What buyers do

Travel the world, promote ethical trade, spend other people’s money. Here are the standard job types that can get you career satisfaction

Sustainability manager – “the angel of buying”

Works across the whole business and with suppliers, making sure that a company is acting responsibly and ethically regarding people, profit and the planet.

You might find yourself working on projects that ensure you pay a fair price for vegetables from developing countries, that working conditions in factories are fair and safe, that energy is used efficiently or that factories are not badly affecting the local environment and community.

Risk manager – “the analyser”

Works across the business and with suppliers to identify and prevent all sorts of risks having an impact on the company. Responsible for developing back-up plans to put in place if things go wrong as well as trying to prevent them going wrong in the first place.

You might find yourself trying to find out where a fault has occurred in a car that has resulted in a product recall and preventing it happening again, assessing whether your suppliers can cope with the amount of work you give them and if they are struggling financially

Category buyer – “the specialist”

Most organisations separate all the things they buy into different categories, and the buyers become specialists in a certain range of products or services, building up their knowledge and experience of what’s new in the market and what suppliers will best suit the organisation.

Supplier relationship manager – “the problem solver”

Key suppliers are like extensions of an organisation and managing the relationship is a very important role to ensure everyone is working together to achieve the best results.

Indirect buyer – “the juggler”

Not everything that companies buy is made into products that are sold to customers. An important part of purchasing is making sure that the factory is able to open its gates in the morning and that people can sit down at their desks and get on with their jobs. Without this nothing can be made and sold.

Interested in a career as a buyer? Here’s how to…