Course description



How can purchasing contribute to cost reduction, value creation, and risk management in an organisation? This question is at the core of this course, and we will seek to answer it by looking at purchasing from an operational, tactical and strategic perspective. In today’s society, cost pressures and increasing customer demands push firms and other organisations to specialise and outsource. Firms often use 2/3 of their turnover on purchasing goods and services, which means that they increasingly rely on external resources. Purchasing represents a key means to achieve cost reductions and value adding in an organisation by mobilising and activating resources both internally and externally (i.e. suppliers) in a more efficient and effective way.

Students participating in this course will learn to understand the role and function of purchasing in today’s society, both from a profit-seeking company’s point of view and from other organisations, including the public sector. They will learn about a purchaser’s key tasks and responsibilities, and strategies and tools for dealing with key issues, particularly with regard to handling suppliers.

Course content

Purchasing’s role and function in today’s business context

  • Trends, definitions and key tasks and responsibilities, including ethical and environmental considerations
  • Purchasing’s role in business strategy and the value chain
  • Purchasing in different settings, including service and public sectors

Purchasing process

  • Specification and selection
  • Negotiation and contracting
  • Performance evaluation and KPIs

Purchasing strategy

  • Outsourcing and insourcing
  • Supply base management and segmentation
  • Sourcing strategies - international and global purchasing

Purchasing organisation

  • Purchasing organisation structures in different business settings
  • Decentralisation vs. centralisation of purchasing

Managing supplier relationships and partnerships

  • Developing resources with suppliers for innovation and productivity

Learning outcome knowledge

After completed course students shall:

  • Understand what purchasing is about in terms of roles, responsibilities, functions and processes in today’s society.
  • Understand and appreciate the differences in the operational, tactical and strategic levels of purchasing, and how purchasing can be organised.
  • Gain knowledge of central purchasing models, in relation to segmentation, insourcing/outsourcing, sourcing, and negotiation models.
  • Understand the importance of managing supplier relationships.


Exam organisation

  • Written exam: 100%