the future;
  • forecasting price trends and their impact on future activities;
  • giving presentations about market analysis and possible growth;
  • developing an organisation’s purchasing strategy;
  • producing reports and statistics using computer software;
  • evaluating bids and making recommendations based on commercial and technical factors;
  • ensuring suppliers are aware of business objectives;
  • attending meetings and trade conferences;
  • training and supervising the work of other members of staff