purchasing manager

As the world becomes more globalized and supply chains grow in complexity, corporate roles have evolved and changed. The purchasing manager is one such role that has grown in importance as the global business landscape has transformed.

Also known as a buying manager or a purchasing director, the purchase manager heads a department responsible for procuring products and services for use or resale by their organization.

It’s far more complex than simply making purchases in the name of the company. By understanding the role of purchasing management, you can streamline your company while ensuring the highest quality in purchased goods and services.

What Does a Purchasing Manager Do?

Understanding the precise nature of purchase management and supply chain purchasing enables your company to define the role and customize your purchase management system for maximum efficiency.

So, what is a purchasing manager?

The responsibilities of the purchase manager depend on the industry and the company. Whether purchasing raw materials for manufacturing or working with manufacturers to secure finished goods, their duties can be many and varied.

A huge part of the role involves managing teams of other professionals in supply chain purchasing and procurement.


When asking, “What is purchasing management?” you need to think about what the needs of your organization are and the skilled professionals at its disposal.

The duties of the purchasing manager can include but are not limited to:

  • Determining order frequency.
  • Evaluating different suppliers.
  • Defining shipping requirements.
  • Ensuring purchases meet the criteria of the company.
  • Negotiating contracts.
  • Discussing and defining prioritized criteria.

Purchasing management also involves significant amounts of delegation and oversight. These professionals are required to manage multiple ongoing projects at once.

Differences Between Companies

This role is extremely broad, and the buying manager must be comfortable pivoting to best meet the company’s needs.

Although the responsibilities of such a professional will differ depending on the industry and the business, studies have shown that most managers will approach their roles using a similar six or seven-step sourcing process.

Purchasing Manager vs. Supply Chain Manager

purchasing manager warehouse

These terms are often used interchangeably. In smaller companies, it’s not uncommon for the same person to hold both titles. However, although many of their responsibilities overlap, there is a difference between the two.

Unlike a purchase manager, a supply chain manager will hold responsibilities that cover the entire supply chain.

Supply chain managers deal with both inbound orders and the outbound flow of goods and services. These professionals must manage the entire inbound and outbound supply chain while driving cost savings and reducing risk.

In other words, this is a management role that takes a higher-level view than that of a manager responsible for purchasing alone.

However, whatever the role, both of these managers will be expected to regularly collaborate on overall supply chain issues.

What Skills and Experience Does a Purchasing Manager Need?

Despite the fact the role changes depending on the industry, employers expect potential candidates to possess certain skills and qualifications.

Above all, most companies prefer their managers to have experience within their industry already. This is why it’s not uncommon for these roles to be filled via internal promotion.

Skill Sets

Financial management is considered to be the most highly prized skill in this field. Purchasing managers must be able to work within a set budget to achieve the company’s goals.

Other soft skills required include:

  • Strong communication skills.
  • Great management skills.
  • Excellent research skills.
  • Interpersonal skills.

As mentioned above, most employers prefer their managers to already have an intimate knowledge of the industry they work in.


Most employers expect a Bachelor’s degree in business, finance, or economics. Employers also prefer candidates to hold specific supply chain certifications. When promoting internally, it’s not uncommon for employers to train chosen candidates via external training programs.

How to Become a Purchasing Manager

Assuming you already have the required educational qualifications, here’s what you need to know about becoming a purchase manager.

Step One – Get the experience. Most managers possess a minimum of five years’ worth of experience as an agent or buyer.

Step Two – Be aware that you may need to return to school in order to be eligible for top-level positions. Employers are increasingly asking for candidates to possess a master’s level qualification.

Step Three – Obtain certifications in supply chain management. There are several recognized qualifications, including CPSM, CPPM, CPP, CSCP, and SPSM. Some of these require regular renewal through additional classes and examinations.

Since so many employers prefer to promote internally, a track record of working within your company could mean that your employer is willing to pay for additional training for this role.

However, it should be mentioned that there’s no one path to securing this position.


Purchasing management is an essential function of any company. This is a highly specialized role with huge amounts of responsibility attached to it.

Make managing purchases at your company simpler by contacting CBX Software about our high-level purchase management system as well as our product lifecycle management tool. Learn more about digitizing your company and streamlining your work processes today.

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay current on the latest supply chain news, best practices, and product innovations.


Copyright © 2023 Powered by TradeBeyond
%d bloggers like this: