Industrial buyers are professionals who are empowered to make purchase decisions on behalf of a company, non-profit association, or government agency that have to do with securing raw materials, finished goods, or services that are helpful in the ongoing operation of the organization. The goal of the buyer is to locate quality goods and services and negotiate the best possible price for those products. Typically, an industrial buyer is also involved in the process of establishing contracts with suppliers and making use of those contracts in a manner that is in the best interests of the company, agency, or association.
An industrial buyer may function as the sole buyer for an entity or be part of a team of buyers that manage the acquisition process for larger corporations. When a business or other entity employs multiple buyers, it is not unusual for each one to focus on finding the best deals for specific classes or types of products. For example, one buyer may concentrate on business products like phone and Internet services, as well as other telecommunication products such as audio teleconferencing and web conferencing solutions. A different buyer may be charged with the responsibility of managing the purchase of raw materials needed to manufacture goods for sale, while a third is charged with handing purchases of equipment and components that are used in the manufacturing process.
In some companies, an industrial buyer works closely with others within the entity to create workable operating budgets. As part of this contribution, the buyer is often called upon to help forecast the demand for products offered by the entity, as well as shifts in prices for the goods and services needed to keep the entity fully functional. This often involves conducting research into the marketplace, looking for indicators of upcoming changes that the entity must deal with in order to remain successful.
The industrial buyer often serves as the liaison between the entity and its suppliers. Depending on the operational structure, the buyer may also provide the means of communication between department heads and the vendors approved by the entity’s purchasing department. On rare occasions, the buyer may be called upon to meet with potential customers as part of the sales process, usually to help educate the customer on how quality products are selected and how that selection benefits the customer.
In terms of experience and education, it is not unusual for an industrial buyer to hold an advanced degree in some aspect of business or finance. Many companies employ buyers with a proven track record of knowing how to negotiate with suppliers, and know how to read market conditions accurately. In situations where the buyer may be called upon to manage a team of buyers, the individual will usually have some educational credentials associated with business management.