Recently Expense Reduction Analysts conducted a joint study with EBS University and the BME to survey a wide range of organisations to identify opportunities within purchasing and procurement.

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According to the survey, medium-sized companies in particular benefit disproportionately from external consulting support.

Currently, the top priority of purchasing is to provide security of supply and to ensure production and delivery capability. However, the optimisation of purchasing costs and processes always takes a secondary role.

This has resulted in a study by Expense Reduction Analysts, the Federal Association of Materials Management, Purchasing and Logistics (BME) and the EBS University of Economics and Law. The study was based on over 200 buyers, each of whom were interviewed in order to provide data for analysis.

According to the study, purchasing plays a key role in business success if processes are prioritised. As a result, companies on average increase their performance by 13 percent compared to their peer group.

Investing in resources and IT infrastructure

The results also showed that for procurement to succeed in its role, companies must invest primarily in resources and IT infrastructure. “Purchasing has become an enabler within organisations. Investing in resources and a modern IT infrastructure are indispensable for sustainably fulfilling this role, “says Matthias Droste , Managing Partner of Expense Reduction Analysts (DACH) GmbH. That there is room for improvement here is shown by the fact that in 56 percent of the companies, maverick buying is still a problem and six out of ten companies do not actively manage risk.

Success through external consultations

A success factor in medium-sized companies (100 to 1,000 employees) is the use of external consultants. These come into play especially when the knowledge and expertise required in the company is lacking or if clear and efficient purchasing structures need to be built up. According to the study, medium-sized companies in particular are increasing their efficiency by 20 percent compared with comparable companies. Droste: “The study results show that successful SMEs buy exactly the services that they cannot keep in the company constantly.”

“The results of the study clearly show that purchasing in companies plays a key role,” Dr. Silvius Grobosch, Chief Executive of the Federal Association of Materials Management, Purchasing and Logistics (BME). In order to be able to fulfil this function even better, however, a rethinking is necessary. The increasing complexity of procurement processes increasingly obliges buyers to bring their knowledge into cross-departmental teams and projects. The prerequisite for this, however, is a formulated purchasing strategy so that the teams have a defined anchor point. Grobosch: “It is important that purchasing is not seen as a bureaucratic process that has to be navigated through but as a value added source for the company.” Under these conditions, purchasing can fully fulfil its role as a trailblazer.

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