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Written by Marijn Overvest | Reviewed by Sjoerd Goedhart | Fact Checked by Ruud Emonds | Our editorial policy

Procurement Strategy Case Studies — 5 Insightful Examples

Key takeaways

  • Successful strategies depend on efficient coordination and collaboration between essential procurement players. 
  • Aligning these strategies with broader procurement standards helps improve their lasting impact in the field and environment. 
  • Knowing the factors affecting procurement strategizing helps build better procurement outcomes for the company.

Setting the appropriate strategy in procurement is the first step to improving control and effectiveness of the procurement and sourcing activities. However, not everyone knows where to start in their strategy. 

In this article, we will check five procurement strategy case studies that can give you insight into strategies they have used to streamline their processes. We will explore the problems that arise and how they have conquered them with their strategy. 

After reading this article, you will gain enough knowledge on tackling the problems in your procurement by formulating your very own strategy. So, I’d like to make your procurement process more effective than before!

Example 1InDemand, Co-creation Model Helping to Procure Innovation in Public Organizations

Actual Case:

InDemand brought together procurers from three different European Regions namely: Murcia, Oulu, and Paris to test a new co-creation model which is said to be a model that is faster, leaner, and requires fewer resources and overheads. Thus, being more suited to everchanging technologies, such as digital solutions. 

InDemand aims to help promote innovation by combining what the clients need (health professionals of the Murician Health Service), and the development of the solutions in the process of co-creation (a collaboration of health professionals together with tech companies). 

The Murician Health Service (EPICO), used the InDemand model to know the challenges of enhancing accessibility for and follow-up epileptic patients. Thus, a call to companies to co-create an innovative solution alongside clinicians commenced. 

After a tender process was launched, Oxiframe (renamed Aircrum IT) was selected to work together with neurologists and patients. After the engagement process, Servicio Murciano de Salud (SMS) prepared an open tender for a solution. Thus, a bigger company named PULSO won the bid and collaborated with Oxiframe to make an innovative solution. 

Final Deal:

The InDemand model has been leveraged to more than 50 procurement innovation projects. It is estimated that more than 200 organizations submitted a bid for the different calls based on the InDemand model from the numerous procurement organizations. 

Additionally, there was a 100% acceptance of the tool which was found to truly help improve communication between doctors and their patients affected by epilepsy. It has heightened patient satisfaction by up to 50% and led to a quality of life improvement for direct communication between doctors and their patients. 

After the success, it was then tested on 54 patients at the Hospital of Cartagena for 2 months and eventually tested on a wider group. Thus, it is a great example of how to use a co-creation model with companies together with clinicians and their patients. 

What Can We Learn From It?

We can learn here that demand-driven co-creation works, at least in the healthcare sector, to address the problems perceived by parties involved in the creation of a solution. 

Together with the clinicians and the patients, the collaboration worked well. The exchange of ideas, needs, solutions, standard practices, and legal limitations has become a valuable component to co-create an innovative solution. 

Example 2The City of Copenhagen Supplying Seasonal and Diverse Organic Fruit and Vegetables

Actual Case:

Copenhagen, the most populous city of Denmark, has set a target for 90% of the food served in municipal facilities to be organic. It has also ensured that it was buying seasonal produce to support efforts of strengthening biodiversity in agricultural production in both Danish and foreign producers. 

It is important to note that “seasonality” is not meant to be the seasons in Denmark. Rather, it defines the season somewhere in the world helping to ensure fairness and transparency. 

Furthermore, an extensive market engagement was conducted to ensure the requirements were ambitious and also achievable. The bidders were also asked to complete the “seasonal wheels’ to demonstrate the varieties of the typically used products available throughout the year. 

Final Deal:

The first contract was issued in January 2014. However, the tender was abandoned due to multiple errors seen in the bids. The contract was reissued in April 2014. Seven tenders were then submitted and only two of those met the requirements. After that, the contract was awarded in July 2014. 

The innovation in the supply and delivery of products, improved relationships with the suppliers, and greater sustainability initiatives in sourcing food were all positive results of the extensive market dialogue. 

Additionally, the organic food market in Denmark has remarkably grown in recent years and the organic food service market increased up to 33% between the years 2013 and 2014. 

What Can We Learn From It?

We should take note that there is a risk in carrying out the innovation procurement process that is susceptible to being abandoned due to a lack of competition. The extensive market engagement Copenhagen has done can be time-consuming. 

However, by building a strong knowledge of the market, it is achievable to produce realistic yet innovative specifications or requirements to attract necessary competition. 

Example 3Catalonia’s Aim to Clean Air through Clean Vehicle Procurement

Actual Case:

Catalonia is an autonomous region in Spain. Its government has passed the responsibility for certain legislative and policy areas, including the environment. The Ministry of Territory and Sustainability is the expert body for environmental policies and leads the promotion of Green Public Procurement in Catalonia. 

