The better way to buy


    Winning with sales, suppliers and internal departments 

    A hefty contacts book is without a doubt important for any good buyer but the most important department to work closely with is sales.

    “You can have the best buying team in the world, but it’s imperative to have a good sales team and for them to work hand in hand,” says SERT-MST’s Chris Roberts.

    The business has undergone significant change, having downsized last year to reduce stockholding and overheads. “We’ve reduced our range from 5,000 SKUs to 3,000 and have lowered stockholding from £30m to £10m. Our focus is on the profitable lines,” says Roberts.

    This change in strategy means there is no room for error, and Roberts both buys and sells to ensure that what’s purchased is what customers are asking for. “If you don’t do a little selling then it’s critical to work closely with sales. I sit next to our sales director so we can speak regularly.”

    And don’t underestimate the importance of other internal departments, says Today’s Loughran. “Being a successful buyer is not just about your own skills – it’s about how strong your support network is,” she says. “If your assistant can’t take an accurate telephone message, that could be a missed sales ­opportunity.”


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