Course description

Purchasing and Supply Management

Introduction

Companies in today’s highly competitive and changing business context largely rely on other companies for much of the direct and indirect goods and services that they need. This incurs both challenges and opportunities for companies. While we have seen a tendency to outsource, especially to low cost countries (offshoring) over the past decades, two trends are now observed. First, the outsourced relationships shift character, from zero-sum games to collaborations. Second, many companies backshore, especially in the US due to corporate social responsibility (CSR) concerns, customer demands, and technological advancements, to mention a few driving factors. Nevertheless, in many industries companies spend as much as 60-80 per cent of their total turnover on purchased goods and services. Given this situation, purchasing and supply management (PSM) is clearly important for the competetiveness of companies, as well as for organisations’ efficiency and effectiveness in general. How PSM can play this important role, by developing superior (and increasingly digital) processes and supplier relationships, is at the core of this course.

Students in this course will gain an understanding of the role of PSM in organizations.  Emphasis will be on purchasing as a boundary spanning function, and 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. This is particularly important as companies are besieged by challenges in today’s business context. The course is a mix of theoretical insights and high level analyses on the one hand and practical tools and implications on the other.

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 PSM involves in terms of roles, functions and processes in today’s changing business context and society. (ii) To understand and appreciate the differences in the operational, tactical and strategic levels of PSM. (iii) To gain knowledge of and the ability to critically apply and evaluate central PSM models and strategies, e.g. portfolio management and segmentation, insourcing/outsourcing, sourcing strategies, and negotiation. (iv) To gain knowledge of new perspectives and trends within theory and practice related to the field.

Exam organisation

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