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A career as an industrial buyer

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A job as an industrial buyer involved purchasing and procurement, an important aspect of successful business performance.

With employment opportunities in a wide range of sectors, it is the responsibility of an industrial buyer to ensure their firm chooses the suitable goods and services to provide.

Price, quality, delivery times and additional services support are all key elements of a industrial buyers decision making process, alongside considerations about the business' brand and the interests and needs of their customer base.

Industrial buyers forecast demand for services and products, research market trends and need, and liaise between suppliers, manufacturers and customers to devise purchasing strategies for their employers.

Jobs in the sector also involve forecasting potential market growth, negotiating and agreeing costs, checking stock levels and service quality, and visiting suppliers.

The qualifications and experience needed to secure employment opportunities depend on the type and size of organisation – large retailers and distribution centres may require a business-based degree, whereas some manufacturers place more emphasis on knowledge of the field, with a preference for engineering, economic or scientific qualifications.

On the whole, applicants for industrial buyer jobs will benefit a degree in subjects such as business studies, purchasing and logistics, marketing, operations management or engineering.

Several specialist degrees have been accredited by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) and may aid securing employment opportunities in the industry, in addition to providing a route into membership of the institute.

Some employers may actively seek candidates with accredited qualifications to ensure a certain standard is met.

Further qualifications such as masters and post-graduate diplomas are not essential, but could help candidates to stand out when competing for jobs.

Employers require candidates to have good oral and written communication skills, as well as commercial awareness and analytical skills – with sufficient numeracy capabilities to process facts and figures.

The element of negotiation in the role means talents in networking and deal-brokering are advantageous, as well as the ability to make important decisions under pressure.

As industrial buyers frequently liaise with suppliers and other business contacts, a "people person" would be ideally suited for the role.

Relevant work experience can help candidates to secure jobs and progress within a company.

Standard office hours are the norm for jobs in purchasing and procurement – however willingness to work longer hours when the business requires it may be expected.

International firms in particular need to work around the time zones of different clients.

Procurement is a fast-paced, exciting industry, with opportunities to go self-employed once industrial buyers have gained experience and sufficient contracts to generate work.

Jobs can be often London-centric, particularly for employment opportunities in the head offices of large firms.

The high-profile nature of the role requires a professional appearance, as well as willingness to adapt to client needs and develop business relationships.

A job as an industrial buyer can be fast-paced and exciting, and is an ideal choice for those who are confident in meeting new people, developing professional relationships and negotiating deals.

More information on a career as an industrial buyer can be found on the Prospects website. 

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply also provides valuable industry information. 

 

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