Purchasers focus their expertise on Christmas bargains

6 December 2010

6 December 2010 | Angeline Albert

Buyers are making good use of their procurement skills in their personal lives and are intending to secure gift deals this Christmas, according to the latest SM100 poll.

Home repairs, weddings and toys are subject to rigorous negotiations, according to 88 per cent of purchasers surveyed.

Patrick Wolff, senior sourcing officer at Fujitsu UK and Ireland, said: “I’ve taken it a step further and outsourced this to my sister. She provides a full service: buying and wrapping all the presents, and providing a summary of what’s been purchased. She’s paid on the volume of goods bought, time spent and whether it could have been found cheaper.”

Some buyers admitted they had spend data on a spreadsheet and negotiated with long‑term suppliers such as insurers. Others said they analysed their requirements, engaged with stakeholders and tried to find something that exceeded their needs.

Cristian Martin, procurement and contracts officer in the corporate services division at the Commonwealth Secretariat, said: “If it’s a big present I research the market to make sure I get the right product.”

Ronan Carter, procurement director at Allergan, said: “This year I bought my wife an early Christmas present – a kitchen. We got a great deal by decoupling the various components. We bought electrical items separately online, benchmarked the price of handles and had them custom-made so we got better quality for the same price.”

He saved more than £3,600 in total.

Some buyers said their skills were not always appreciated. One, who did not want to be named, said: “My wife is uncomfortable when I start ‘haggling’, especially when it comes to Christmas gifts.”

Frank Omare, supply chain and operations, advisory services, for Ernst & Young, will not be using his skills in this way. “Christmas is  the season of goodwill. I will focus on  buying presents that people really want rather than the cheapest thing that I would like them to have.”

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