BellWether Blog


Is a Purchasing Manager, Agent and Buyer the same thing?

Purchasing manager, agents and buyers are not the same because their roles as well as the responsibilities are different from one another. Let us have a look at these different profiles and find out more about them. This is not an exhaustive or comprehensive study of these positions, but a general overview of these positions.

Purchasing managers   

Purchasing managers are very important for an organization and their job duties consist of much more than simply submitting an order for ink refills and paper for the copier. In many businesses they have to utilize data history to forecast the demand of the different products and make sure that its supply is maintained and readily available to various departments within the company. They must also keep an eye on the latest market trends and employ various strategies to acquire the right products, supplies, and services in the most economical and efficient way possible. The purchasing manager has to deal with the suppliers, vendors and manufacturers to coordinate with them. They may even have some interaction and build relationships with the company’s end users and customers to help gain knowledge to excel in their position. The managers are responsible for bidding, processing payments, preparing reports, attending meetings, supervision, and negotiating. With the right combination of education, experience, and certifications, the options for professional and career growth are tremendous.

Purchasing agents

The roles and responsibilities of a purchasing agent are quite different from that of a purchasing manager. The agents need to handle the work related to the process of the payment, forwarding the receipts and ensuring that the end customers are satisfied. They prepare the list of inventory items, verify it and schedule the delivery as well. They maintain record of all the purchases made by the customers and work with the suppliers to keep a continuous flow of the stock. In order to become a purchasing agent you need to be knowledgeable and familiar with computers. There is also room for grown and upward mobility in this position as well.


The job profile of a buyer may not be as broad as a purchasing manager or agent, but it is still challenging. The buyer needs to look for the best suppliers who can provide them the right products. In many ways, it is more specialized and focused on one main task as opposed to the variety of responsibilities outlined by a purchasing manager. They need to schedule meetings with the suppliers, stay up-to-date with the latest trends and constantly be on the search for the best selection of products. All this is possible only when you have knowledge and that is why the individuals must always be working to educate and grow. This continual effort to better themselves will increase their chances of becoming a successful buyer as well. When it comes to the salary, the starting salary may be lower than the others but the experience required to enter the field are not as extensive and this will help propel you to other buyer positions or other positions within the purchasing industry.


February 4, 2014
BY Bellwether

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