One thing almost all indus­tries share today is pres­sure to cut costs in an eco­nomic envi­ron­ment where demand is stag­nant. Many com­pa­nies have responded by sub­sti­tuting cap­ital for labor and out­sourcing jobs off­shore. But col­lab­o­ra­tive pur­chasing has also emerged as an effec­tive cost-​​saving strategy, and not only for the pri­vate sector.

Over the past two decades, pro­cure­ment and supply chain man­age­ment have risen to the top of the man­age­ment agenda for private-​​sector man­agers seeking to ratio­nalize their cost struc­tures. Among the advan­tages the pri­vate sector has over gov­ern­ment are much more flex­ible pro­cure­ment reg­u­la­tions. Aggre­gating pur­chases is rel­a­tively simple in the pri­vate sector and presents such an obvious sav­ings that few oper­ating man­agers resent its imposition.


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