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Global A.T. Kearney Study Reveals New Procurement Trends

Success formula uses procurement as a catalyst to drive durable business performance through excellence in managing categories, suppliers and teams

By ·
By ·

Leading company procurement organizations reap double the measurable cost reduction versus other companies, while also driving competitive advantage through supplier-driven innovation and risk management. While procurement organizations for leading companies have continued their upward trajectory, most companies only sustained the gains they made between 2008 and 2011.

These findings were reported in a study released today by A.T. Kearney titled “Procurement Powered Business Performance: Assessment of Excellence in Procurement (AEP) Study 2014.” This year’s AEP is the eighth edition in a series that started in 1992.

John Blascovich, A.T. Kearney partner and co-author of the report noted, “We were surprised that after the gains made between 2008 and 2011, many companies only sustained their improvements over the last three years. The typical company may be ‘wasting a crisis’ by not continuing to enhance one of the most powerful levers to improve profitability and competitive advantage.”

The reasons that many companies have not reached the next level of procurement performance include the lack of designated responsibility to take the lead for all major spend categories and explore broader value creation opportunities, weak strategic and organizational links to the rest of the business, and difficulty communicating the function’s return on investment.

The study in some ways mirrors that of The Hackett Group, which recently noted that world-class procurement organizations outperform their peers by striving to providing unique value beyond cost reduction, including becoming a trusted advisor to the business, driving supplier innovation, and focusing on risk management.

Leading Practices
Leading procurement organizations have found ways to advance, delivering even greater impact since the 2011 study. Integrating more closely with the business units and regions has increased their relevancy, influence, and impact. These organizations have achieved breakthrough financial results from procurement – generating double the Return on Supply Management Assets (ROSMASM) performance levels compared to the typical company and delivering benefits at a rate ten times greater than the cost of their people, technology and external support.

Leading companies have achieved this performance by:

• Building high-performance teams as a catalyst for business alignment
• Reducing cost through category excellence
• Creating competitive advantage through supplier capabilities
• Investing in the procurement team to deliver durable superior performance

“Leading procurement organizations communicate what the function delivers to the company in terms that the business can understand, typically by using finance organization language to measure and share performance data,” said Stephen Easton, A.T. Kearney partner and co-author of the report.

Alex Ferrer, A.T. Kearney Procurement & Analytic Solutions director said, “As procurement excellence helps to generate benefits and have greater business impact, companies will be more inclined to free up funds for innovation, growth and improved shareholder value.”


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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Article Topics

Finance · Management · Procurement · All Topics
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