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Collaboration as an anti‐crisis solution: the role of the procurement function

Oihab Allal‐Chérif (Operations Management and Information Systems Department, BEM Management School, Bordeaux, France)
Salvator Maira (Institute for Research and Innovation in Purchasing Management, Grenoble Ecole de Management, Grenoble, France)

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management

ISSN: 0960-0035

Article publication date: 11 October 2011




The length and sheer scale of the current economic crisis has surprised most managers, who were unprepared to deal with such a situation. Standing at the heart of their businesses, procurement managers need to limit the negative impact of the crisis. Restructuring and cost killing are usually the first responses. However, some buyers are pioneering a new kind of collaborative management that, instead of increasing the pressure on suppliers and reducing risk‐taking to a minimum, advocates taking new initiatives. The purpose of this paper is to present a new, “collaborative buyer” approach to the management of the procurement function.


This qualitative research uses a constructivist methodology based on interviews of 12 buying experts. It develops scenarios and identifies the features of collaborative procurement. In order to map the future of the procurement function, this research looks at the expectations and forecasts of the players involved. The aim is a comprehensive, long, rational, ownership approach that is action oriented.


The paper offers an overview of new, foresight‐based procurement practices, based on the subtle but precise perception of the faint signs of coming change by people immersed in the procurement sector. The procurement professionals agreed to co‐construct a new buyer profile resulting from changes to the old buyer profile and the convergence of other occupations with new skills and expertise.


The aim is to carefully co‐construct a picture of the future of the procurement function. The paper presents new forms of internal and external collaboration, the roles and specific skills of this type of “buyer of the future,” and how the globalised economy is becoming an increasingly community based, collaborative virtual environment.



Allal‐Chérif, O. and Maira, S. (2011), "Collaboration as an anti‐crisis solution: the role of the procurement function", International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, Vol. 41 No. 9, pp. 860-877.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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