Procurement Academics; and stating the b******y obvious

When I first came into procurement, some 25 years ago, there was little academic presence in the profession.  Then (and I apologise, this is a somewhat UK focused post) impressive people such as Professors Lamming, Cox, McBeth started having quite a significant impact.  Cousins, Harland, Day came along not long after.

It strikes me though that things haven't really moved on in the last 5 - 10 years in terms of the real contribution academia is making.  Andrew Cox is clearly doing interesting things (see here), but perhaps not in a pure research sense; Richard Lamming is Dean of the Business School at Exeter so is less involved in a direct manner.  And maybe I am just out of touch, but I don't really see the next generation of thinkers coming through with procurement insights that would make  a practitioner sit up and say "wow".

I was looking at a published 'white paper' type piece of research today on relationships between buyers and sellers.  I won't say who is behind it (happy to tell anyone who emails me) because I'm sure the people involved worked very hard on it, and I'm going to be a bit mean here.  I'm not actually writing the blog to make enemies....  But it is work sponsored by a professional Institute and a leading software firm, and carried out by a UK university.

Here is a summary of their findings - based on literature search and a survey.

Firstly,  on the pre-contract considerations that buyers take into account.  Apparently you get selected as a preferred suppler by your 'ability to compete on price, quality and service' along with the 'knowledge and reputation' of the supplying organisation.

OK.....what can I say?

And then, surprise surprise, post-contract, buyers are less interested in a win:win relationship for one-time and infrequent purchases than for more strategic purchases.  There is also some desire these days apparently to take into account the environmental impact of the goods /services provided.  Well, knock me down with a damp copy of Supply Management!

It just doesn't provide any real insight for a practitioner, or move forward the sum of our knowledge one iota as far as I can see.  And I would love to know how much it cost! It is all very nicely presented...but I would be amazed if anyone has changed the way they execute procurement as a result of it (if you have, please let me know.  And I'm assuming here that if you have taken it on board, you will know which paper I'm talking about...)

And if anyone knows of really interesting and / or useful work going on in the procurement-related academic field, please let me know and I would be delighted to feature it here.

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