5 Recognising and reacting to trends in purchasing

Trends are a funny thing - in some areas they come and go virtually overnight. But there are also those that will accompany us in the long term. And let's not fool ourselves: The days of "low hanging fruits" in purchasing are long gone. "Why don't you introduce the latest trends in purchasing, so that we pick up speed again and the buyers finally think outside the box," a managing director said to me the other day, for example. Trends are always an exciting topic, because not only companies in general, but especially purchasing, are at the beginning of a radical change.

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Before the actual introduction of new trends in purchasing, it is essential to first create a basis for them to have a lasting effect. First of all, it is also important to look at the market to see what developments are taking place. In this blog, I will highlight the five trends in purchasing for 2025.

1. Dealing confidently with the salesperson in purchasing
What characterises a confident approach? A few years ago, we still had the possibility in purchasing to choose our production sites worldwide. At the moment, this is no longer possible due to the tightening of the market situation. Due to the current shortage of raw materials and the prices for raw materials, which have increased significantly in recent months, it is important for buyers to deal confidently with the seller's market. What initially seemed like a short-lived cost increase in the commodity industry has now turned into a significantly tightened market situation with far-reaching consequences. My recommendation is quite clearly to rely on a task force that brings in its expertise, experience and industry-specific knowledge and does nothing else as a "parts hunter" but procure material on the market for you.

2. conduct a supplier workshop
Dealing confidently with the seller on the market also has a lot to do with the current material supply. No buyer can avoid the search for suppliers. The tightening market in the future also requires other ways.  One way is to hold supplier workshops - that means keeping in touch with suppliers and keeping an eye on their ability to deliver. If you are constantly informed about prices, quality and failures, you can act in time. Now is the time to look at the specifications that suppliers have been using for over 30 years to find alternatives.

3. Interest in "second source" is growing
Another trend I observe is the increasing interest in "second source". In the automotive sector, for example, the list of suppliers has been getting smaller and smaller in recent years. First there were 10, then suddenly only 5, of these suppliers 3 no longer wanted to deliver, then there were only 2 and finally you only have one supplier on whom the production capability of the company depends. That is why it is important to find a second source as a further production option. The principle behind this is to procure the same or comparable products from two or more different, independent suppliers with the aim of minimising the risk of supply shortages and the risk of supplier dependency. This makes the supply chain more robust than with pure single sourcing. Furthermore, it is essential to develop innovations and to bring the supplier on board as a development partner.

4. Digitalisation
Process optimisation is a clear trend in industrial companies and in purchasing. Digitisation will accompany us intensively over the next few years. In doing so, it is important not to let digitalisation simply run alongside and without a plan. Unfortunately, this can often be observed in practice. In my opinion, digitalisation cannot be done casually. It is a partly complex as well as complete and important projectwork for which the necessary time must be allowed. A close look at the processes and the interfaces, as well as the definition of guard rails, is crucial for purchasing as well as for the adjoining departments.

5. Trend towards purchasing pools
A fifth trend is the topic of purchasing pools or purchasing cooperatives. Within the framework of the new purchasing platforms and digitalisation, but also in the case of framework agreements, companies are increasingly joining forces. The forms are diverse: from subject-specific purchasing associations, to individual regional purchasing associations for the procurement of classic consumer goods, to larger organisational units, a wide variety of companies are coming together in purchasing associations. Particularly in the area of indirect materials - occupational safety, office supplies or packaging - there is considerable potential for savings, and purchasing pools are ideal for this purpose.

Purchasing repositions itself
The change is now - and purchasing must reposition itself in this change in order to become a success factor in companies. My recommendation: Use the 5 Purchasing Trends 2025 to prepare yourself for the upheaval in purchasing. If purchasing is securely positioned for the future, the company is also prepared for turbulent times and crises and ensures that internal stakeholders get more for their budget.

Is your purchasing department already following the trends? Would you like to learn more about how purchasing is developing and how you can position it in your company for the future? Then let's engage in a mutual exchange.