Many organizations rely on effective supply chain management not only to stay afloat, but also to maintain a steady profit. One of the key players on an organization’s supply chain management team is a purchasing manager.
Purchasing Manager Job Duties and Skills Needed
Purchasing managers are responsible for overseeing buyers and purchasing agents, as well as the higher-level procurement tasks. They also need to make sure the buyers and agents are buying products at a price that adheres to the organization’s needs.
Their job duties might include:
- Examining potential and current suppliers based on quality, speed and price of services and delivery
- Networking at trade shows and conferences to find new trends and meet new suppliers
- Meeting vendors and go to distribution centers to see the products in person
- Analyzing reports and proposals for best possible prices
- Evaluating and negotiate contracts with suppliers and vendors so their organization gets the best possible deal, and to make sure all parties adhere to the terms and conditions
- Keeping a running inventory of all items purchased, shipped and delivered
They typically work in an office environment, but sometimes travel is needed to coordinate with suppliers or to inspect products before buying them. About one-third of purchasing managers put in overtime hours in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Attention to detail, strong math and computer software skills, ability to analyze different situations and negotiation skills will strongly benefit anyone who chooses this career path.
Job Outlook and Salary
As of May 2016, purchasing managers made an annual median wage of $111,590, while the top 10% brought in $177,560. Salaries and job opportunities tend to vary by region, so job seekers are encouraged to conduct their own independent research.
The BLS tracks purchasing managers, buyers and agents as one occupation. Due to the automation of some tasks and outsourcing to other countries, employment is expected to decline by 3% by 2026.
How to Become a Purchasing Manager
Most purchasing managers have some experience in procurement, as well as a bachelor’s degree. A Master of Science in Applied Business Analytics or an MBA can help with career advancement, as well as opportunities within other companies.
Starting out as an agent or buyer typically requires a few months of training, and usually a bachelor’s degree.
There are also several certifications available for purchasing professionals, including:
American Purchasing Society
- Certified Purchasing Professional Certification
- Valid for five years
- Must earn points to renew the certification
- Certified Supply Chain Professional credential
- Three years of business experience or bachelor’s degree required
- Valid for five years
- Renewal also earned on a point system
Next Level Purchasing Association
- Senior Professional in Supply Management certification
- No previous educational or work experience requirements
- Requires completion of six courses and an exam
- Valid for four years
- Renewal requires 32 hours of continuing education
Universal Public Procurement Certification Council
- Two certifications for government employees
- Certified Professional Public Buyer
- Requires associate degree, along with three years of experience and training courses
- Certified Public Purchasing Officer
- Requires bachelor’s degree, five years of experience and training courses
- Both are valid for five years and must be renewed with continuing education or conferences