WHAT DOES THIS PERSON DO?
Finds the right suppliers
Buy stuff: sounds simple! However, a purchaser’s terms of reference go well beyond choosing goods and services. Purchasers ensure the company’s purchasing procedure is followed, and they oversee calls for tenders, negotiations, contracting, and management of purchase orders and contracts. They also ensure the sustainable performance of their allocated portfolios by preparing performance plans and progress plans for the company’s suppliers and service providers. Relentlessly aiming for the best quality/price ratio, purchasers play a key role for the company, as one of their primary concerns is to optimise production costs and inventories while ensuring a reliable supply of goods and services for the company.
Negotiates to reduce costs
Purchasers hunt for suppliers and service providers whose goods and services might be of interest. They gather information on the quality and price of merchandise and services, available volumes, turnaround times for delivery, and so forth. They also strive to obtain the most advantageous purchasing conditions possible. When faced with an intransigent supplier, a purchaser might change strategy and let the supplier know that there are other sources.
Knows the industry
In the mining industry, a purchaser’s role is as much about acquiring goods (consumables, equipment, parts, capital equipment, etc.) as about obtaining services (maintenance or production contracts, transportation, engineering, intellectual services). The goal is to support the functioning of the metallurgical complex.
What are the essential qualities?
Intuitive and attentive to detail, in balance
Purchasers are curious! They must always stay up-to-date on technical changes in products and markets. Methodological thoroughness is necessary for building and maintaining a useful set of reference documents. Purchasers also regularly consult specialised information providers to stay one step ahead of market changes and in step with the latest trends.
Copes well with stress
Purchasers, being the critical liaison between the metallurgical complex and its suppliers and service providers, must know how to make reasoned arguments, persuade, and excel as negotiators. With a strong sense of initiative and excellent interpersonal skills, purchasers are also assertive, know how to steer a conversation, and know how to listen. Resilient and motivated, the individuals in this profession can cope with stress better than anyone!
In the mining industry, both business types and engineering types might fit the purchaser profile. In fact, versatility is essential, as purchasers must know how to buy both services and goods. What is more, in an era of globalisation, proficiency in English is a must.
Beginning with a bac +3 or a bac +5, there are several paths and different levels for becoming a purchaser. However, modern companies prefer graduates of business schools and engineering schools or individuals with a master’s level professional diploma!
Bac +3 :
• Bachelor's degree (pro) with a major in purchasing.
• Diploma with a major in purchasing.
• Diploma from a general business school under a chamber of commerce and industry (CCI).
Bac +5 :
• Graduate bac +5.
• Diploma from higher business schools with competitive entrance exams, immediately after the bac (general) or, more often, after a preparatory class or even a parallel admission (with a bac +2, +3, +4 upon competition).
• Diploma from an engineering school, with a double major (for example, a business major).
• Master’s (pro) with specialisation in business and international trade, sales or management.
To round out these educational programs, future purchasers may take an additional year to earn a:
• Master’s (specialised) in purchasing at a major business school.
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