Strategic Buyer

Strategic Buyer jobs

Forward planning in procurement is hugely important, not least because there are so many factors that change as time goes by that are difficult to gauge with precision. Fluctuations in exchange rates and changes in import or export duties can affect companies, for example; or unusual weather patterns can scupper the best laid plans. There are other elements that are more predictable, however. Seasonal changes in supply certainly affect industries such as food and horticulture; and changes in demand, such as those created by summer holidays or Christmas are relatively more straightforward.

The strategic buyer will be in charge of creating a procurement profile over the long term, taking into account the known or expected changes but also allowing for variations that cannot be accurately predicted. Whether this will involve contingency planning or coming up with particular guarantees from suppliers will depend on the raw materials or other products being supplied, but the strategic buyer, looking at the big picture, should be able to maintain supply to his or her company unless something off the scale happens.

The strategic buyer could have a team of planners to help gather data, and there will necessarily be a good deal of contact with the suppliers to ensure supply through negotiation and contracting. As well as maintaining supply, the task will still be to keep costs to a minimum, just like any procurement role; however when long-term interests supersede short-terms ones, management will usually be wise to listen to the strategist.

The skills required

Excellent planning and analysis abilities will be the mainstay of the strategic buyer. This is a role aimed at minimising shocks to the company’s system caused by unexpected lack of supply or price hikes. A thorough understanding of the sector in which the position is vacant, including the seasonality of its suppliers, will be essential for this role. A very good grasp of risk management and an ability to gauge when potential risk is too great to overlook will also be required.

Meeting with suppliers and potential suppliers and negotiating deals will be a big part of the job, so excellent communication and interpersonal skills will be required, as well as an ability to be persuasive when driving a bargain that is best for the client. Experience in procurement at a high level will be useful.

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