I interviewed Paulo Luiz Moritte who discussed Client Satisfaction in Purchasing.
Please provide a brief background of yourself?
I worked 35 years at Dow Chemical in different areaslike: Manufacturing, R&D, Sales, Marketing, Finance, Strategic Planning, e-Business and the last 12 years in Purchasing. Since 2012 I have a consultant company (PM2Consult) with focus in Purchasing, and also I’m Sr. Consultant at Vantage Partners.
What do you mean by client satisfaction in purchasing?
In Sales and Marketing, companies use Customer Satisfaction Surveys to provide indicators of consumer purchase intentions and loyalty. According to Wikipedia, “Customer satisfaction data are among the most frequently collected indicators of market perceptions.” It emphasizes that “[a]lthough sales or market share can indicate how well a firm is performing currently, satisfaction is perhaps the best indicator of how likely it is that the firm’s customers will make further purchases in the future“
In most instances, Purchasing provides services to internal clients, that is, businesses and functions within a company. In other words, unless Purchasing is outsourced, there are no alternative sources for these services. In that case, why we should perform satisfaction surveys?
I believe that to be considered a Strategic Partner, Purchasing must begin with engaging the Client. Once you engage the Client, you set expectations in their mind and, from there, it makes sense to measure their satisfaction. The comparison of expectation and satisfaction is part of “The Disconfirmation Model” developed by Churchill and Suprenant in 1982 which is based on the comparison of Clients’ expectations and their perceived performance ratings.
How is this approach put into practice?
My view is that you should only start doing Satisfaction Surveys once you have established a Baseline to compare it. The engagement begins by interviewing the main Clients regarding four dimensions: Strategy Alignment, Sourcing Management, Supplier Management, and Metrics.
These questions obtain the Clients’ initial thoughts and scores from 1-6, being 1 (Extremely Dissatisfied), and 6 (Extremely Satisfied).
The baseline should be performed within each commodity (Raw Materials, Packaging, MRO, Capital, Logistics, etc.), so in the end you will have a baseline score for each commodity and also for all of Purchasing. At this point, you are able to do a gap assessment to understand the expectation from the Clients in each dimension as well as define actions to address the identified gaps.
Once you have a baseline to start with, you can perform Satisfaction Surveys. I suggest doing the survey just once a year through year-end interviews.
In order to obtain unbiased responses, I suggest selecting purchasing personnel from different commodities, e.g., Raw Materials purchasing personnel will interview Clients from MRO, and so on.
My preferred method of survey is to use a set of statements where the Client can give the Importance to them using Six Sigma ratings: 9 (very important), 3 (important) or 1 (less important). This is coupled with the 1-6 satisfaction scale as I mentioned before. For statements with scores 3 or below, I recommend asking the Client’s reasoning, so you can identify other gaps to be addressed. At the end of the statements, the final question is the score for the overall satisfaction using the same scale.
My article published at MyPurchasingCenter give examples of the questions: Client Satisfaction in Purchasing: A Must or Just “Nice to Have”?
What are the benefits?
I think the benefits are in 3 areas:
- To have a formal engagement with internal clients to make sure you have strategic alignment between Purchasing and clients; engage clients in Sourcing management, supplier management and performance management.
- Identify the existing gaps and expectations from the clients
- Be able to measure and track evolution in how well Purchasing is performing its responsibilities.
Thank you for sharing your views today on client satisfaction in purchasing.
About Paulo Moretti
Sr. Consultant at Vantage Partners