Poor data hinders buyers' performance

28 November 2011

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28 November 2011 | Angeline Albert

Procurement teams do not have access to the data they need to make the right purchasing decisions, the majority of buyers who responded to the SM100 poll admitted. 

When asked in December’s survey, whether their procurement function had access to all the data it needed to inform spending decisions, 68 per cent of purchasers said they did not.

Some said they lacked access to overall spend data for each commodity, which limits the success they can achieve from tendering.

Others were concerned that without accurate spend data, it was easier for internal departments to hide maverick spend.

One head of procurement, who asked not to be named, said: “We don’t have access to full financial data, even to incumbent traditional finance systems. This apparent resistance for transparency appears to be an issue of control. It could also reflect the insecurities of the finance department and the procurement function’s inability to challenge practice. We have recently managed to get monthly expenditure reports at a total spend per supplier but with no further granularity than that.”    

Alison Walthew, from procurement business Crimson Consulting, said: “Invariably when working with clients the data provided comes from many systems none of which talk to one another. There are many duplications and repetition of suppliers whose names have been spelled in various ways thus compounding the level of spend accuracy. This is a frustration as a consultant but even more so as a user of the data on a day-to-day basis.”

Of the 32 per cent who said they had access to the information they needed to do their jobs, many said this was because they had just updated their systems after battling for more investment in this area.

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