Headlines, PublicNet: 16 December, 2014

Procurement professionals in the public sector have revealed that despite continued pressure on budgets, quality remains an essential factor when making purchasing decisions. In fact, almost half of public sector procurement professionals agree that price and quality are of equal importance when purchasing supplies.

This focus on quality as well as price is clearly reflected in the external factors which influence procurement teams before making a buying decision. The research, by workplace solutions provider Office Depot, has revealed that 56 per cent of those in public sector carry out in-depth online research before placing an order, while 44 per cent said that word-of-mouth recommendation carries influence.

Nigel Crunden at Office Depot said: “This is a very encouraging indication that despite continued pressure to drive down costs and increase efficiencies, procurement professionals in the public sector are determined to ensure the level of quality remains consistent. While cost remains an essential factor in any buying decision, quality is not being compromised in order to achieve savings.”

However, although some procurement teams are embracing modern tactics when looking to inform buying decisions, 75 per cent of procurement managers have admitted that their buying methods have not changed in the last five years.

While the cross-sector research revealed a significant increase in business investment overall in the past year, this was not the case in the public sector. 96% of the public sector procurement departments surveyed said that spending on capital expenditure had reduced in the past year.

Nigel Crunden concluded: “Spending on capital expenditure – things like plant, machinery and technology – can indicate entry to a more confident economic climate. In this case, the lack of investment in this area is indication of the severe pressure on spending.

“Suppliers can do more to help support their public sector clients by fully engraining themselves in their customers’ business culture and designing product and service offerings that meet their needs. Streamlined ordering and billing processes can also help to reduce administration costs.”

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