Next PLC

Category Buyer

Next PLC
Leicester or Doncaster
Competitive salary + benefits
25 Jan 2022
25 Feb 2022
Approved employers
Approved employer
Contract type
Full time
Experience level
Qualified accountant

At Next, not only are we one of the UK’s largest fashion retailers, but we’re also one of the largest listed companies. Selling our own NEXT brand as well as hundreds of world-famous brands, in the UK and worldwide. What’s more, we’re growing. Fast. And it’s the kind of growth and investment that is exciting for everyone in our business.

Specifically, you can join ourFinance Operations – Commercial Services team. For us, it’s all about supplying our business with the very best of everything – for the very best prices. From dealing with hundreds of suppliers around the world, to sourcing and sorting the packaging needed to ship over 100 million parcels to our customers each year, we ensure everything is always in the right place, at the right time. It’s a place for those with passion for supporting others, and a desire to deliver the highest standard of service.

About the role

As a Category Buyer at Next you will be responsible for buying services includingCatering, Waste management & Temporary Labour. The category spend is £32m, with 40 key suppliers and therefore we are looking for someone with some experience of working in a similar role at a similar level.

You'll need to be able to work with others effectively, have excellent influencing and communication skills and be confident and personable.

This role can be based at our Head Office in Leicestershire or at our Warehouse near Doncaster. The role will be 2 days working from home and then 3 days on site with some flexibility to travel between sites when needed.

This role comes with a company car.


Supplier Sourcing

  • Identify and recommend potential future suppliers
  • Create internal & external ‘network’ to ensure ‘best practice suppliers’ are sourced and selected.

RFP (Request for proposal) Preparation
  • Prepare an assessment of current supplier/product/service performance, price, and outstanding issues to be reviewed with Finance Manager
  • Prepare tender documents to include all headings as per issued Standard Tender Practice Guide e.g. volumes, Disaster Recovery, specification, account management, contract heads of terms.

Supplier Appraisal

  • Prepare for each selected supplier a financial and commercial appraisal, including supplier site/factory visits where appropriate.
  • Obtain initial ‘ball park prices’ as part of the commercial appraisal.
  • Undertake second stage negotiation to move forward from the initial ‘ball park’ prices utilizing eSourcing online tool.

Contracts/Service Level Agreements (SLAs)/KPIs

  • Prepare formal contract and SLA in conjunction with legal team to ensure legality & ‘correctness’.
  • Establish detailed KPIs and associated penalties for non-compliance

Supplier Management & Performance
  • Formally measure Supplier performance against SLA & KPIs.
  • Undertake operational reviews with Supplier as appropriate
  • Undertake strategic reviews supported by Finance manager
  • Complete standard, weighted average scorecards and rank suppliers. Discuss the scorecard and scoring direct with suppliers.
  • Monitor and review accuracy, appropriateness & timely manner of MI
  • Ensure Vendor Management at administrative and operational level.
  • Ensure Suppliers are implementing best practices.
  • Be up to date on industry/product developments through all media sources.

Internal Account Management
  • Regularly meet with all relevant internal parties to ensure that any issues are being identified and acted upon.
  • Manage expectations with respect to service or product specification, price and delivery timescales.
  • Act as a conduit between users and suppliers to facilitate that appropriate action is taken on non-conformance issues (both product performance and service).
  • Facilitate attendance of appropriate internal parties at Supplier monthly reviews
  • Regular visits to warehouses /branches/ suppliers to obtain feedback on product/services/market developments.

Service/Product Development & Spend Analysis
  • Be up to date on market developments, new services, processes and ensure these are offered for consideration by relevant parties.
  • Undertake Competitor analysis on all category products/services and feedback to the wider business where appropriate.

Management Information/Financial Interface
  • Take responsibility of ensuring that the analyst has the latest information available for services & goods carried out by suppliers
  • Ensure purchase orders are raised accurately, pre-approve all orders and manage authorisers on a timely basis.
  • Update NPPG in a timely manner of price, product or supplier change.
  • Check and code invoices as required
  • Responsible for clearing match exceptions with Analyst in line with supplier payment terms & proactively review reason codes and route causes to prevent future failures.
  • Assist Finance with queries relating to goods or services supplied by department.
  • Review offbook stock figures, taking any required action in line with month end timescales
  • Support finance during budget process with spend information for goods or services purchased

Specific to category , for example;

  • Manage contractual requirements of new requirements and extensions to current agreements.
  • Work with warehouse management teams to budget catering requirements.
  • As part of monthend cross check billing information to ensure compliance

Health & Safety

  • Ensure all suppliers comply with technical / legal requirements – safety standards.
  • Ensure any product that requires Health & Safety sign off is documented


About you:
  • Experience of working in a similar role at a similar level
  • Strong Analytical skills
  • Confident communicator at all levels with the abiulity to influence and negotiate
  • Work on own initiative, accurately and efficiently
  • Excellent at Team Working
  • Excellent time management skills
  • Ability to demonstrate strong Planning & Organising skills
  • Good financial understanding


  • Bonus Scheme
  • Pension Scheme
  • ShareSave Scheme
  • Life Assurance
  • Staff Discount
  • On-site Nursery

About Next

You know Next, but did you know we’re a FTSE-100 retail company employing over 43,000 people across the UK and Ireland. We’re the UK’s 2nd largest fashion retailer and for Kidswear we’re the market leader. At the last count we have over 540 stores, plus the Next Online and it’s now possible to buy on-line from over 70 countries around the world! So we’ve gone global!

For further information, and to apply, please visit our website via the “Apply” button below.

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