Buyers need business exposure

6 July 2006
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07 July 2006 | Paul Snell

Procurement staff should get more experience in other departments of their organisation, according to a study by PA Consulting.

Transforming procurement surveyed more than 100 purchasing managers and directors in both the public and private sector, with a managed spend of £30 million to £4 billion.

It found that over the past five years companies have achieved 4 per cent (£6 billion) savings on procurement costs and spend but that this was 4 per cent below what was expected. It added that a further 8 per cent (£13.5 billion) of savings could be made if businesses adopted industry best practice.

The study said procurement has been unable to realise further potential savings because departments lack buyers with the right capabilities or because the buyers themselves don't understand how to work across an organisation.

Richard Stuart, managing consultant at PA Consulting, told improvements could be made if purchasers were allowed see how other parts of the business operate.

"Procurement staff need greater training and exposure to other aspects of the business, taking them out of their sometimes narrow focus," he said. "It is more than just learning business skills, but about learning their way around the organisation they work for and sharing their knowledge and skills."


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