Next PLC

Category Buyer

Next PLC
Pontefract, West Yorkshire, UK
Competitive salary + benefits
11 May 2022
25 May 2022
Approved employers
Approved employer
Contract type
Full time
Experience level
Qualified accountant
Job Description

We are looking for a Category Buyer to join our fantastic Commercial Services team in Finance!

In our Finance Operations – Commercial Services team, 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.

In this role as a Category Buyer you will be supporting our Services teams so you will be responsible for buying services including Catering, 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 and with excellent communication skills.

This role can be based at our Warehouse site near Doncaster or Head Office in Leicestershire if preferred. However, the role will be 2-3 days on site at our Distribution Centre in Elmsall near Doncaster and the remaining time can be at Head Office or remote with some travel required.

This role comes with a company car.

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.


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.


  • 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 ability 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
About Us
You know Next, but did you know we’re a FTSE-100 retail company employing over 35,000 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 500 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!

About some of our Benefits
  • ​25% off a huge selection of Next, Lipsy & Victoria's Secret products
  • Company performance based bonus
  • Next private pension
  • Sharesave scheme
  • On-site Nursery available; OFSTED outstanding in all areas
  • 10% off most partner brands & up to 15% off Branded Beauty
  • Early VIP access to sale stock
  • Access to fantastic discounts at our Staff Shops
  • Subsidised restaurant, coffee shop and juice bar
  • Access a 24/7 digital GP and other free health and wellbeing services
  • Free on-site parking
Our aim is to support all applicants during the application process and to provide reasonable adjustments when ​​necessary and requested. If you would like to request support with your application due to any health condition, feel free to get in touch with us by calling us on 0116 284 6858 and leave a voicemail.
For further information, and to apply, please visit our website via the “Apply” button below.

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