Course description

Purchasing and Supply Management


Companies in today’s highly competitive and changing business context increasingly rely on other companies for much of the direct and indirect goods and services that they need. In most industries, companies spend as much as 60-80 per cent of the total goods sold on purchased goods and services. While we have seen that many companies tend to specialise and outsource, especially to low cost countries (offshoring) over the past decades, we now observe two trends. First, the outsourced relationships shift character, from zero-sum games to collaborations, and second, many companies onshore and insource, especially in the US. Advances in digital technologies play an important role in this respect. Given this situation, purchasing and supply management, including managing suppliers and the purchasing process as such, is clearly important for a company’s (and other organisations’) efficiency and effectiveness.

Students participating in this course will gain an understanding of the role of purchasing and supply management in organisations.  Emphasis will be on purchasing as a boundary spanning function. The students will learn how to deal with the challenges related to organising and operating a competitive supply base and how to utilise supplier relationships for enhancing their efficiency and effectiveness.

Course content

  • The role of purchasing and supply management: definitions, trends and challenges
  • Purchasing and supply strategy
  • The purchasing process
  • Managing the supplier base, category management, and supplier relationships
  • Organizing for purchasing and interaction with suppliers

Learning outcome knowledge

(i) To understand what purchasing and supply management involves in terms of roles, functions and processes
(ii) To understand and appreciate the differences in the operational, tactical and strategic levels involved in purchasing and supply management
(iii) To gain knowledge of and the ability to critique central purchasing and supply management models, e.g. segmentation, insourcing/outsourcing, sourcing, and negotiation models
(iv) To gain knowledge of new perspectives and trends in theory and practice within the field.

Exam organisation

  • Written exam: 50%
  • Written assignment: 40%
  • Class participation: 10%