Improving startup’s attractiveness as industrial customers by organizing theirpurchasing activities

Juliano Afonso Tessaro*, Rainer Harms, Holger Schiele

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Purpose: This study aims to analyze how startups organize their purchasing activities to improve operative excellence and become attractive customers. Design/methodology/approach: The authors use a two-phase exploratory approach with semistructured interviews and a World Café. In total, 20 startup purchasers and suppliers participated. It is an international study with participants from eight countries (Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Hungary, The Netherlands, the UK and the USA). Findings: The authors find that startups organize the purchasing function in five ways: partial outsourcing, transactional-oriented, strategic only, outsourced purchasing and full department. Each type has advantages and disadvantages regarding operative excellence. The authors identify type-specific antecedents to operative excellence: forecasting, payment habits, ordering process, contact accessibility and quick decision-making. Research limitations/implications: The value of this paper is that it offers entrepreneurs a framework to organize startup purchasing activities, including outsourcing options. Furthermore, it provides theoretical contributions that expand the topic of purchasing and supply organization and operative excellence to the startup context. Originality/value: The value of this paper is that, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, it is the first to explore purchasing organization and operative excellence in startups.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Global Operations and Strategic Sourcing
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print/First online - 26 Jun 2023


  • Customer attractiveness
  • Operative excellence
  • Outsourcing
  • Purchasing organization
  • Startups
  • Strategic sourcing
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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