Wholesale trade, manufacturing, retail and other types of businesses hire skilled purchasing managers to buy goods and services needed to advance their objectives. These professionals are expected to procure high quality products at the best possible cost. The path to a purchasing manager career can begin by enrolling in a bachelor’s degree program in business administration.
According to national data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2011, employment for purchasing managers is projected to grow steadily through 2018. A growing job rate may not guarantee employment in the industry. Prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research regarding actual job growth rates, which vary according to location, education and experience.
To fulfill their primary duty of procuring durable and nondurable goods and services for their companies, a purchasing manager will gather and analyze data, study sales and inventory records, identify suppliers, and stay on top of factors affecting supply and demand to forecast current and future costs of needed products and materials. Purchasing managers may specialize in certain industries or segments of the market, and typically handle more complicated purchases.
Locating vendors is another important activity for purchasing managers, particularly when problems occur with existing suppliers. They may search for suppliers online, through networking or established contacts. Once potential suppliers are identified, purchasing managers evaluate and interview them to determine quality, price, reliability, and delivery terms, and make decisions to ensure that needed supplies arrive in time and at a price that supports the organization’s objectives.
Additional purchasing manager job duties may include representing the company during contract negotiations, formulating policies related to the purchase of goods and services, and directing and coordinating activities of the purchasing department staff. They often prepare and process purchase orders and requisition forms, develop procedures regarding contract management, and maintain records of goods and services ordered and received.
Developing accurate specifications for equipment, product and materials needs is another vital activity of purchasing managers. They frequently analyze global markets and economies to assess present and future availability of needed goods and services, and take necessary strategic steps to ensure a constant supply.
Purchasing managers typically work 40-hour weeks in office environments. Depending on the industry and employer, overtime could be required. Travel to suppliers, manufacturing facilities or satellite locations may also be required.
According to a 2010 national survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor, the average annual salary for purchasing managers was $100,600, while the middle 50% earned between $71,600 and $122,760. The lowest 10% earned approximately $55,040, while those in the highest 10% bracket brought in around $149,920 per year. Because salary potential may vary depending on location, education and experience, prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research to determine actual earning potential.
Most purchasing manager positions, especially with larger firms, require a bachelor’s degree in business, accounting, economics or a related field. Some employers may prefer candidates with advanced degrees, such as an MBA, or work experience, which can be obtained through summer employment or internships while pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
The first step on the path to a purchasing manager career can be enrolling in a bachelor’s degree program in business administration. Coursework typically includes finance for managers, business ethics, applied decision methods for business and strategic management.
Employers can be confident that individuals who have earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Business Administration degree are able to:
Some employers offer opportunities for continuing education. It may be possible to gain an entry-level position with a bachelor’s degree and use a tuition assistance program to earn a master’s degree.
With administrative and management knowledge, and skills such as critical thinking, persuasion, and sound decision making, you could find success in a career as a purchasing manager. This field requires the ability to resolve conflicts, negotiate, and communicate with a wide variety of people, as well. With these skills and the education you can gain by earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration, you could start toward a rewarding career as a purchasing manager.