n Journal of Contemporary Management - A perspective on the criteria used by SMEs in Pietermaritzburg to select suppliers




The purpose of this article is to provide a perspective on (1) the criteria that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Pietermaritzburg use to select their suppliers, and (2) the supply challenges they face. The selection of suppliers is an important task of the procurement professional, who is responsible for managing a firm's supply base - a critical role in all sectors of the economy - and thus protecting and defending the cost structure of the SME. This study presents a cross-case analysis of eleven case studies compiled by postgraduate students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Purposive sampling was used to select the cases reviewed. The results reveal that the majority of participants have a formal procurement policy in place.

The main criteria used to select suppliers include pricing, quality, on-time delivery and reputation/reliability. Challenges identified by participants include late deliveries and uncertain availability of stock from suppliers. The main limitation of this study is that only eleven SMEs were included. Therefore, the stated supplier selection criteria and procurement challenges faced are not exhaustive. However, insights from this study could assist parties in procurement to focus their attention on supplier-related challenges that may be within their control, and if solved could lead to cost savings, and improved quality and service delivery.


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