Act first, ask later, buyers told

20 July 2005
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21 July 2005 | Anusha Bradley

Purchasers need to take responsibility for buying professional services better, according to company directors, research has revealed.

The study, by services procurement consultancy Fulcrium, showed bosses wanted purchasing staff to work on their own initiative to understand the purchase of particular services.

Raju Patel, Fulcrium chief executive said: "Board members credited purchasers with enhancing relationships with suppliers and savings.

"But if they want to be treated as peers, they should behave as though they have the authority."

Stuart Ramsay, strategic sourcing director at healthcare manufacturer Wyeth Europa, said it was further evidence executives realised the value purchasers can deliver in professional services.

But he added: "Stop looking for airtime to ask them if you can do it, and instead use it to show them what has been done."

Kim Godwin, chief procurement officer at Barclays, said: "In professional services, demand management is an important element in managing costs. You can't do this unless you have a good understanding of the market."

And while 87 per cent of respondents believed purchasing played a key role in buying professional services, two-thirds were concerned about how it was handled.

Three-quarters of those surveyed said their procurement departments were doing an "average" or worse job of buying professional services because they did not understand the category they were buying.

The survey, which comprised interviews with chief executives, finance directors and chairs from 30 of some of the largest organisations in the UK, Europe and the United States, found that board buy-in was the least important factor in enabling procurement departments to effect change.


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