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10/22/2010

Purchasing – the ultimate discipline

The executive floor is responsible for purchasing. That statement from many trading companies not only shows the priority attributed to purchasing. But it also shows that there is a person handling purchases who is frequently unable to give it the necessary time or energy because that person also has to manage an entire company as well.

 
 

Personnel analysis
Accordingly, major trading groups have their own buyer whose daily business is to permanently observe the market, coordinate activities with sellers, and open up new purchasing sources. But where do you find such staff? Ideally, buyers are recruited from a company's rank and file.

A topical book titled "Der strategische Faktor Personal im Einkauf" [The strategic factor of personnel in purchasing], published at Wiley-VCH, written by Gerd Kerkhoff and Stephan Penning, describes how buying talents are obtained and qualified. Actually, the book focuses on buyers from other sectors of the industry but it can be gathered that, across the industry, there often does not exist any clear image or profile of an industrial buyer in a company. According to the authors, buyers must bring in not only the willingness to learn, also performance motivation and analytical skills, as well as flexibility and emotional stability. The last mentioned factor would be especially important for quickly overcoming failures which any buyer may experience. Additional competences are considered leadership motivation, sociability and an extrovert nature, as well as team orientation. Finally, good networking within the industrial sector will round up the relevant potential factors for an industrial buyer.

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