If you are an authorized buyer for your employer, what is your official title?

Assistant Buyer
Buyer or Senior Buyer
Purchasing Agent
Purchasing Manager or Procurement Manager
Director of Purchasing or Procurement
Supply Chain Manager
Vfice President
Other title or no title.

Influence Alternative Specifications

Date: 06/01/2022

The requester’s description of the product or service wanted may not be the best choice. Specifications may come from the engineering department or any employee authorized to request what is needed to do the job. The requesters may obtain the information they provide from the product previously used from advertisements, friends or other employees. Sometimes they even obtain the information from salespeople who are allowed to contact any employee inside your company.

The salesperson is sometimes motivated by a desire to help your organization get the right product for the job, but they are also motivated, not only to get a sale, but also to sell a product that can give their organization the most profit.

Users of the product may order and reorder the item for years without being aware that there is a better product or a less expensive product that will do the job.

For example, a company we know of ordered an expensive steel tool for many years before they discovered that that type of steel was not needed for their application. The substitute steel was less expensive and saved the company many thousands of dollars every year.

There are various ways that a buyer can explore alternative specifications. Trade associations for metal, paper, chemicals, and other products offer help by providing written specifications. The associations can refer you to experts in the field who will give you suggestions and ideas. These suggestions can be given to your in-house engineers or requesters. However, be aware that the employee asking for a certain brand or certain specification could have a vested interest in what he has been requesting.

A conscientious engineer will be glad to save the company money if you use tact and diplomacy to get him or her to change the usual specifications. Just give him credit for the improvement.

However, there is a warning. Make sure any change in specifications is carefully tested. Mare sure that any test is impartial using a double blind procedure.