Buyers report good relations with stakeholders

4 July 2011

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Relationships between purchasing departments and the majority of their stakeholders are in good health, according to 96 per cent of buyers.

In response to the July SM 100 poll, which asked: “Do you have good relationships with the majority of your stakeholders?” buyers said early engagement by purchasers communicating the role of procurement and frequently updating other departments are central to successful working relationships.

Brian Grew, supply chain director of Live Nation, believes actively involving other departments in purchasing decisions has a positive impact. He said: “When stakeholders are consulted and involved with a procurement strategy, their engagement is notably improved. Indeed, stakeholders as a sense-check can prove an invaluable resource and inspire greater collaboration and accountability.”

Meanwhile, Shaun Evans, procurement strategy and relationship manager at The Co-operative Financial Services, also reported good relations but stressed the need to work on them. “In most cases, we have won stakeholders over or improved alignment with them by consciously and deliberately building and involving senior stakeholders in category teams to align the business strategy with the procurement category strategy.”

Mike Flanagan, corporate equipment purchasing manager at Safeway said: “My stakeholders and outside vendors create and make my position worth being here.” He said it was only physical distance that proved a problem. “To improve my relations, I would need to be physically closer to them. Closer means faster to respond to issues and faster to prevent breaches in back door purchasing.”

In contrast, John Milne, independent procurement consultant at Hampco Consulting Engineers, said he resisted the urge to “go with the probable majority of yes voters” and reported that, in his experience, relationships have not improved.

He said: “I am bound to express my disappointment in the lack of progress towards harmony with other departments (stakeholders). In construction and major projects, the architect and engineers make most of the critical decisions. In banking and retail, the finance and marketing departments hold sway. Only in manufacturing does there seem to be evidence of equitable input and even there the kudos goes to designers and marketers.”

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