Buying priority: a leaders choice

15 November 2007
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15 November 2007

Business chiefs, not procurement departments, should choose their firm's priority in the struggle between sustainability and price.

Roy Ayliffe, director of professional practice at CIPS, told a roundtable in London last month that sourcing priorities were not being transferred from the top of organisations to purchasing functions as they should be.

"Leaders of organizations have to choose what they want to achieve the most. They have to say to buyers if they want them to buy locally or cheaply or environmentally," he said.

But buyers were told to take more responsibility for quality when sourcing from China. "You need to own the supply chain," said Karl Alomar, chief executive at China Export Finance. "You need to understand where your products come from and control all aspects of supply chain management. Few people are ethical enough not to take short cuts, so you have to ensure they are being monitored."

It follows a recent statement by Meglena Kuneva, the EU consumer commissioner, who called on large firms to improve checks in their supply chain. "To face up to the emerging challenges of managing global supply chains, several key actors [major manufacturers] are going to have to significantly raise their game," she said.

Glyn Powell, director at consultancy JMK Special Events, said: "You get the same thing buying from any country. You can't expect all individuals in the chain to know everything."

"[China is] a good place to source from if you source intelligently," Alomar added.


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