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Dossier: Column

Buyers prefer web to find suppliers

New research shows procurement professionals are twice as likely to use Internet search engines to find suppliers than preferred supplier lists.

A poll by of 250 procurement specialists. dealing with annual spends in excess of ?500.000. found that 42 per cent used a search engine compared with 20 per cent who used a preferred supplier list.

Other methods of locating a supplier that are more popular than using preferred supplier lists are word of mouth and websites.

Just 6 per cent of purchasers use conferences to find suppliers. 8 per cent use trade associations. 14 per cent use trade magazines. 15 per cent local directories and 19 per cent catalogues or buyers guides.

The findings have important implications for suppliers. said Phil Manning. product manager at

"Basically. companies that do not have a website are going to miss out on new business.

"Procurement people see Internet search engines as a more complete way of looking for something and believe they get a bit more scope to find a supplier that might be able to offer them a product of service more cheaply."

But once a potential supplier has been located. most procurement professionals - 93 per cent - prefer to do business by telephone. Manning added: "Most are keen to find out more by telephone. so it is vital that companies have contact numbers on their websites."

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