What is a buyer's job at Rotarex within the Rotarex Group?
The buyer’s job consists of putting in place all the agreements with external contacts (suppliers) so that the supply of parts goes well. The buyer has to take into account the objectives of price, deadlines, quantity and quality.
There is a distinction between direct purchases, which are related to production, and indirect purchases, which are goods and services that the company needs to operate. Direct purchases or ‘life series’ are associated with BOMs (Bill of Materials) and represent 90% of Rotarex purchases.
Our production buyers work on existing products while our project buyers work on the development of new products/systems and/ or services. The project buyers take care of the procurement of components for products in the so-called “prototype phase” / “initial samples”. They deliver an established supply chain for the “life series” buyers by pre-selecting several suppliers.
Rotarex has more than 500 external suppliers, mainly European, and favors long-standing partnerships. There are also internal suppliers (within the Rotarex group) such as LUMEC or LUDEC.
What is the «typical profile» of a buyer?
A buyer in the industrial world should have technical skills and an interest in products. At Rotarex, the buyers have different profiles. They have studied purchasing, technical or business studies, engineering, or even foreign languages.
The buyer has to be able to supply the right quantities at the right time and not to create delays in production. It is important to anticipate the risks identified by production and always find acceptable compromises to move things forward.
What does a typical day of a buyer look like?
A buyer’s day is punctuated by a lot of internal and external communication. A person participates in weekly reviews to bring up key information that everyone can benefit from.
Between buyers, there are meetings every 15 days to identify synergies. Project buyers work in stages in their projects, with key stages such as establishing the BOM, requesting and registering all quotes, and pre-selecting suppliers in order to provide all the elements to the “serial life” buyers.
Composition and structure of the purchasing team
On the Lintgen site, there are 12 buyers. 2 buyers are only involved in projects and some of them are multi-taskers. A project buyer manages an average of 5 projects in parallel. The buyers are dedicated to each business unit but have a transversal vision. In order to promote cross BU synergies, there are also category buyers who deal with certain purchasing groups such as raw materials (brass, steel, etc.) or certain families of components.
There are 4 additional buyers at group level. One person in China (Rotarex Star) and one in France (Rotarex SMT) who report to the head of the purchasing department at headquarters. Two other buyers in Korea work independently.
The human skills necessary for any good buyer
A good buyer should know how to communicate and listen. He should be assertive and fact-oriented to negotiate contracts in the best way. He has to maintain good relations with his suppliers and know their limits in order not to reach a point of no return.
Moreover, a certain level of rigor is essential for the drafting of contracts. Finally, stress resistance and flexibility are necessary to face supply disruptions and quickly find alternative solutions.
The daily interactions of buyers
Buyers interact mainly with internal departments (PPS, R&D, quality, sales, project management) and external contacts (suppliers).
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