The following article discusses the career path of Director of Purchasing. Learn about how to become one, education requirements, job duties, traits and qualities, national salary outlook as well as top national employers of Director of Purchasings.
Directors of purchasing are responsible for overseeing all purchasing decisions in their company. They set a chain of command in place that is in charge of purchases and inventory in the organization. They also develop relationships with vendors to ensure that the best prices are obtained, while at the same time being responsible for delivery, contracts, and accountability.
These professionals work closely with all other departments within the organization to ensure that the right purchases are made. They manage inventory and plan for it to always have the right stock levels. They often have to travel, attending trade fairs and shows.
Other job duties of a director of purchasing include:
- Holding responsibility for the inventory, ensuring that purchases are made on time and the necessary goods are distributed appropriately
- Managing all staff in the purchasing department
- Holding administrative responsibility for purchasing paperwork, including orders, contracts, and invoices.
- Researching new vendors, set service level agreements, and negotiate contracts
Where We Work
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 520,400 purchasing managers, buyers, and purchasing agents in 2016. The largest employers of these professionals were:
- Manufacturing: 23%
- Wholesale trade: 15%
- Management of companies and enterprises: 10%
- Retail trade: 9%
- Federal government: 8%
How to Become
It is common for a director of purchasing to hold a master’s degree, although smaller organizations may accept a bachelor’s. Work experience is incredibly important.
A director of purchasing is almost always expected to hold a bachelor’s degree, although the size of the organization does play a role in this. The major of the degree should be in supply management, finance, or business. Work experience is very important, as it demonstrates that someone has gained on the job training.
A purchasing director may also obtain various forms of certification, although this is generally not a legal requirement. Appropriate certifications include:
- Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) offered by the American Purchasing Society
- Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) offered by APICS
- Senior Professional in Supply Chain Management (SPSM) offered by the Next Level Purchasing Association
- Certified Public Purchasing Officer (CPPO) offered by the Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC)
- Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) offered by the UPPCC
All certifications are valid for a limited time only and must therefore be renewed through further training and examinations. Organizations such as the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) and the National Institute of Government Purchasing (NIGP) offer training for these courses.
A director of purchasing will typically have at least five years’ working experience in a relevant area. Typically, these professionals grow into their role through internal promotions. Others are brought in externally, in which case, education weighs more heavily in recruitment.
Traits & Qualities
The most effective directors of purchasing have the following traits to some degree or other:
- Strong analytical skills
- Excellent decision making skills
- Very good mathematical skills
- Excellent negotiating skills
- Computer skills, particularly in relation to inventory control software
- Management and leadership skills to motivate employees across the board
- Financial skills, particularly focusing on budget management
- Strong communication skills, both verbal and written
The national average salary estimate for Director of Purchasing was $90,585. This number is estimated from over 158,124 employees, users past and present job advertisements from Indeed.com. This equates to an hourly salary of $47.18 and monthly of $7,549.
- Most Reported
Salary by State
The following section lists Director of Purchasing salaries in each state around the country. The figures are based on the total number of job postings through Indeed.com. For example, California had the largest quoted salary of $111,651 while Arizona had the smallest quoted salary of $74,884.
|Georgia||Minnesota||Pennsylvania|Top 20 National Employers
According to Indeed.com, the following states had employers looking to hire a Director of Purchasing. The quoted salary figure represents the average salary from all job postings by this employer.
|Employer Name||Location||Average Salary|
|The Judge Group||Tennessee||$162,021|
|New York City Department of Education||New York||$157,191|
|Material and Contract Services, LLC||California||$150,000|
|Material and Contract Services, Inc.||California||$150,000|
|Robert Half Finance & Accounting||Indiana||$146,473|
|Prince George’s County Public Schools||Maryland||$134,914|
|A manufacturer of forged steel wheels and axles for locomotives||Pennsylvania||$120,000|
|Homestyle Dining LLC||Texas||$115,000|
|The Forum Group||New York||$100,000|
|Hutchinson Consulting – Hospitality Recruiters||California||$94,042|
|Career Name||Average Salary|
|Director of Human Resources||$93,347|
|Director of Operations||$90,674|
|Director of Marketing||$90,048|