Half of buyers use social media to do their job

6 March 2012

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6 March 2012 | Angeline Albert

Buyers are split over the use of social media tools to do their work, and whether or not it is a good thing, according to the latest SM100 poll. 

In response to the question ‘Do you or your procurement department use any social media to help you do your day job?’ A total of 51 per cent said yes with the remainder saying no.

Some procurement professionals told SM they are starting to use social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Yammer, to research suppliers, raise their profile, share information and improve relations with internal customers but others said they could not even access social media tools during business hours.

Andy Davies, director of London Universities Purchasing Consortium (LUPC), said his organisation had recently introduced Twitter, Facebook and a blog to its website. “The main aims are to create a sense of community across LUPC and the wider sector, including suppliers,” he said.

He said a director’s blog of news encourages a wider readership, Twitter is being used to convey useful information to LUPC members and suppliers, and Facebook is prompting feedback from members.

Murray Dilks, director of group purchasing at Paragon Electronics Group, told SM he uses social media to find contacts, build up information on a supplier, network with suppliers and customers and gain insight into purchasing and supply chain topics.

Most procurement professionals said there was no formal social media strategy. Some said their organisations’ trust issues led to employees not getting access to social media websites at work.

Shaun Evans, procurement strategy and relationship manager at the Co-operative Group, said: “We recently trialled the Yammer platform within the banking group and a number of issues were identified where potentially sensitive and confidential matters were discussed even within what is effectively a closed group. A decision has been taken to block their use at work.”

John Milne, procurement consultant at Hampco Consulting Engineers, said: “Social media is much too open to abuse for serious business. I can see where sites such as LinkedIn might be useful for trawling through prospective employees, but ultimately it’s no more effective than traditional methods.”

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