Lack of board support main barrier to strategic change

22 May 2002
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23 May 2002 | David Arminas

A lack of boardroom backing is the main barrier to purchasers taking a more strategic role within their organisations, according to initial findings of a major international survey.

About 30 per cent of respondents said boardroom support was vital if purchasing departments are to move away from their traditional tactical role.

The survey, Strategies for Purchasing Transformation 2002-05, is being conducted on the Internet by the International Institute of Purchasing at the Bordeaux School of Management.

Only 14 per cent of survey respondents said a lack of skilled purchasing staff was a barrier to change.

The survey, available in English, French, German and Spanish, aims to determine what purchasing will look like by 2005. The first interim results will be available this month.

Marc Day, head of research at CIPS, one of the main sponsors of the survey along with the QP Group consultancy, said the low rating given to skills as a barrier was “surprising and contrary to anecdotal evidence”.

“Nonetheless, there is definitely a skills issue,” he said. “When respondents were asked what skills would be needed in the future, the most sought-after group was leadership, change management, persuasion and communication - noted by 36 per cent.

“Purchasers want people who will be able to affect board decisions and manage change.”

The traditional way of measuring purchasing performance - year-on-year net cost savings - looks set to continue, he said.

Most respondents are required to save 3-5 per cent annually to 2005. Key indirect spend targets include IT, telecoms, marketing services, facilities management, market research and media.

E-auctions will be used by half of respondents for between 1 and 10 per cent of their company’s total spend.

Around 350 responses have been received so far. Case studies will be published in the autumn.

• The questionnaire is available at www.futurepurchasing.com until the end of the year.

SMmay2002

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