NEW YORK; August 4, 2004 – More than half of U.S. employees are dissatisfied with their companies' procurement policies, according to the results of a survey released today by Accenture (NYSE: ACN).
The survey, which queried more than 150 procurement policymakers and executive-level policy users in the United States, found 58 percent of respondents are dissatisfied with their companies' procurement policies. Not surprisingly, users are far less satisfied than policymakers; 75 percent of executive-level users reported being dissatisfied with their companies' procurement policies, versus only 12 percent of policymakers.
The survey also found that policymakers are more likely than users to characterize their companies' procurement policies as "balancing savings, while providing adequate levels of speed, flexibility and choice" — 48 percent versus 27 percent, respectively. Accordingly, 67 percent of users do not think their companies' procurement policies successfully save money and provide an adequate level of service in speed, flexibility or choice.
"When designing a procurement program, it is critical that companies take a holistic approach that balances the imperative to cut costs with the need to provide adequate value and support to their employees," said Donavon Favre, a partner in Accenture's Supply Chain Management practice. "The survey results reveal that policymakers may be too focused on cost-cutting and are failing to incorporate the needs of their employees, resulting in widespread frustration and reduced productivity."
Of the 75 percent of users who reported being dissatisfied with their companies' procurement policies, 62 percent said the policies are a significant contributor to lost productivity, 46 percent said they detract from job satisfaction and 35 percent said they are a catalyst to seek another position elsewhere. The survey also revealed an opportunity to improve job productivity: more than half (52 percent) of all respondents said they could improve their productivity if a more expansive range of products and services were made available to them.
"The extensive cost-reduction programs implemented by most companies during the last few years have resulted in greater workloads for many employees," said Len Sherman, president of Accenture Procurement Solutions. "With the economy improving, narrowly designed policies could affect employee retention, especially for those employees who feel most hampered and frustrated."
Areas of inefficiency in the procurement process identified by survey respondents include identifying vendors, selected by 43 percent of respondents; tracking where the purchase is in the process (26 percent); and difficulty obtaining approvals from superiors (20 percent).
About the Study
In June and July 2004, Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates, on behalf of Accenture, conducted a global online survey of approximately 450 procurement policymakers and users in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany to learn about executives' experiences with their companies' policies and processes for buying products and services such as computers, mobile phones, business travel, temporary labor and office supplies. The respondents represented a variety of industries — including consulting services, technology, health care, retail and financial services — as well as a variety of management positions, primarily C-suite executive, vice president, director and mid-level manager.