A purchase manager is in individual who is tasked with purchasing services and goods on behalf of a company or an organization. Purchasing managers are also sometimes referred to as buyers or purchasers in other industries. Retail buyers and wholesale buyers are individuals who purchase goods for the purpose of reselling them. A product purchasing agent who works within the farm and agriculture industry buys items like grain, feed and other products that are grown naturally in order to resell them or to use them for industry-specific purposes. Purchasing managers who work within larger corporations and companies are usually tasked with many highly complex purchases and may therefore manage a team of junior purchasing agents.
If a purchasing specialist works within the retail industry or the wholesale industry and focuses on the purchase of finished goods for the purpose of selling them, such a purchasing specialist may be referred to as a buyer or a merchandise manager. In both the retail industry and the wholesale industry, merchandise managers are tasked with overseeing distribution, inventory control, and management of buyers. Retail buyers purchase some types of products from wholesale companies and other types of products are purchased straight from the manufacturer of certain products that are purchased for resale. The decision often is decided by the difference in price.
Purchasing managers need to have the necessary skill set to be able to select products that have high consumer demand and that will be consistent in their profitability. Wholesale buyers many also purchase products straight from the companies that manufacture them. Doing so may provide lower prices for purchasing managers so that they can resell the products to various other companies and organizations to make a profit.
The various duties delegated to a specific purchasing manager many vary greatly. Job duties may include: tracking inventory, calculating sales, checking the sales activities of competitors, monitoring overall economic conditions and monitoring consumer behavior trends. Buyers need to be able to intelligently interpret trends in the industry and sales data so that they can keep an inventory of products that will sell and also avoid expensive markdowns. If a purchasing manager is working for a larger corporation they typically focus on just a few product lines. On the other hand, a buyer for a smaller retail business purchases a wide range of products that are sold in physical stores.
When a purchasing manager is working for a governmental agency or a manufacturing company they may have one or more of several titles, including director, purchasing agent, manager, buyer or contract specialist. The terminology varies greatly by industry. A contract manager within a governmental agency or a manufacturing company may also be referred to as a supply manager due to their responsibility for managing and negotiating various supply contracts.
One of the most important considerations is that buyers need to be entirely confident in the specific timing and delivery of all services and products. Specific deadlines, quality specifications and cost restraints for purchases are generally laid out within the initial purchasing agreement.