Job Description

Purchasing Manager Job Description

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What is a purchasing manager?

A purchasing manager buys materials or parts for a company to resell or create goods or services. The purchasing manager researches each component to compare quality, cost, and accessibility. The manager selects potential vendors to work with, solicits bids, negotiates contracts, and makes sure the contract is adhered to.

At some companies, the purchasing manager job description includes overseeing a small team of buyers or purchasing agents as well.

How is this role monitored?

The purchasing manager will report to the chief operating officer (COO) or a vice president of the supply chain in many cases, especially if purchasing is crucial to daily operations.

Purchasing managers are often asked to keep reports on selected vendors and alternatives. The reports show the COO or VP of the supply chain why vendors were selected, the amount of money saved, and resource quantities available.

Purchasing manager salary

The average salary for purchasing managers is $121,110.

In 2019, there were 526,000 people in the role of purchasing manager. Over the next decade, the number of purchasing manager jobs is expected to grow by 3%, while others in the field, like buyers and purchasing agents, will likely lose jobs.

What does a purchasing manager do?

Purchasing manager responsibilities focus on finding and obtaining materials or parts for a company. The day-to-day functions of a purchasing manager are to:

  • Develop a list of inventory needed and plan a purchasing strategy
  • Research vendors, visit plants, and request bids from a small pool of selected suppliers
  • Network with vendors and attend events as necessary (trade shows, networking events, etc.)
  • Craft and negotiate contracts on behalf of the company
  • Make sure the contract is fulfilled and quality control is maintained
  • Identify problems and implement solutions to improve the purchasing process
  • Maintain inventory amounts and make purchases accordingly
  • Train new employees and provide guidance necessary to be an effective buyer
  • Keep records of all vendors, contracts, and correspondence

Required skills

Wondering what skills a purchasing manager should possess? A purchasing manager job description will likely mention these skills:

  • Strong analytical skills to compare vendors, prices, quantities, and availability
  • Communication skills to convey exactly what’s needed and expected from a vendor
  • Ability to work independently
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office and inventory management software
  • Record-keeping skills to maintain a vendor database

Education & qualifications

Purchasing manager education requirements include:

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, business science, or logistics
  • Master’s degree in business (only if the purchasing manager will supervise staff)
  • 5-7 years of experience in the field

Top purchasing manager interview questions

During an interview for this position, these questions are commonly asked::

  1. Explain your previous experience and the buying process you’re familiar with.
  2. How do you know when it’s time to change vendors?
  3. If two vendors offer similar pricing, quality, and availability, how will you select between the two?
  4. Let’s say a shipment of materials just arrived and they’re not the quality you were promised. What do you do?
  5. Without the right amount of materials in the plant, production could stop. How do you ensure that this doesn’t happen?
  6. How would you deal with a department that’s making demands for materials that exceed the budget?
  7. How do you coach buyers or purchasing agents to do their best?
  8. If a buyer isn’t performing to your standards, what will you do?

How to become a purchasing manager

To become a purchasing manager, a person must obtain a four-year degree in business and work for at least 5 years as a buyer or purchasing agent. Sometimes, purchasing manager job requirements can include specific experience in a certain field, like retail or agriculture. Usually, employers prefer someone with experience within their industry.

Similar positions

Similar positions to a purchasing manager are:

  • Procurement manager
  • Purchasing officer
  • Supply chain manager

Career Advancement

    Some companies require that purchasing managers obtain further education, like a master’s degree, to advance. Possible positions that a purchasing manager could aspire to include:

    • VP of supply chain
    • Procurement director
    • Supply chain director

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