Saving at top of buyers’ agendas for 2010

23 December 2009
31 December 2009 | Gareth Mytton

Cost-cutting and gaining control of more spend areas will dominate purchasers’ priorities this year, according to an SM survey.

Thirty-eight per cent of respondents to the latest SM100 poll chose cost-cutting as their main focus for 2010 from a list of seven options. With 22 per cent identifying gaining control of new spending areas as the principal concern, these two are the main priorities for most buyers.

Supplier relationship management was the next highest priority (17 per cent). Eight per cent chose raising the profession’s profile and 5 per cent said increased outsourcing topped their agenda.

No respondents said sustainable procurement was their main priority, while 10 per cent said the aim was “other”, with answers ranging from improving quality of supplier service to boosting their firms’ revenue.

Hitting savings targets is vital to maintaining board-level support for procurement, said David Harrison, director of sourcing and contracting at pharmaceutical firm UCB Celltech. “Sourcing and contracting enjoys a definite mandate and support from our board but this is only provided that we deliver on the promised savings,” he explained.

“Gaining control of more spend areas and supplier relationship management will be priorities mainly for the potential they have of helping us to achieve our savings,” added Liam Gormley, buyer at Newcastle City Council.

Some of the buyers said next year will be extremely challenging, while one commented: “I wish I had the time at work to be able to do all the priorities.” 

A similar straw poll of readers conducted by SM three years ago found priorities for purchasers in 2007 were skills development, sustainable procurement and low-cost country sourcing. And for the public sector the issue of shared services was of increasing importance.
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