More work, fewer staff in 2011, say purchasers

31 January 2011

1 February 2011 | Angeline Albert

Purchasers face increasing workloads this year as their departments take on extra responsibilities with no additional resources to cover it.

Although the start of the year typically encourages people to seek a new job, some 83 per cent of purchasers responding to the SM100 poll said their company was not planning to recruit more procurement staff.

Only 17 per cent of buyers said their organisation was recruiting buyers in 2011. Most poll respondents said the amount of activity done by the procurement team would increase but this would be divided up amongst existing purchasers.

Neil Dixon, procurement manager for LeasePlan UK, the Dutch financial services company focused on fleet management, said that although no additional buyers were being employed,

the procurement team would have a “wider remit taking over full supplier management responsibility”.

In the previous SM100 poll, buyers stated that cost-cutting is the priority for their organisations in 2011. In this latest poll, purchasers said the decision not to recruit more buyers was influenced by a drive to reduce overheads in the organisation, particularly in the public sector.  

One buyer at a university, who did not wish to be named, said: “We still have a recruitment freeze so are not even replacing leavers. This has resulted in an expanded workload and staff performing duties that they are over-qualified (and hence overpaid) to perform.”

Martin Blake, head of corporate procurement at the London Probation Trust said: “It is not my intent to bring in any more purchasers at this time, largely due to public sector cutbacks affecting the wider organisation.

“However, my procurement strategy continues to grow the amount of activity my team is involved in, especially against the back-drop of the government’s ‘transparency agenda’. Additional workload will initially be subsumed by existing staff.”  

Most private sector buyers echoed the challenge of increasing workloads. “Sadly, budget pressures and workloads have and will continue to increase, but staff levels will remain the same,” said Steve Taylor, sales and marketing manager with purchasing responsibilities at ornamental fish supplier JMC Aquatics.

Gary Moore, commercial and procurement governance manager BAE Systems said: “A familiar theme in these days of austerity is – making the most of what we have got in terms of resources.”

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