Tactical vs. Strategic Purchasing

Based on the evidence from leading companies like Toyota, IBM, or GE ... no practitioner or researcher would doubt that it makes sense for any company to think about implementing strategic purchasing practices (Stolle, 2008)

Information about Tactical vs. Strategic Purchasing

A few decades ago purchasing was still seen as ‘operational’ and companies focused largely on inputs such as materials and services (Slack et al., 2009). Purchasing mostly provided a supporting role to acquire goods and services at a competitive price, at the right quantity and quality. However, a number of environmental factors, such as the oil crisis of 1973, highlighted the importance of supply inputs and the consequences that could arise from underestimating their importance to company processes and activities (CIPS: High-performance purchasing).

Furthermore, the Japanese purchasing and supply model highlighted the shortcomings of the arms-length relationship model employed in the West (Hoyt and Huq, 2000). Other significant triggers of strategic purchasing relate to increased instances of outsourcing (rather than making everything in-house) and to changing organisational forms and structures (Burnes and Anastasiadis, 2003; Elango, 2008; Kam et al., 2011). Although some of the old functional and administrative purchasing activities still exist today, they are usually carried out within a much broader and varied purchasing system which strives to be strategic and value-adding.

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