oa Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management - Supplier relationship management - anathema for the South African public procurement sector : original research



The public sector is recognised as being one of the most important customer groups for many suppliers and service providers because of the volume of public expenditure. Supplier relationship management (SRM) is a necessary tool on which businesses in the public and private sectors rely. However, in the South African public sector, despite the intention to boost service delivery through efficient and effective supplier-management processes, the development of sound supplier relationships is a challenge. The purpose of this article is to provide insight into supplier-relationship challenges and to suggest a framework for implementing SRM in the South African public sector. The research presented is based on a survey using both descriptive and exploratory research. Data were gathered through semi-structured interviews with 15 participants at eight institutions in KwaZulu-Natal. Purposive sampling techniques were used. The findings reveal that the main supplier-related challenges that handicap procurement practices in the province are a lack of experience, a lack of affirmable suppliers, threats and bribes, a lack of integrity, an inability to meet delivery deadlines and quality issues. The findings further reveal that supplier relationships in the public sector are of a transactional nature. A five-stage framework is therefore recommended for implementing SRM in the South African public sector and in order to assist government procurement officials to reap the benefits of SRM whilst supporting the requirements of public-sector procurement.


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