Industry has a tendency to regard the Purchasing function in the limited light of a “buying” activity. Enlightened management, unwilling to accept such a limited objective, insists that Purchasing participate in improving “design” costs. In initial stages of product conception, Purchasing can point out instances of obsolescent or high cost thinking; the cost penalty can be identified and alternate solutions presented before production runs are undertaken.
Management must identify the Purchasing Dept. as one of the product decision making voices of the firm. It must be staffed with engineering and finance minded talent and should have the opportunity to challenge design costs and suggest improved materials and processes.