Our employee Marius Zaddach reports on his daily work as a buyer.
The main function of purchasing is to supply our company with materials, services, operating and working materials as well as licenses and data from external sources (markets). The required goods and services must be provided in the required type, quantity and quality at the right time, in the right place and at the lowest possible cost.
The job of a purchaser is very diversified. Everyday work includes both, strategic and operational activities. The most important strategic task is the initiation and shaping of national and international business relationships with suppliers. It begins with the identification of potential suppliers and the initial contact. The purchaser must then coordinate the supplier selection process across departments. This includes concluding non-disclosure agreements, organizing technical discussions and supplier visits, preparing the selection decision as well as price and contract negotiations. Existing supplier relationships must be checked regularly and maintained. This includes creating vendor evaluations and feedback meetings (for example, annual meetings) with the vendors. Workaday operational tasks include obtaining and evaluating quotations, setting up and monitoring quantity contracts, and processing and monitoring purchase orders (this includes the systematic tracking of order confirmations and delivery dates, invoice verification and release, master data maintenance, and complaints processing). It is very important to constantly optimize these operational activities (for example, by using modern purchasing tools) to use the time gained for strategic tasks.
The main reason for choosing this profession is my passion for the good "deal". In other words, I particularly enjoy negotiating with suppliers. The theoretical knowledge about "negotiating" is only one element. The practical experience that I gain each day as a buyer is crucial.
Furthermore, I appreciate the contact with people in my job as a buyer, whether it be in contact with other colleagues or suppliers, as this allows you to get in touch with new characters and cultures. As a buyer, I have a relatively high number of interfaces with other company departments and of course with suppliers. The cross-departmental coordination work - for example, in the context of a supplier selection process - is always very interesting because it expands my view of "the big picture". Also, there are different roles I have to "step into". To one colleague I am a consultant, to another a service provider. Regarding the supplier markets, I am the objective customer who has to evaluate the alternatives and make an economically rational decision (in terms of the "total cost of ownership" concept).
After graduating from secondary school, I decided to train as a bank clerk at the “Sparkasse” bank, which enabled me to gain initial experience in customer service and customer advisory services. Afterward, I went back to school to obtain my vocational diploma and then started my studies in business administration. However, a completed degree or commercial training by itself is not sufficient to be able to work as a buyer. Very important are a self-confident appearance, negotiating skills and a structured and proactive way of working. Knowledge of English is necessary. Other foreign languages are advantageous. The common MS-Office applications and the ERP system are part of my daily work tools. Willingness to travel (internationally) must be present, although in my case travel activity is rather low.
During my job search, I became aware of SCHWIND through job advertisements on the Internet. Since then, the company has always been a typical example of a so-called "hidden champion" to me. After my professional course was set in the purchasing area, I joined the company in 2019. The special requirements of medical technology were an additional incentive. They increase the demands on purchasing and make the tasks even more exciting. The combination of the company's steady growth and its family character have been particularly appealing to me. For example, I was on a first-name basis with most of my colleagues right from the start, and this was mostly independent of the position.
I believe that a good buyer needs a certain "hunting instinct". It is not sufficient to simply process the incoming transactions. Proactive and self-initiated action is required to cover the strategic and operative tasks. In a position with interfaces to many different departments, confrontations should not be perceived as a hassle, diplomatic skills are beneficial.