The Catalonia government uses GPP to support numerous strategic policies such as reducing negative impacts of consumption and production, promoting eco-innovation and transformation, and supporting other policies that pursue sustainable objectives. 

The government of Catalonia focuses on low-carbon vehicles that align with wider environmental priorities within the region. Air pollution is a specific concern within the wider urban area of Barcelona where nitrogen oxide exceeds the annual limit. 

An Air Quality Plan of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona has brought 40 municipalities together to solve the air pollution problem. Catalonia’s Government approach to combat air pollution is to provide guidelines on the GPP vehicles, government agreements regarding GPP, eco-labeling to identify low-carbon vehicles and the LIVE platform which is a public-private platform promoting sustainable mobility. 

Final Deal:

The GPP guidelines laid out clear and simple criteria that public procurers procurement can follow to buy low-emission vehicles, as well as consider the use of vehicle fleets in the delivery of service contracts. It also includes the maximum energy consumption and technical specifications of the award criteria. 

Additionally, the Catalonia government supports the Catalan Ecolabelling. It is a regional voluntary ecolabel awarded to products and services that fulfill specific environmental quality requirements beyond what is compulsory under the current regulations. 

The result of vehicle-related tenders in the Catalonia region has produced positive impacts on the environment. It is estimated that through its procurement strategy, it has produced energy savings of 2,120 Tons of Oil Equivalent (TOE) and a reduction of 7,166.7 tons of carbon emissions compared to benchmark levels. 

What Can We Learn From It?

Catalonia’s government approach demonstrates that procurement can play a significant role in contributing to wider environmental policies and public health goals. 

Additionally, by aligning the EU national and regional policies, it is achievable to send a clear message to markets and the citizens of Catalonia about the importance of the environment through sustainable activities. 

Example 4The Ministry of Defense of the Kingdom of The Netherlands Procuring Textiles Made From Recycled Fibers

Actual Case:

The Ministry of Defense of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (MODNL) is a large public sector buyer that employs around 58,000 people across the army, military police, air force, and other supporting roles. 

It is also one of the 45 public sectors and private parties brought together by the Dutch Government’s Circular Procurement Green Deal, tasking participants in carrying out two circular procurement initiatives between the years 2014 and 2016 to increase knowledge and accelerate the transition to a circular economy. 

One of the areas of focus of MODNL was textiles because it needed to equip its large numbers of personnel with uniforms and other textile products. However, textile production is linked with numerous environmental and social problems. Ultimately, the energy to transform raw materials and manufacture new fibers in the production of textiles has great carbon emissions. 

Therefore, the MODNL began exploring the market for recycled textiles in January 2014 by publishing a request for information and conducting an open meeting with the textile suppliers. This market engagement aimed to know if it is possible to require recycled fibers to be used in the production of certain items. 

Through its market research, it identified that manufacturers were able to meet the requirements around the use of recycled content. However, MODNL must focus on the items’ ability to perform their use rather than the technical values such as the tensile strength. 

Final Deal:

The contracts awarded in June 2016 are worth approximately $455,000 for towels and washcloths and $1.46 million for overalls. Only six suppliers submitted their bids and only four of them met the tender requirements. 

Now, two Belgian companies supply the MODNL with towels, washcloths, and overalls. The parties will innovate during the four-year term which could result in a higher percentage of recycled materials later on in the execution of the contract.

Subsequently, a separate eight-year contract was also signed for reuse services where a third party was contracted to sort items of clothing for reuse and resale with income being returned to MODNL. Thus, it results in considerable savings for the MODNL.  

What Can We Learn From It?

Circular procurement needs suppliers to find alternative inputs and new ways of working. Thus, to assist innovation, the market engagement conducted by the MODNL found that functional rather than technical specifications provided suppliers with more space to innovate and find new ways to meet the MODNL’s material needs. 

We can learn here that when asking the market to work with new materials or in an innovative way, it is necessary to give them more lead-in and response time to consider and prepare non-traditional offers. 

Moreover, it is important to take note that you should not introduce price ceilings based on existing prices, and costs, as expected on a pilot test, can constrain the development potential of new areas. 

Example 5 — Combining Procurement Model For Sustainable Buildings

Actual Case:

The South Moravian Region has over a million inhabitants and is the fourth-largest region in the Czech Republic. The landscape of the region is distinguished by its highlands as well as the Moravian Karst. The abundance of caves and gorges provides ideal conditions to treat respiratory diseases. 

The regional government aims to build a new treatment facility for respiratory diseases near the town of Ostrov u Macochy. The procurement approach was set up to give the market the chance to show the best they can offer to create the building as aesthetically pleasing, energy-efficient, and a comfortable place for patients. 

