A few years ago, WHU alumnus Tobias Kosmol, in collaboration with Professor Felix Reimann (Holder of the Chair of International Business and Supply Management II) and Professor Lutz Kaufmann (Holder of the Chair of International Business Supply Management I), published research findings on the rapidly growing interest in digital procurement seen in today’s corporate world. Since 2018, the article “You’ll never walk alone: Why we need a supply chain practice view on digital procurement” has gone on to become one of the Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management (JPSM)’s top cited articles.
Digital procurement, i.e., the use of digital tools for purchasing, has quickly become a hot topic discussed among today’s working professionals. But despite an overall trend toward digitization, many managers and division leaders are still unsure how to start their journey toward digital procurement: What are the organizational prerequisites that must be fulfilled ahead of time? The study aims to function as an initial guide for managers seeking to analyze both their own and their supply base’s preparedness and considers any organizational and technological factors.
The researchers place emphasis on how managers active in this field should keep a close eye on how ready their supply base may be. By doing so, these managers can ensure that both their own company and their supply network evolve at the same speed. The research team notes that both parties must be ready for change. Even if the firm making purchases is already prepared, a lack of readiness on the supplier side will impede the implementation of digital procurement technology.
The managers of the procuring firm are not responsible for the digital readiness of an external supplier. That being said, one crucial way of avoiding potential bottlenecks is to be proactive and keep abreast of the situation. For example, these managers could implement incentive programs (e.g., preferred supplier status and positive supplier evaluations) or offer trainings or technical support to help improve the digital preparedness of key partners in the supply chain.
To read more about this research, click here.
Kosmol, T., Reimann, F., & Kaufmann, L. (2019). You’ll never walk alone: Why we need a supply chain practice view on digital procurement. Journal of Purchasing & Supply Management, 25(4), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pursup.2019.100553