Son of Five Rivers Blog

For the advancement of Entrepreneurship, Sustainability & the Ecology of Everyday Life

The problem with Centralized Purchasing

Definition of Centralized Purchasing: The control by a central department of all the purchasing undertaken within a large organization. Centralized purchasing is often located in the headquarters and centralization has the advantages of reducing duplication of effort, pooling volume purchases for discounts, enabling more effective inventory control, increasing skills development in purchasing personnel and sometime by consolidating transport loads to achieve lower costs (unless everything has to repackage and shipped to other branches).

The Financial & Administrative Impacts

Organizations are focusing too much on centralized purchasing because of the typical administrative and financial benefits associated.  Economies of scale kicks in when buying bulk and it many cases it is easier to manage.  But here’s the idea; what if executives responsible form Sales, Marketing, Finance, HR & Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) sat together and rethought a strategy that would fulfill not just the bottom line ($) but the triple bottom line (Finance, Social, Environment) while meeting all departmental objectives.

Helping develop the local economy benefits any business operating in that community, the case same would go for the branch location of any multinational.   The decision to decentralize purchasing and purchase from small businesses owned locally would do wonders for multinational CSR and branding.  Logistically it would have less of a carbon footprint because less transportation.

The success stories and highlighting local businesses would be a new approach of viral marketing for the Marketing department.  Financially it would make sense as head office already knows the price targets each branch needs to meet.

The case can be made that centralized purchasing you have fewer suppliers and thats more control.  This is translated into “stronger or better relationships.” If we look at the turnover and promotions within large multinationals do you really think its stronger relationships or is it entirely bottom line driven.

Now imagine an organization that goes away from playing the global market and but instead now develops the local economy.  Now each branch of the multinational would purchase its supplies from local small business community, which in return could generate more business for that branch.  This helps the local economy and all the employees of the multinational.  How does it do that?  Take your wife/husband, kids, neighbours and/ or siblings, then think about where they work and how the development of local business community can effect their lives and your community.  The stronger we make each community the more robust in can grow leading to a great satisfaction of everyday life.   Plus look at the simple economics of the multiplier effect where everyone is buying from small businesses and that same dollar is being spent several times over in the community where before it would have left without anyone even seeing it.  All this can make a HR (Human Resources) department more efficient when you start looking at statistics that community driven and sustainable organization have higher retention rates and higher levels of productivity.

The branch would play a vital part in the local economy and help keep dollars in the pockets of their customers and the employees families, who live work and play in that community.

 

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November 30, 2009 - Posted by | Business Model, Community Economic Development (CED), Great Ideas | ,

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