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The Sourcing Solution

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The Sourcing Solution

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Successful Purchasing Program


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

Forget about the old days of purchasing — today’s sourcing department is high-tech, focused and cost savvy. Here’s how.

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Purchasing is a critically important business function, although it lacks the glamour and excitement of, say, finance or sales. In the past, purchasing employees have often been little more than glorified clerks mired in price comparisons. Sometimes, their responsibilities included accompanying vendors to ballgames and such, activities that helped keep the purchasing pro’s mind off the fact that not many CEOs seemed to come up through the purchasing department. That may already be changing. Indeed, purchasing is now a career hot spot. Several trends - such as corporate demands for cost cutting and outsourcing, new electronic markets and auctions, globalization of customers and vendors, sharper supply-chain logistics technology, and the movement to create partnerships with suppliers - make purchasing substantially more important than ever before. Author Larry Paquette offers a short, lucid, quite readable summary of the essentials of purchasing in that light. finds it an excellent, comprehensive and useful overview of sourcing.


The Importance of Purchasing

Purchasing isn’t alone. Although policies, procedures and bureaucratic processes sometimes seem to insulate the purchasing manager from the rest of the corporation, purchasing is a critically important part of the overall business.

For a brief history of purchasing, begin with a look at this formerly rule-bound, paper-intensive corner of the company. Some old-time purchasing departments kept records on index cards. Their employees were wined and dined by suppliers who expected (and often got) favors in return. Purchasing was a cost center, part of the "burden" of doing business. Just buying supplies took several cumbersome steps:

  • The purchasing department obtained three quotations and issued a purchase order.
  • The purchase order was executed to requisition a specified quantity of material at a specified price to be delivered on a specified date.
  • Multiple copies of all these papers were sent around the company and to the supplier.

How times have changed! Now, major business schools offer purchasing and sourcing courses. Students can earn Ph.D.s in the field. Professors with endowed chairs study and teach...

About the Author

Larry Paquette has more than 30 years of experience in materials management, purchasing, production and logistics with high-profile companies in the United States and the Far East, including Ampex Corporation, Silicon Graphics, Ridge Computers and Gould Electronics.

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