More than half (59%) of procurement professionals working for local authorities and other public sector organisations feel under pressure to procure at the lowest price, Fusion21‘s second annual Procurement Trends Report has found.
This year’s survey results represent the views of 100 procurement professionals who work for organisations including councils and housing providers located across the country. Conducted during April and May this year, the research also found that 55% of procurement managers, directors and supply chain officers believe financial constraints have the biggest impact on their work and decision-making.
In the Fusion21 inaugural report, published this time last year, more than half (51%) of respondents stated that quality had become a bigger consideration in their procurement decisions since the Grenfell Tower fire. However, while 39% of those who took part in this year’s research said quality was an ‘extremely important’ consideration during procurement activity, a larger proportion (47%) identified cost savings as being the most significant.
Compliance with procurement regulations, however, remains the most important consideration during procurement exercises, with almost three quarters (72%) of all procurement professionals describing it as ‘extremely important’.
Commenting on the findings in Fusion21’s Procurement Trends Report 2019, Sarah Rothwell, Head of Member Engagement at the procurement organisation, said: “We believe that procurement compliance is now a given for the organisations we work with, including local authorities, and ‘quality’ is considered to be something over and above meeting legal and regulatory public procurement requirements.
“Some contributors to this year’s research outlined how they achieve more with less by using spending power to insist on certain levels of quality. This is coupled with building relationships with potential suppliers to help secure long-term cost savings.
“However, it takes a certain skill-set to achieve this, and 43% of those who took part in our research said that they have faced, or expect to face, difficulties when recruiting talented people to their teams.
“More than half (53%) said they outsource procurement activity to organisations like Fusion21 in order to access support and expertise.”
Rebecca Reading, Senior Procurement Business Partner at Warwick District Council, who features as a case study in the Procurement Trends Report, said: “We tend to use procurement frameworks for speed, expertise, and in order to access greater buying power. Local authority teams do not tend to focus on one area of procurement, so it’s useful to be able to outsource to people who are more knowledgeable.”