Purchasing Manager Spotlight

Purchasing Managers are the shrewd shoppers of the oil and gas world. Whether they’re spending millions of dollars on a new facility or soliciting contracts for maintenance, their success is measured on their ability to save money and avoid costs.

What a typical day looks like:

Purchasing Managers do the daily purchasing of goods and services, called “procurement.” They cut purchase orders, negotiate contracts and work closely with Accounts Payable to ensure processes and systems are seamless.

But those daily purchases can’t happen without long-term planning. Purchasing Manager looks ahead and puts out requests for proposals, negotiates costs with suppliers and figures out the best way to get materials from the supplier to the facility in a way that limits costs. It’s a fast-paced office environment that can require frequent travel.

The kinds of problems Purchasing Managers solve at work include:

One of the toughest questions a Purchasing Manager has to answer is: “Are we risking price erosion?” (Or, in simple terms: “Are we paying too much?”) To solve that problem, they’ll need to pull their team together to go through contracts and identify where the risks are and what contracts can be reviewed and renegotiated.

The nature of the job also changes with economic cycles. It might seem a bit easier during a downturn, when suppliers will often take the price you offer. But during a busy economy, prices will go up, making it hard to use a low price as the only indication of a good deal.

Skills used most on the job are:

Purchasing Managers work where hard analytical skills and soft interpersonal communication skills meet. They solve problems and direct the efforts of their Supply Chain team, all while coordinating with other departments including finance, legal, engineering, marketing and operations. Then again, no one ever said it would be easy: shrewd shoppers aren’t a dime a dozen.

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