How do I Become an Industrial Buyer?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 05 July 2019
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Industrial buyers make important purchasing decisions at manufacturing plants, factories and large corporations. They identify the need for new equipment and supplies, determine if there is room in the budget for purchases, and make deals with suppliers. There are no set education or training requirements to become an industrial buyer, but most professionals hold bachelor's degrees or higher and have several years of experience working within particular industries. Regardless of the work setting, it is essential for a person who wants to become an industrial buyer to develop excellent computer and communication skills.

A college degree in business administration or finance can be very influential in helping an individual become an industrial buyer. In school, an undergraduate has the opportunity to take advanced courses in microeconomics, accounting, business law, and management. Among other important aspects of business, a student can learn how companies go about handling their finances and purchases. Computer science classes help a student master common software applications used in business, such as word processing and spreadsheet programs. In addition, an individual can develop strong communication skills in writing and public speaking classes.


Work experience is typically necessary before a person can become an industrial buyer in most settings. Many factories, engineering firms, and manufacturing plants employ very particular equipment and terminology, so it is important for a prospective buyer to learn as much as possible about the business. In fact, company owners are often wary about hiring buyers who are unfamiliar with to the inner workings of their factories. Instead, they choose to promote internal employees to purchasing positions after they have worked for several years with the unique equipment and systems. An industrial buyer must be able to make smart purchasing decisions by reviewing maintenance records, speaking with laborers, and personally inspecting existing equipment.

Many national organizations offer voluntary certification courses and exams that can help a person become an industrial buyer. Associations such as the American Purchasing Society and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply in the United Kingdom provide credentials to workers who complete distance learning classes and pass detailed written examinations. Certification is not always required, but it can significantly improve a person's chances of getting a job offer.

New industrial buyers typically spend several months or even years working as assistants to experienced professionals. They learn about specific duties and begin to build strong relationships with suppliers. With experience, a buyer is gradually given more responsibilities and allowed to handle larger and larger purchases.



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