Brian Kazungu, 08/05/2023
Every business, whether an SME or a large corporation, in one way or the other, at least, buys products from individuals or from other businesses, either for resale or for use in the manufacture or production of certain goods and services.
The person who is responsible for buying these goods is actually doing the buying or purchasing function whether we refer to him/her as a buyer or not.
Regardless of having the buyer’s title or not, anyone in charge of the buying tasks has the capacity to actually build or destroy the business since his/her decisions oftentimes determine the quality and even the quantity of products that you trade in.
In fact, buying or purchasing takes place in every business regardless of its size and as mentioned before, whether you refer to the person who carries that task as a buyer or not.
Whether you undertake these tasks on your own or you have assigned somebody to be specifically in charge of the buying activities of your institution, you must understand the importance and relevance of this role to your organisation.
This is particularly because you or your assigned buyer will often interact with qualified and adequately remunerated marketing personnel from the companies that you trade with.
Those companies which you buy from, often times do employ the services of very competent sales representatives or makes use of effective marketing techniques that enable them to exponentially grow (expand) and be profitable.
Through their marketing machinery, they will devise mechanisms that will make it possible to make their product very appealing and will do all what it takes for them to convince their customers especially you or your buyer to accept and buy the product as presented.
Therefore, as a buyer, in the best interests of your business, you should be able to assess the relevance, suitability and cost of any product in line with your own enterprise before purchasing whatever is being offered to you by any supplier.
Failure to do this will result in your company acquiring goods and services that are not really necessary or not good for the task at hand since you will end up stocking wrong products or buying products in wrong quantities.
Sometimes, you will also end up buying the same product at relatively higher prices compared to what others are getting it at because of poor communication or even absence of negotiation/bargaining skills.
This unfortunately will subsequently force your selling prices to be comparatively higher than that of others and thus affect your turnover and profitability since people are also mostly cost conscious in their use of money.
I have given you these details so that you can understand the importance of the buying department to your organisation and the impact that it has on the wellbeing of the whole business.
Although education and remuneration are all likely to have a serious effect and impact on the efficiency and profitability of the business, they tend to be independently unique in the way they affect your commercial activities.
Any person who is responsible for the buying function in your business must at least have a general understanding of business dynamics.
There are quite a number of courses that are done by people who end up being responsible for the buying, purchasing or procurement activities in a given entity.
Some would go for Purchasing and Supply, Procurement and Logistics while others can do Stores Management and Stock Control etc.
Whichever course taken, must ensure that buyers are properly equipped to professionally interact with suppliers and the qualified marketers from the companies that they buy from.
If you are buying on your own, you must also make sure that you start to read various publications, including magazines that cover issues to do with buying.
You can also start to interact with college lecturers and students in that field.
This is because regardless of whether you are doing the buying on your own or you engage the services of another individual, buying remains a critical component that determines the success or failure of your institution.
As such, those who engage in it must have the relevant knowledge about this field in order for them to make informed decisions in their interaction with the various relevant stakeholders.
When the buyer’s duties are coupled with good company systems and policies, the buying department becomes the sieve that filters the quality and quantity of products that a business buys for either use or subsequent resale.
Adpted from the book – The SME Buyers’ Guide written by Brian Kazungu