Purchasing practices in SMEs: A comparative study of Danish and American firms

Tage Skjøtt-Larsen, Prabir K. Bagchi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearch


The purpose of this paper is to develop a knowledge and understanding of purchasing practices of SMEs in Denmark.

The paper is based on the results from a survey among 94 Danish SMEs, mainly within machinery, electronics and electrical, transportation equipment, and medical equipment industries. The results are compared with a similar study 

encompassing 224 SMEs in Indiana, USA. First, the level of purchasing complexity is discussed. There are similarities between the two surveys in terms of purchasing's influence on product quality and productivity, and percentage of total costs. However, the degree of technical complexity is rated higher among the Danish respondents, and market uncertainty is rated higher among the Indiana respondents. Then, we look at a number of characteristics of the purchasing function, including skills and education level of the purchasing personnel, inter-functional coordination, and the type of supplier relationships. Finally, the formal position of purchasing in the organization is presented. Here the findings confirm the conventional wisdom that most purchasing employees are without a formal, higher education, and that most of the time is spent on routine transactions. Based on the results from the two surveys, we discuss the managerial and research implications for purchasing practices in SMEs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 19th Annual Nofoma Conference 7 - 8 June 2007 Reykjavik Iceland : Programme and Book of Abstracts
Number of pages15
PublisherFaculty of Engineering, University of Iceland
Publication date2007
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventThe 19th Nofoma Conference 2007: Annual Nordic Logistics Research Network Conference - Reykjavik, Iceland
Duration: 7 Jun 20078 Jun 2007
Conference number: 19


ConferenceThe 19th Nofoma Conference 2007

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