Guide: What Does A Purchase Manager Do In A Company?
Updated 18 March 2023
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Purchase managers or, purchasing managers, oversee an organisation's procurement strategies. They are responsible for sourcing equipment, goods and services and for managing vendors. If you are interested in this job role, you may benefit from understanding what this profession entails. In this article, we examine what a purchase manager does, what skills and qualifications they require on the job, how to become one and how much they make.
What does a purchase manager do?
To answer the question, "what does a purchase manager do?", it is beneficial to review their responsibilities. These are some common duties for purchase managers:
Evaluating and improving procurement strategies based on analysis: Purchase managers are responsible for assessing an organisation's existing procurement strategies and recommending methods for decreasing costs and wastage of resources.
Overseeing inventory levels: These professionals evaluate inventory needs, maintain appropriate levels of stock and devise strategies to dispose of outdated items in the most profitable way.
Negotiate supplier contracts: Purchasing managers also oversee contract negotiations with suppliers, which includes approving contracts written by purchasing agents and assisting with complex or large-scale supplier agreements.
Building and managing buying teams: As purchase managers, these professionals are responsible for leading teams of buyers and purchasing agents. They may assist with hiring processes, administer training, set departmental goals and ensure that staff members work together efficiently.
What skills do purchase managers require?
Purchasing managers require specific skills to excel in their role, including soft skills. A few of them are:
Computer skills: To conduct research, chart trends, write reports and communicate with suppliers, purchasing managers use basic computer skills and operate with a standard level of computer literacy. To be an eligible candidate, you can learn how to work with standard spreadsheets, databases and presentation software.
Decision-making skills: Purchasing managers make crucial decisions on a regular basis. They understand how to weigh benefits and drawbacks, forecast results and make quick choices to accomplish their goals.
Leadership skills: Professionals in this domain may require expert leadership skills to manage and train teams. Purchasing managers also set goals, build teams and implement organisational strategies.
Mathematical skills: Since purchasing managers frequently compare and evaluate costs, they require strong math skills and proficiency in working with numbers. Most professionals acquire these skills during their undergraduate studies.
Negotiation skills: Purchasing managers use negotiation skills to make the most beneficial deals with suppliers. To negotiate successfully, they assess internal parameters, evaluate supplier needs and devise proposals that are compelling and profitable for the supplier.
Familiarity with procurement software: To handle complex research and negotiations, purchasing managers use procurement software. Most learn the basics of these applications while working as purchasing agents, and they can complete tutorials or training programs to refresh their skills when they assume an administrative role.
Soft skills: As purchase managers handle teams of salespersons, they benefit from being able to work well with teams. Managers in purchasing are in charge of planning and delegating tasks to their teams, making sure the documentation is in order, creating an efficient and productive work routine and following up with the company's vendors and partners.
Knowledge of company strategies: To perform well as a purchasing manager, you can gain familiarity with the business strategies of your company and align your trading methods to achieve organisational goals. Knowing the goals of a company is necessary to make the best decisions quickly.
Related: Purchasing Manager Skills: Examples Plus How To Highlight
Purchase manager work environment
Purchasing managers generally work at desks in office settings and have standard work hours. They tend to use computers and digital files. Depending on the company, they may have cubicles, enclosed offices or desks in open-layout spaces. Many purchasing managers also spend a large portion of their work hours travelling, especially when they have to meet with a client or supplier. As a purchasing manager, you can benefit from dressing appropriately and being punctual for meetings.
What qualifications does a purchase manager require?
To become a successful purchasing manager, you can pursue a bachelor's degree or a professional certification and develop the required technical and soft skills. Employers may also require relevant work experience for working in administrative positions. These are some qualifications a purchase manager may require:
These are some domains in which you may consider pursuing formal academic qualifications:
Business administration: A bachelor's degree in business administration is one of the most common degrees for purchasing managers. With this degree, you can also expect to learn the basics of business management, the fundamentals of accounting and marketing and the principles of project management.
Finance: Aspiring purchasing managers who pursue a finance degree can expect to learn the foundational theories of finance and economics and the principles of research and data analysis. With a degree in finance, you can also gain advanced skills like teamwork, leadership and relationship management.
Supply chain management: A bachelor's degree in supply chain management can help you better understand supply chain fundamentals, including the principles of logistics, inventory management and procurement. Most supply chain management degrees also include the basics of business administration and management components.
Related: How To Share Your Education Background
To earn success as a purchasing manager, one may consider earning a professional certification from a reputed association or agency. Some employers require these credentials, especially for management positions. The most relevant certifications for this job role include:
Certified Public Purchasing Officer: Designed for procurement professionals who work for government agencies, this credential is available from the Universal Public Procurement Certification Council. Candidates with a bachelor's degree and at least five years of procurement experience for a public agency are eligible to pursue this certification course.
Certified Purchasing Professional: The Institute for Supply Management offers the certification course Certified Purchasing Professional, which can add value to a purchase manager's resume. You can pursue this certification through an e-learning platform, at a convenient pace.
Senior Professional in Supply Chain Management: You can pursue this certification through online platforms. Educational requirements include a bachelor's degree or a diploma in supply chain management, business management, finance, or any related field, along with relevant proven work experience.
Related: How To List Certifications On A Resume (With Examples)
How to become a purchase manager
Follow these steps to become a purchasing manager:
1. Get a bachelor's degree
To begin working in the procurement industry, you can pursue a bachelor's degree. Some of the commonly pursued disciplines include business administration, finance and supply chain management. Popular degrees include BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration), BBA in Finance and BBA in Supply Chain Management.
2. Earn a professional certification
You can improve your skills and stand ahead of the competition with a professional certification. You can pursue online certification courses to get credentials like a Certified Purchasing Professional or a Senior Professional in Supply Chain Management certification. The Indian Institute of Materials Management and the Institute for Supply Management also offer several courses in sourcing, material management and logistics, that have value in the field of purchase management.
Related: What Are Professional Certificates? (With 10 Certificates)
3. Work as a purchasing agent
To advance to a management position, you may require procurement industry experience. Most purchasing managers have at least five years of experience working as a buyer, purchasing agent or procurement officer. After you gain relevant industry experience and advance your skills, you can apply for administrative positions in your company or another one.
4. Master key skills and gain industry knowledge
Since purchasing managers are mid-career employees, they typically have several years of work experience by the time they get to the position. Most work as buyers or purchasing agents for at least five years before advancing to this management role. As entry-level purchasing agents, these professionals usually complete up to a year of on-the-job training. During this time, they become adept at various aspects of supply chain management, including researching and negotiating with suppliers and tracking inventory adjustments.
Related: On-The-Job Training For Efficient Staff Development
How much does a purchase manager make?
Almost all purchasing managers typically work full-time jobs. This means many purchasing managers work more than 40 hours a week. Average salaries depend on the purchasing manager's experience and education level and also their employer's industry, location and budget. The average base salary of a purchasing manager is ₹26,683 per month.
Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
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