There are many aspects that go into being a buyer; from evaluating different suppliers, to negotiating contracts, to understanding supply chain management. Needless to say, you’ve got quite a bit on your plate to manage. Below are some tips to help make your job easier, and help you execute the purchasing strategies that will make your company more profitable.

  • Ask Questions:  You are not expected to be an expert on the products that you are purchasing. That responsibility falls on your vendor.  Ask questions, listen and learn.
  • Anticipate Needs.   Always buy earlier than you are expecting to need the product. If history is available, use it. Example:  If you buy gloves for employees to wear and it seems that in August and October you always run out, buy a few extra sets each month.  Doing this prevents the bottom line from being hit super hard. It’s likely that your business can absorb 3-4 extra boxes a month, verses supplies running out.
  • Just Change Vendors.   This is not as easy as the boss thinks.  However, you can develop a list of suppliers that are not up to par and begin searching for new suppliers.   Use the 80-20 rule; 80% of your problems come from 20% of your suppliers.  As you do your research, you may find that suppliers who are wonderful to work with and can help you shine as a buyer.
  • You Need to Initiate Contact.  Don’t let the salesperson sell you.   Research companies that seem to have capabilities you need.  Contact them with specific questions.  You can rule them out quickly, if you do your homework.
  • Ask for the Price Break Point.  For example, if you need 100 widgets and they are $1.00 each, ask what happens to the price if  you were to purchase 200 widgets? You may be  able to get the same product for $0.50 each.  This results in the same dollar amount spent, but you receive more product.  This means less time spent ordering, etc.
  • Never Stop Learning.  There are so many associations and classes to help you today.  Take time to attend at least one every year.  Sometimes opening up to education opens a world you knew nothing about.