Procurement & Supply Chain Research

Detailed knowledge of the supply market is an essential ingredient in making strategic decisions. This requires an appropriately resourced and competent research base. The automotive sector was a leader in procurement and supply chain research, often with a ratio of one researcher for four buyers. The fact that the automotive sector was also a leader in category management was no accident of organisational development.

The public sector is generally not engaging in active research related to procurement and supply chain. It may be argued that this sector is beguiled that when an OJEU advertisement has been placed the supply market will come running. This is a false premise. We assisted a Utility organisation to research the world wide supply market for certain types of equipment. A significant source of competitive, quality based products was found in Australia. After a programme of specification reconciliation, manufacturing site visits, quality testing and detailed tendering, the Australian source was used. This obviously took time but it introduced previously absent active competition.

The private sector also could improve its approach to research of the kind we are describing. A client in the transportation sector was constantly loosing contracts in the Far East because they could not guarantee local content manufacture and support. Our commission was to actively research Vietnam, China, South Africa and India as potential sources of supply to meet the Far East and other geographical area demands. This was an interesting challenge but not insurmountable. When sources were found using a variety of research techniques it was interesting to have our client’s quality management specialists decrying possible sources on the basis that in the countries mentioned they would be incapable of supplying quality products! Needless to say, not only were the necessary quality standards capable of being met, the reliability of supply was also excellent. This is a superb example of procurement specialists working to support their organisation’s marketing and sales strategy.


There have been examples where we have researched specific commodities or categories as they are often referred to. Examples include copper refining, airline catering, automotive forgings and castings, safety equipment, cable manufacture, security clothing, legal support and environmentally challenging products.

Procurement and supply chain specialists must continue to innovate. Maintaining competition is a challenge. Sadly, there are cases where it has been proven that suppliers in certain markets have illegal arrangements to win tenders on a rotation basis. Lethargy, using the same suppliers has no place in competitive situations. This is not a contradiction with partnering when benchmarking can be provided for.

We offer two services to clients. The first is to undertake the research brief ourselves and the second is to train your team to undertake the research.

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