Supplier product knowledge gains importance for buyers

10 March 2009

10 March 2009 | Martha McKenzie-Minifie

Suppliers' product knowledge is of increasing significance to purchasers when they select business partners, according to a joint report by CIPS and Oracle UK, published by the Bristol Business School.

The I-Relate study is the latest in the I-Series of research commissioned by the OGC. It examined factors taken into account when organisations search for new suppliers and at post-contract review stage.

Price, quality and delivery remained critical.

Newer concerns, such as suppliers' product knowledge and the compatibility of suppliers' values with those of the buyer, also featured.

Some criteria previously seen as important dropped in prominence, including geographical proximity and the "likeability" of the salesperson.

Gerard Chick, CIPS head of knowledge exchange, said the findings could help focus businesses on developing their suppliers during tough economic conditions.

"This thought-provoking piece of research will help equip buyers to work with their suppliers and rise to the challenges ahead."

The study, launched at the House of Lords last week, analysed the views of senior procurement professionals, with 38 per cent of respondents from the public sector and the rest in the private sector.

The I-Series includes I-Save, I-Adapt, I-Exchange and I-Innovate and can be downloaded from the CIPS website at


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