What procurement strategies and material cluster strategies are there?

In purchasing, a differentiation is made between so-called operative purchasing and strategic purchasing. The latter is usually divided into individual material cluster so that lead buyers can take care of homogeneous subjects/ material cluster such as IT, marketing, electronic parts, screws, sheet metal parts, etc. For these material cluster, but also for purchasing as a whole, strategic guidelines and principles must be formulated. Furthermore, concrete processes, levers and measures, whose success can ideally be measured via key figures, should be derived.

The challenges presented when formulating strategies for strategic purchasing are both in the required technical expertise for each material cluster and in the availability of the necessary data. Without knowledge of the current situation, for example in regard to the expenditure amounts, the cost savings already achieved, the suppliers used and the quality delivered, etc., it is impossible to deduce and develop useful strategies. These so-called baselines serve as a crucial basis of a fact-based strategy and are usually provided by the procurement controlling department.

One study conducted by Orpheus shows the significance that procurement controlling has for strategic issues. Study: Spend Management Trends 2015

Parallel to the abovementioned “strategy building-blocks,” it is also possible to use norm strategies. For this, there are a variety of more abstract suggestions, for example by Wildemann The concept of purchasing potential analysis or from other authors. They place materials and suppliers above criteria in portfolio sectors and derive standardized norm strategies from their placements.

The criticism pertaining to an action based on norm strategies is that they can be too general. As an alternative, authors such as Prof. Heß suggest an integrated approach to formulating strategies (“15M-Architektur der Supply-Strategie”). This concept, however, requires sufficient professional expertise (Prof. Dr. Gerhard Heß, Beschaffungsstrategie.de).

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