Public versus private sector procurement – eWorld Survey (part 3)

We’ve been covering the recent survey we carried out with the organisers of eWorld , looking at differences between public and private sector procurement perceptions.

We examined how each sector viewed itself and the other sector in part 2. Looking at the individual factors, it is interesting to see quite common view across the two sectors in terms of relative strengths and weaknesses. Actually, the view of the private sector is remarkably consistent form all respondents – it is only in the areas of "people" and "governance" that the private sector perceives itself as stronger than the outsiders see it.

Arguably, the view of the public sector is less accurate from the outside, with more gaps in perception in areas such as people, sourcing and use of technology.

Finally, in the survey we asked respondents to choose three factors from a list of eleven that they felt offered the biggest opportunity to their organisation in terms of value and procurement improvement.

I found the results fascinating - contract and supplier management being a very clear winner in both sectors. That supports the view I've held for some time about the potential for procurement to get to grips with this area, for the benefit of our organisations, public or private sector.

Aggregation in different forms came second - so in the private sector, it was getting more aggregation within the organisation (corralling internal spend to achieve leverage and therefore better contracts, we assume), whilst in the public sector it was aggregation across organisations.Cabinet Office will be pleased to see those opportunities recognised strongly here.

I was surprised the "resource" factor didn't score more highly - but it came in third place anyway in both sectors.

Top Opportunity Areas

Commercial sector  %

Public sector %

Contract & supplier management



Greater leverage within organisation



Collaboration with other organisations



More or more skilled procurement staff



Better sourcing / CatMan processes



Improve user compliance



Capturing innovation from the supply base



Stronger negotiation with suppliers



Improve efficiency of purchase to pay process



e-Invoicing supply chain finance etc.



Better service from suppliers




In part 4, we’ll feature some of the excellent free text responses to our question – “please add any comments you have about the differences between procurement in the commercial and public sectors”?

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Voices (3)

  1. Trevor Black:

    Interesting point made by Ian concerning the lack of consistency between the two categories. If you want an example of the benefits of managing suppliers and contracts look no further than the well publicised disaster of transporting prisoners around the UK. Following contract award you just file the contract away and let the contract look after itself. Ker-ching!!! A new form of Quantitative Easing has replaced Contract Management and more Government business to follow!

    1. Dan:

      People know they need to do supplier/contract management better because they keep getting told so. I’ll bet a lot of people are still a bit hazy around the benefits of doing so, and treat it as an end in itself rather than just a better way of working.

  2. Ian Heptinstall:

    I wonder why Contract/Supplier management is rated so highly when they rated the opportunity for “Better service form suppliers” as so low. What is the benefit expected for managing suppliers & contracts better?

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