08 July 2004 | Mark Whitehead
A plea for purchasers to foster local suppliers was made by business commentator and ex-purchaser Sir John Harvey-Jones.
He told a conference at the Leicestershire Economic Partnership meeting in Leicester that businesses were again beginning to recognise the importance of having a local supplier base.
He said this was recognised when he worked as a buyer at ICI in the 1960s. "In those days you had a number of values and views of procurement. They got lost, but are now beginning to assert themselves again," said Harvey-Jones, a CIPS honorary fellow.
"When I was a buyer, part of my job was to encourage local suppliers. We didn't have a huge local market, but we knew that any organisation depends on the goodwill of the local community.
"No business is an island. It survives and grows with its community. But it's a relatively recent thing for small, local businesses to be factored into the procurement strategy."
Michael Thompson, ICT strategy manager for the Leicestershire Economic Partnership, set up by the East Midlands Development Agency to encourage local business, said: "I would endorse Sir John's views, but they have to be tempered with the economic reality of globalisation.
"If you can develop suppliers locally you have more control over the supply chain, but it must be at the right price, otherwise you will go out of business."