I was confused myself when I first enter this field of professional -there are different job title descripting the same piece of work. The same question was not even able to be answered when I questioned this to the HR manager during one of the interview. Same phenomenon does not seem to appear in other field (except that people usually confused account manager with accounting manager, which are actually very different job!). Seem like an unfair game that the one placing PO has the right to enjoy more titles.
Not true. As a matter of fact, there are sub-groups classifying the buying professionals, all depends on their function. Let’s go though it one by one.
当采购的人可能会有同样的问题 ——不同的职位描述的其实都像在描述同一个工作。当年在我一次面试的时候向人力资源经理提问这个问题时没有得到解答。同样的现象在其他工种上似乎并没有出现 (除了人们通常混淆的客户经理account manager和会计经理 accounting manager,这实际上是非常不同的工作!)。这里我们科普一下他们大致上的分别.
The most common title in the buying camp,especially from US corporate, is sourcing. Most of the time sourcing do front line jobs like identifying newsuppliers, maintain existing supplier relationship. In smaller business they are also projectmanager when developing new product with suppliers (not meaning that they allobtain the right skill..). However,unless real small business, I seldom see them follow up regular purchase orderand delivery.
在购买领域最常见的名称,尤其是来自美国的公司。大部分的时间里sourcing做的是前线工作，比如寻找及确认新供应商,维护现有供应商关系。在较小的公司里他们有时也是产品閞发项目经理(这并不代表他们懂. 须知PROJECT MANAGER的工作可大可小)。然而,除非很小的蚊形公司,我很少会看到他们跟进采购订单和交付。
I laughed when I look into dictionary forthis word (and you can try). It is alight joke for this serious career. Nevertheless,logic is the same. Procurement focuseson searching and screen new source, and should only be that. I got a feeling that this title is morecommon in European business than American.
Similar to Sourcing, this is a commontitle. That is also very much used in HKbusiness (and that why it is the first impression for myself when I think ofthis kind of job!) However, purchasingmean more on the actual buying activity instead of just lookingfinding. When I see the title like this my feeling isthat their business is either very small with only few people take care thewhole supply management process, or large business that the one with the titleonly take care of ordering (supply chain job).
Commodity manager 商品经理
People carrying this title are very likelyfrom bigger company. Commodity managerusually focus on a processmaterial or two. A funny story I heard was that the decision from a commodity manager inMcDonald who manage the ketchup category could affect the global commodity priceof tomato. That might be an extremecase. However in one of my last companywhich is a major brass door lock manufacturer, the commodity manager needs tofollow the global brass market price closely in order to predict and recommendour cost forecast modeling. In somesmaller (still big!) business their commodity manager could be the one managingthe supplysource of one specific productbusiness line. Definition could be different, but idea issimilar.
Your favorite customer. Buyer is the one who actually place order toyou. Junior buyer focus ondocumentation, while senior buyer could do a lot more than that. In some business, buyer decides the ratio ofpurchase between a pre-definite 1st and 2nd source – which make buyer animportant role for suppliers. Even thesourcing manager approves you as a valid supplier, you could receive no or verylittle order if the buyer does not convinced. They have the inventory responsibility in hisher company.
你的最爱, 给你下订单的人。初级买家关注文件,而资深买家可以做的远不止这些。在一些公司里,买家决定着供货商之间的订单比率——所以供货商应该多多重视!! 即使采购经理批准你成为他的供应商, 入了AVL ,BUYER仍有权不多发给你订单.，我就亲身经历过了 – 我们在中国找的供货商, 美国的buyer只给了一点点单然后不用. 找了白找.
Some industries like fashion and giftmostly use the term “merchandiser”. Merchandiser requires combination of skills to make hisher job. They look up market trend and make decisionon what is good to put in their basket. Most case, they also face their customer directly and recommend whatthey believe good. Experiencemerchandiser is a strong asset to their company. Some businesses rely on their merchandisingskill and sense to make their living.
In general, how the title named varies frombusiness size, nature, industry and cultural of the country. I don’t think there is any strict rule. Knowing the story of title does not promiseyou in understanding your customer’s role. Instead, it offers you a good starting topic on the dinner table to knowmore your customer.