What exactly does a Buyer do?
My main task is being responsible for buying goods that Aquaterra sells, or the equipment and parts that we need to help complete a Project.
My duties include Generation of quotation requests, Issue and progress Purchase Orders (ensure equipment is supplied to required time-scale), Liaison/ meeting attendance with internal customers, departments and suppliers. Also, source suppliers and materials, and Update and maintain the .purchasing system.
I assist with companywide procurement activities such as , driving Cost & Lead-time reduction, whilst ensuring comparative pricing is obtained, commercially favorable terms or AEL standard T&C’s prevail, supplier relationships are maintained and ensuring all purchases and requirements are dealt with in line with the Integrated Management System.
Drive Cost savings in the period, Lead-time reduction, Supplier performance; Support both Projects and Sales as appropriate with planning, preparing and controlling Supplier quotations and tender enquiries. And also participate in handover, project and design review meetings.
What qualifications do you need to have?
A levels/Standard Grades: Business Studies, English Language, Math’s or a HND/BTEC in Business.
Degree: Buyer, Engineering or Business Studies 2:2.
Apart from formal qualifications, what other skills or characteristics do you need?
You need to have good spoken and written communication skills, good math skills to help work with figures and budgets. The role entails analysing and assessing information and you need to be a good multitasker with good organisational skills. Accuracy and attention to detail is also important, as are negotiating and networking skills. You have to be able to work as part of a team but also independently. The main skill I believe you need to work in procurement is the ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines.
What sort of organization do you work for?
I currently work for an offshore Oil and Gas Engineering company based at its head office in Norwich, UK. The company has approximately 100 employees, with offices in Aberdeen, Cambridge and Malaysia. As a company we are constantly growing and there’s plenty of potential to develop a long term career here.
If this wasn’t your first job after your studies, what did you do in between?
My first job after my Degree was with an Aerospace Company as a Purchasing Assistant; this role helped get my foot on the Purchasing ladder and taught me the basics of procurement. After a few months of working hard for a team of 12 Buyers, I was offered the chance to interview for a Buyer Role; I achieved this position and became the Materials Buyer for various Aerospace Projects such as the A380. My next role came after I relocated to Norfolk, I gained a position as a Fabrications Buyer, purchasing for production and future cars. This role was varied and I gained a lot of knowledge but unfortunately the company made redundancies and I moved on. I then gained my position at Aquaterra Energy as Buyer, this role is very different to my previous positions as we don’t hold stock or have a production line. Having gained experienced in three different Manufacturing Industries I now have quite a strong CV and knowledge base for any future career opportunities.
Do you travel within the UK or overseas very much?
In previous companies I travelled quite a lot to visit suppliers, in my current position there is no requirement to do this. Most purchasing jobs do offer the opportunity to travel both in the UK and overseas.
Do you work a regular length day/week or are shifts involved?
I mainly work is 8.30-5.30shore, but in purchasing you have to be committed to working early and late, some suppliers are based in America and some are based in Malaysia for example, sometimes you need to be able to communicate with them during their working hours as well as your own.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy the constant variety of work, each day is always different. You can plan to do certain task at the start of each day but an urgent requirement can throw this off plan, I enjoy being busy and solving these problems. I get to work with most of the departments in the company so I get to see how each one works and this helps when discussing requirements with colleagues.
What advice or extra information do you wish you’d had before starting this career?
I would advise someone to be confident and assertive from the start, and always ask questions no matter how stupid they seem to you. I would also make sure you know the industry you are working in; and don’t always go for the job title, as you need to be happy within a company to succeed in your own career goals and personal life.
What position would you like to hold in five years’ time?
I’m going to be studying for my CIPS level 4 this year which I’m hoping will help progress my career to a more senior position in purchasing. At Aquaterra there is also the opportunity to work within Project Management which I can use my buying skills in, this may be an opportunity in the future I could take and help me branch out into a more Oil & Gas based career.