Buying/ Procurement Careers

What Is A Procurement/ Buyer’s Role?

The role of a buyer is a key factor in the success of any food manufacturing company. As a buyer, your focus will be to source and purchase all the raw materials needed at a cost-effective price in order for the production to work and provide the best possible products within the agreed specifications.

You always need to be on the lookout for new upcoming trends and profitable, quality materials to stay ahead of business and industry rivals. You will also be in contact with the production team and make sure that they receive the materials on time to ensure that the team meets its deadlines for new products. Maximising cost and reducing waste will be key in this role to ensure the business makes a profit and does not lose out on any sales. 

Routes into a Buyer/ Procurement Role:

  • Any study or course surrounding Business would be helpful
  • High-level / higher-level apprenticeship 
  • Applying directly
  • University degree
  • Training with a professional body such as MDS

man surrounded by colleagues smiling

Skills and Knowledge

In buying and agronomy roles, the skills you will need can be broken down into soft and hard skills. Soft skills are more transferable skills, whereas hard skills focus more on technical ability. There are many kinds of soft and hard skills but we will break down the most common ones. 

Buying/ Procurement Soft Skills:

  • Coordination
  • Planning
  • Communication
  • Teamwork

Buying/Procurement Hard Skills: 

  • Business Management
  • Negotiation skills
  • Data analysis skills
  • Leadership
  • Strategic thinking
  • Relationship management

What Will The Person Do?

Working in a buying or procurement role, a large part of your daily tasks will be ensuring all materials are purchased on time and are bought at the best price available. You will also be responsible for negotiating with suppliers and developing long-term contractual agreements and liaising with planning and production teams for forecasting purposes. Coordinating deliveries and maintaining stock information will also be part of your role, to ensure production does not stall and insuring technical product support is available as required from suppliers.

You will be identifying new and alternative source materials to stay ahead of the competition, whilst making sure current stock is rotated effectively and efficiently. Managing a team of specialist buyers and multiple production lines may also be a core responsibility, dependent on your seniority and job role. Possessing budgeting skills will be important for any buying or procurement role, predicting prices accurately and keeping an eye on any price changes which may have an impact on a business. 

Career path and progression

There are a lot of career prospects for buying/procurement and you can be employed across a variety of areas. These include but are not limited to:

  • Head of Agronomy
  • Business Development Agronomist 
  • Research Organisations
  • Government Departments 
  • Technical Agronomist 
  • Commercial Manager