The causes of unscheduled purchases

unscheduled purchases
June 18th, 2020
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Unscheduled purchases certainly lives up to its name. Prevalent across all company departments, unscheduled purchases are those made without following established protocol, beyond the control of procurement departments. But why exactly do they occur? Is it that procurement departments are simply uninterested, do internal customers have a poor grasp of purchasing policy, or are flawed processes to blame?

Reducing unscheduled purchases: A priority for all

According to a report by Basware and The Hackett Group, all procurement decision makers believe that reducing maverick spend is important. 

However, the best-performing organisations in terms of user experience and compliance are particularly convinced. Indeed, 100% of these companies consider curbing unscheduled purchases to be a top priority, compared with 76% of average-performing businesses surveyed as part of the report.

Unscheduled purchases: Cultural or structural?

It's worth noting that, depending on the type of business, there are several possible reasons behind unscheduled purchases:

  • For top-performing companies in the fields of user experience and compliance, the issue is primarily cultural. These organisations have already optimised their processes, but they still have work to do when it comes to supporting and training their internal customers. For the vast majority of these companies, two key factors are potentially responsible: employees believe that their purchases are too insignificant to have a real impact, or they have little understanding or regard for the current procurement policy.
  • For average-performing companies, the problem is both cultural and process-related. As well as the issues mentioned above, these companies also need to rethink how they operate. Almost half of the report's respondents believe that maverick buying stems from existing procurement processes that are highly time-consuming and manual, as well as a lack of formalised/proper procedures for small transactions.

There are several possible solutions to help tackle the root causes of unscheduled purchases. Depending on the difficulties observed in each organisation, streamlining the supplier portfolio, implementing digital solutions or coaching internal customers will help stamp out maverick buying.

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