Study of the BMÖ
The Federal Association of Materials Management, Purchasing and Logistics in Austria (BMÖ) announces: “Agility pays off”. This is the result of its study “Agility in purchasing 2020 – prerequisite for innovation?”.
The study determined the understanding and characteristics of methods as well as drivers and blockades regarding agility. To this end, purchasing managers and experts from Europe, the USA and South America were interviewed. Of these, 34 percent work in the metal, mechanical engineering and automotive industries.
Increasing efficiency, profitability and resilience
The BMÖ describes agility as follows: “Agility is the ability of an organization to continuously adapt to its complex, turbulent and uncertain environment. The aim is to consistently align the development, products, strategies and processes of an entire organisation with customer benefit”.
In its press release, the association states that agility can lead to greater efficiency, higher profitability and resilience. It also points out that, due to its interface function between customer requirements and the procurement market, purchasing is predestined to promote agile work. Heinz Pechek, Managing Director of the BMÖ, says that the purchaser must extend his view beyond the supplier level to include customer needs.
Selected study results
75 percent of those interviewed think they are well or very well acquainted with the topic of agility. In addition, 55 percent of the companies have already introduced the first corresponding measures; 45 percent in purchasing.
Those surveyed cited customer satisfaction and shorter product and service times as the main drivers for agility. Organizational structures, processes and management culture are mentioned as the main reasons for addressing the topic. Overall, cross-functional working, both internally and externally, is still considered one of the weak points.
Recommendations of the BMÖ
The BMÖ considers the organisational combination of operational and strategic purchasing to be sensible. Likewise, purchasers should participate in project and development teams.
It is recommended that managers see themselves more as service providers and manage employees more individually. Here, the association points to more decision-making leeway, for example in budgets or recruiting. The BMÖ also writes: “Experiments should fire agility, e.g. purchasing venture funds, cooperation with start-ups, modular IT infrastructure.