Buying business services: Towards a structured service purchasing process

Wendy van der Valk, Frank Rozemeijer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose
This paper aims to uncover the specific difficulties associated with buying services and proposes a structured purchasing process which can help organisational buyers to overcome the problems associated with services purchasing.

Design/methodology/approach
The authors investigate the supposed differences between goods and services procurement by means of literature research and a questionnaire distributed among Dutch purchasing managers. Additionally, they draw on experiences from additional case study research and business practice to better understand the results of the survey and to further explore the actual process of buying services.

Findings
The results of the literature review and the survey show that developing a proper specification is an important prerequisite for purchasing services successfully. Based on these findings, an expansion to the traditional purchasing process is proposed which incorporates the steps of pre‐selecting suppliers and detailing the initial specification.

Research limitations/implications
The survey is limited to The Netherlands. Furthermore, the questions in the survey consider the respondent's perception and not the “truth”.

Practical implications
For organisational buyers, the importance of a proper specification implies that they should involve service providers early on in the service purchasing process. The service providers consequently can exercise the appropriate resources to develop a high quality solution, but need to be able to demonstrate this added value in these early phases of the services purchasing process.

Originality/value
The paper adds to the discussion on buying services and tries to find out why this is perceived as complicated. It highlights three problem areas and proposes a solution to tackle these.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-10
JournalThe Journal of Services marketing
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • services
  • buyer-seller relationship
  • purchasing
  • specifications
  • performance management

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Buying business services: Towards a structured service purchasing process'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this