Wednesday 27. April 2011
|Gerd Kerkhoff: "We have a lot of fire-fighting projects"|
|Chris Löwer talked to Gerd Kerkhoff, Managing Director of Kerkhoff Consulting, about the obligation of risk management in purchasing and new challenges for supply chain management.|
|Handelsblatt: Which contents in purchasing management are particularly in demand after the crisis and still under the spell of Japan's experience?|
Gerd Kerkhoff: The disaster has shown that companies were unprepared because they had not invested in structured planning of scenarios early on. We are thus currently handling many fire-fighting projects to find short-term alternative suppliers. And we are setting up long-term risk management systems. Not even one-third of the German companies has such a system.
Handelsblatt: How should companies react to the trend of increasingly more volatile procurement markets?
Kerkhoff: They must analyze threats: Natural disasters, currency crises, political instabilities or the decreasing availability of natural resources – these are just a few of the considerations to be taken into account. If you have a crisis scenario in store, you can react faster – that's your chance.
Handelsblatt: Do you feel business turning away from pure cost considerations?
Kerkhoff: The purchasing department's most important function still is to keep costs low or reduce them further. Half of the companies with the intent of lowering costs will make cuts in purchasing.
Handelsblatt: What's the role of the sustainability aspect?
Kerkhoff: Ecological and social factors also gain increasing importance in purchasing. Companies must be able to ensure that their products are not burdened with poisonous substances and that there had been no child labor in the manufacture of their products abroad. That's why, today, we no longer assess suppliers only according to the components of price, volume, availability – sustainability has become another central criterion of the assessment. Some clients have their supply chain specifically examined for green factors. Savings in resources also means savings in money.