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11 February 2013 | Anna Reynolds
More than a fifth of companies have cut back on procurement staff, according to the latest SM100 poll.
When asked ‘has your company cut staff in its procurement function?’, the survey of 100 buyers found 22 per cent said staff had been lost, while 78 per cent said their organisation had not reduced numbers.
Purchasers reported that involvement in a growing number of projects and increased recognition for the function had supported them during the rough economy.
Tony Morris, head of procurement at Working Links told SM: “We did reduce the procurement function in terms of staff but this is now seen as a big mistake and we are now looking to increase the team to more than it was before the job losses. So the importance of the procurement function has gone up.”
Another purchaser, who asked to remain anonymous, told SM his company had spent the last couple of years building a procurement team. “As a result our workload has increased significantly, but that’s because procurement wasn’t a recognised discipline in the organisation five years ago,” he said.
Others replied that while jobs weren’t being cut, in the current climate it was unlikely for the procurement team to increase either. Matthew Carr procurement manager at Atos, said leavers are being replaced but new staff have not been hired.
When asked whether workloads have increased, Don Bowman procurement manager at University of Kent said: “Yes, although improving our processes has been how we have dealt with this, plus a training programme for junior staff is being developed to give them more strategic skills.”
In response to whether the organisation is looking to expand its procurement team, Bowman replied: “We will be recruiting at graduate level later this year to assist with some newly defined projects.”