Integrating skills profiling and purchasing portfolio management: an opportunity for building purchasing capability

Louise Knight, Yi-Hsi Tu, Jude Preston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


Kralijc’s (1983) purchasing portfolio approach holds that different types of purchases need different sourcing strategies, underpinned by distinct sets of resources and practices. The approach is widely deployed in business and extensively researched, and yet little research has been conducted on how knowledge and skills vary across a portfolio of purchases. This study extends the body of knowledge on purchasing portfolio management, and its application in the strategic development of purchasing in an organization, and on human resource management in the purchasing function. A novel approach to profiling purchasing skills is proposed, which is well suited to dynamic environments which require flexibility. In a survey, experienced purchasing personnel described a specific purchase and profiled the skills required for effective performance in purchasing that item. Purchases were categorized according to their importance to the organization (internally-oriented evaluation of cost and production factors) and to the supply market (externally-oriented evaluation of commercial risk and uncertainty). Through cluster analysis three key types of purchase situations were identified. The skills required for effective purchasing vary significantly across the three clusters (for 22 skills, p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-283
Number of pages13
JournalInternational journal of production economics
Issue numberPart B
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


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