A renewed focus

14 May 2007

Buyers must "destroy the focus on cost savings" and concentrate more on shareholder value.

That was one of the messages at a purchasing forum in London last Friday.

Professor Paul Cousins, from the Supply Chain Management Research Group at Manchester Business School, told the audience: "Cost savings will go out of fashion and those concentrating on it will go out of fashion".

Instead, buyers must look at what is required by the organisation as a whole and align their strategies with that.

Other speakers agreed, saying procurement had a role in shaping the organisation's products and services. Innovation from outside should be used to shape procurement processes but also to shape work carried out by R&D or marketing, which would perform better with such support.

Are we really at the stage where cost savings are becoming less important to procurement? Is it a buyer's role to help colleagues in other departments? Is a buyer really in a position to help the organisation in the ways suggested?

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