An associate buyer is part of the supply chain and logistics department. Their primary responsibility is to purchase a large variety of products and services for the organization, achieving the highest quality at the lowest pricing. An associate buyer is responsible for negotiating deals with suppliers, as well as identifying cost-reduction opportunities, communicating them to management, and working with suppliers to realize those savings. The day-to-day responsibilities of an associate buyer also include analyzing inventory levels and upcoming requirements, choosing suppliers, placing and confirming orders, expediting orders, and ensuring that all orders arrive in a timely manner. Additionally, associate buyers are responsible for resolving past-due invoices, correcting price discrepancies, and handling non-conforming materials and returns to suppliers. They may also be responsible for creating and tracking supplier and material performance metrics and reporting on these metrics monthly.
Associate buyers are employed within many industries, including the manufacturing, construction, medical, retail, and education industries.
This position is usually full time during regular business hours, although overtime may occasionally be required. Associate buyers work with engineers, project managers, sales representatives, production workers, accounting and finance employees, executive management, and administrative workers. They also communicate frequently with outside suppliers. An associate buyer usually reports to a purchasing, supply chain, or operations manager. Some travel to supplier locations is usually required.
Associate buyer positions typically require a bachelor’s degree and three to five years of previous procurement experience. Excellent organizational and multitasking skills are a must. Familiarity with materials requirement planning (MRP) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems is strongly preferred. Excellent interpersonal skills and communication skills are required, as is proficiency with basic computer software such as the Microsoft Office suite.