VP of Purchasing
Food Distribution
The Company

The company is confidential (located in Southeastern Michigan).

As the executive leadership of the organization looks to the future they recognize the need for additional team leaders. This is an entrepreneurial culture that focuses on leading by example, acting with a heightened sense of urgency, anticipating customer needs and treating customers, vendors, and employees with honesty and integrity.

The Challenge

To be the colleague, leader, and coach of the procurement team.  To hire, train, develop and hold accountable talented buyers and supporting team members as they purchase items for all 4 segments of the company.  To provide guidance and leadership in the development of new and better processes, procedures and technology as they leverage for growth.  To be the quarterback in strategic purchasing initiatives, problem resolution (internal and external), all with the underlying focus of delivering an amazing experience for their customers.  To be the relationship anchor with key strategic vendor partners, especially ‘exclusive take-all’ vendors.  Be the liaison in keeping communication collaborative between purchasing and sales.  And to continually drive goals and objectives that are unified with the company’s vision and sales initiatives.

Job Definition

Our client is looking for an experienced and innovative Vice President of Purchasing to play an integral part in helping to move the company forward.  This position will require an experienced “hands-on” purchasing and supply chain leader that can drive results in a fast-paced, short cycle and demanding environment. The position requires strong leadership abilities, excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work effectively with the cross-functional areas of the organization to achieve both short-term and long-term business results. This position requires a leader that can facilitate and drive results in a fast-paced and dynamically changing environment with minimal direction and oversight.  Working as an active member of the leadership team the successful candidate will be instrumental in unifying the corporation’s future strategic direction by making purchasing a competitive advantage for the company.  

This role reports to the VP/GM and is a member of the leadership team.


Summary of key responsibilities

This position will effectively lead all aspects of the purchasing & product category departments and functions, with responsibility to coordinate, plan and execute a successful supply chain management strategy by working in a supportive capacity with sales.


  • Coach and train the 13-member purchasing team to use a “sales approach” within purchasing and product categories; supporting exceptional vendor negotiations and selling value solutions both internally and externally to the company.
  • Support the activities of sales development and new product development sourcing.
  • Collaborate with other functions and the leadership team on strategic projects to attain financial goals through creative and forward-thinking ideas.


  • Responsible for all aspects of purchasing and inventory control of the organization.
  • Lead and support corporate oversight for purchases, within multiple segments and across several categories, and create a vision for the company as well as drive purchasing synergies to achieve cost savings on opportunistic buys for the company.
  • Harmonize purchasing activities, benefit from supplier relationships and work closely with the leadership team to leverage and develop new suppliers.
  • Be directly involved with inventory, supplier negotiations and reducing cost to improve margins and support revenue growth.
  • Lead negotiation efforts on purchase agreements and vendor contracts with a bias for achievement of quality, delivery, cost containment and process improvement.
  • Be responsible for the preparation of annual budgets, business plans, and operating goals/objectives for the purchasing and inventory functions as part of the company’s annual strategic planning process.

Strategic Processes Planning

  • Work closely with purchasing and leadership teams to develop and implement consistent purchasing and relationship based negotiating processes.
  • Drive calibration of processes, transaction methods with suppliers, supplier selection processes / ongoing supplier management, data collection, negotiation, performance improvement, cost reduction and communication strategies.
  • Plan, communicate and unify the entire purchasing operation, ensuring the development and implementation efficient processes to meet current and future business requirements.
  • Develop and manage a sales process and approach within purchasing and category management that focuses on partnering with both vendors and sales personnel; helping to create solutions and position products to be sold within the supply chain.
  • Develop a repeatable process to facilitate communication between buyers (in order to avoid double buying/high prices when could have bought in larger bulk to get better price, etc.).
  • Understand, track and implement key metrics, market trends and best practices in the wholesale/distribution and purchasing/supply chain field.
  • Create key performance indicators (KPI’s) that maintain and maximize the overall operations
  • Define performance for measurement, comparison, and evaluation of supplier performance factors such as cost, quality, and delivery.
  • Stay abreast of relevant economic, industry, supply market and business conditions to update the leadership team.
  • Responsible for the submission of financial and other management scorecard metric information to the leadership team while maintaining a “no surprises” environment.

Background Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree is required, preferably in business administration, sales or marketing; an MBA is preferred.
  • Minimum 10 years’ experience in purchasing, category management or supply chain.
  • Minimum 5 years’ experience in a forward-facing customer role, or in sales.
  • Experience assessing/building/creating a top performing purchasing team by instilling a culture of collaboration, accountability, results and flexibility to meet/exceed customer fulfillment and cost expectations.
  • Very detail-oriented with strong leadership, entrepreneurial and project management skills.
  • Proven ability to lead a fast-paced team.
  • Solid negotiating skills, team facilitation skills and excellent communication skills.
  • Proven ability to have sold products or concepts.
  • An overachiever who is dedicated, passionate, fun, organized and willing to get the job done at any cost.
  • Demonstrated track record of creative problem solving and innovation.
  • Is coachable.
  • Travel is 40%.

If you know of anyone who has these qualifications and is looking for a challenging career, please email:

Eric Hohauser
Lead Consultant

Nicole Regula
Candidate Developer

All Inquiries should be sent via email to: information@hohauser.com