Developing better relationships with stakeholders is a priority for nearly half of buyers this year, according to the latest SM100.

In the poll, buyers were asked to identify from a list of five, what their main priority – excluding cost cutting, which has topped the survey for the past three years – was for the year.

Almost half, 45 per cent of buyers, chose improving stakeholder relations, with the next most popular answer to develop supplier relationship management at 27.2 per cent. Assisting with and consulting on product development/design was identified by 14 per cent, while sustainability was chosen by 9 per cent. Just 5 per cent identified risk management as their chief priority.

Don Bowman, procurement manager at the University of Kent, is looking to develop stakeholder relations in 2013. He told SM: “There is often a tension in the higher education sector between the ‘academic’ and ‘professional services’ departments. It is a divide we are attempting to close by delivering administration efficiencies wherever possible, as well as budgetary savings.”

Tony Hall, head of Welland Procurement, is also focused on stakeholders but for a different reason. He told SM it is “largely because of the impact of recent legislation on the right to challenge and social value”.

For Gary Moore, procurement performance manager, defence information, training and services at BAE Systems, the year will see added impetus on assisting with and consulting on product development and design.

“Top priority, always, is the emphasis on procurement engagement with originators,” he said. “For procurement to understand and provide input on a requirement’s definition at the very beginning goes to significantly enhance the probability of a good sourcing activity, resulting in a great solution from a world-class supplier.”
Neil Dixon, head of procurement at LeasePlan, is also looking to increase involvement from an early stage. “Procurement has a key role to play in delivering through our existing supply base or through developing additional supply channels, and we are involved right from the idea development through to final stage delivery to ensure that we have a ‘many sizes fits all’ product range,” he explained.

Adam Leach, SupplyManagement.com

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