In what ways has purchasing evolved over the past 40 years?

Posted on March 8, 2023


EDITOR’S NOTE: Join me in a great conversation on LinkedIn regarding purchasing’s evolution since the 1983 seminal Harvard Business Review article “Purchasing Must Become Supply Management” by Peter Kraljic. You can also check out my corresponding 2023 article “Is your talent management based on the doom loop or flywheel model?”

In what ways has purchasing evolved over the past 40 years?

In 1983, I remember reading a Harvard Business Review article by Peter Kraljic titled “Purchasing Must Become Supply Management.” Here is the link:

The following excerpt still stands out as being relevant today:

“But many purchasing managers’ skills and outlooks were formed 20 years ago in an era of relative stability, and they haven’t changed. Now, however, no company can allow purchasing to lag behind other departments in acknowledging and adjusting to worldwide environmental and economic changes. Such an attitude is not only obsolete but also costly.”

If you didn’t know that this was a statement from 1983, would it still resonate with you today?


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