An industrial buyer is responsible for choosing and buying goods, items, and services that will be used by a company. Of course, this job entails more than just simple buying. The industrial buyer, after all, has to set the price and the quality of these items and services, making sure that they fit the needs and standards of the business and, in turn, their clients.
Moreover, it is also the job of the industrial buyer to assess the need of the company for the said items and services. As a buyer, you will have to know about current price trends and how they will affect the business. You need to coordinate with suppliers, look for better ones, and organize and assess bids.
Simply put, the industrial buyer’s job is deeply ingrained in the financial and manufacturing aspects of any business. It is an almost universal role across different industries, from high end fashion to budget supermarkets, so professional opportunities abound.
Salary & benefits
A graduate industrial buyer can get as much as £25,000, although those who start as assistant industrial buyers may get a yearly salary that’s within the vicinity of £20,000.
Experienced buyers can get as much £40,000 to £60,000 a year.
The position doesn’t really require that much overtime work, but an industrial buyer is expected to do longer work hours when necessary.
Buyers may have to travel to get supplies as well; the chance of this is higher when a company is engaged in international business or if the supplies and services are acquired outside of the country.
Industrial buyer positions are essential in the retailing and manufacturing industries, and most corporate enterprises have industrial buyers. After all, every business needs goods and supplies, and it is the industrial buyer’s job to procure these for the company.
In any case, it’s a very prestigious position, since the business of procurement is quite complicated and ever-changing.
Industrial buyers should have a background in business studies, management, and marketing. However, the specifics differ according to the company.
Some companies, for instance, may require their industrial buyers to have business-related degrees, while others may prefer applicants who finished engineering.
On the other hand, a passion for particular products or goods – such as fashion or food items – would stand you in good stead for a niche buying role.
Those who are aiming for an industrial buyer job should have, as always, good communication and analytical skills. Industrial buyers are decision makers, so they should be confident and able to think decisions through thoroughly even under pressure.
Of course, as this is a position that’s connected with finance (basically, the decisions of an industrial buyer can dictate whether a company will or will not make money from a specific project), the buyer should have keen commercial awareness as well.
Training & progression
New graduates can start in the field as junior buyers or, in some cases, assistant industrial buyers. This is usually the case for those with no prior experience in the field, and it serves as the training for new hires. The trainees usually work on the assessment of materials and services.
They don’t decide on the purchase; rather, they make sure that the materials, services, and/or goods pass the requirements of the company. They also work on tracking stocks and supplies, for instance, and following up orders and requests, among others.
Since the position is quite high-profile, it opens up a lot of opportunities for the experienced industrial buyer. Many buyers are promoted as heads of the sales or manufacturing/production departments, for instance. Many also work their way into more specialised areas.