The process includes preliminary consultation and market dialogue to test the feasibility of the procedure and to provide a detailed description of the planned procurement process and requirements of the tenders. 

Furthermore, the procurement procedure combined various methods to filter the bids. The tender itself was awarded using a combination of a competitive procedure with negotiation and an architectural design contest. 

Final Deal:

The preparation of the tender process started in April 2018 and the procurement commenced in April 2019 with a total contract value of $6 million. 

Seven suppliers submitted their bids which were to be assessed by an expert independent evaluation committee that recommended the exclusion of one supplier due to flaws in its bid. 

The remaining were then evaluated according to set criteria which are based on the reports of the expert examiners who examined in detail the values offered in the quality of technological and energy solution criteria. 

The contract was awarded to the selected contractor in April 2020. Since then, the construction started in June 2021 and is expected to be done by the end of 2022.

The winning bidder offered numerous sustainable solutions including reusable components of the main construction and interior design layout that enables simple layout adjustments that may be done in the future. The successful bidder also committed to achieving a reduction in the annual consumption of non-renewable primary energy. 

What Can We Learn From It?

We can learn here that preliminary market consultations are crucial when the contracting authority undertakes a new approach to procurement. Additionally, it is important to present the intentions and goals to potential suppliers, get feedback from the market, and find other information significant to prepare the procurement process. 

All parties involved in the preparation of the actual procurement process were sent a request to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the procurement process they utilized. 

Using the BIM method leads to better execution and more efficient operation of the building. Furthermore, as the tender used numerous methods, it is significant to see the effectiveness of the DB approach as it can be an interesting and legitimate way for contractors to implement large-scale projects. 

Procurement Expert’s Insights on Procurement Strategy Case studies

For this article, we asked an experienced procurement expert to share her insights to help answer common questions about case studies regarding procurement strategy.

Nesrin Chabbah
Senior Lead Buyer

LinkedIn Profile: linkedin.com/in/nesrin-chabbeh

1. What do most people get wrong about procurement strategy case studies?

“What’s commonly misconceived about procurement strategy, as evident in the given cases, is its potential to profoundly influence organizational objectives beyond mere acquisition efficiency. Procurement transcends simple procurement; it’s a strategic instrument capable of propelling innovation, sustainability, and social advancements. These examples underscore how procurement, when meticulously strategized and implemented, can yield positive effects not just on operational efficiency but also on the environment, public health, and society at large. It involves harmonizing procurement with grander visions and engaging stakeholders for impactful results.”

2. What should people know about procurement strategies if they are planning to start working on this?

“For those embarking on the journey of devising procurement strategies, understanding that it’s not merely about obtaining goods and services is pivotal. Procurement strategy extends to shaping innovation, sustainability, and social responsibility. Effective strategies align with broader organizational goals, incorporating sustainability, ethical sourcing, and fostering supplier relationships. Engaging stakeholders and fostering transparency is vital for success. Moreover, the ability to adapt strategies to emerging technologies and market shifts is essential for staying competitive and achieving long-term success in procurement.”

3. From your experience, what is the most important thing you learned about procurement strategy case studies?

“The core lesson in mastering procurement strategy is understanding its dynamic and multifaceted nature. It extends beyond the efficient acquisition of goods and services; it encompasses supply chain optimization, innovation encouragement, sustainable practices, and fostering strong supplier relationships. Crafting an effective strategy demands comprehensive knowledge of market dynamics, legal considerations, risk mitigation, and emerging technologies. Flexibility and adaptability are paramount, as strategies must evolve in response to evolving business landscapes and shifting consumer demands. Ultimately, a well-crafted procurement strategy profoundly influences an organization’s overall performance and its capacity to meet objectives both effectively and responsibly.”

4. What tips can you give them to be effective in procurement strategies?

“To ensure an effective procurement strategy, it’s crucial to align with organizational objectives and understand needs and goals thoroughly. Employ data-driven decision-making, leveraging insights for optimal choices. Prioritize risk management by identifying and mitigating potential supply chain risks. Cultivate strong, transparent relationships with suppliers, adhering to compliance and ethical standards. Foster a culture of continuous improvement, integrating sustainability practices, and optimizing costs through strategic negotiations. Maintain clear communication channels and invest in team training for skill development. Regularly measure performance and adaptability, embracing change as a part of the process. By following these guidelines, you can enhance your procurement strategy and achieve better outcomes.”

5. Can you give us examples of procurement strategy challenges and how you solved them?

“Monitoring supplier performance and their resilience posed significant challenges. However, implementing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), conducting monthly meetings, improving communication, and setting clear goals engaged suppliers, fostering responsibility and driving them to deliver their optimal results.”

Conclusion

The five insightful procurement strategy case studies offer valuable lessons for organizations seeking to enhance their procurement processes.

These case studies emphasize the importance of understanding market dynamics, engaging stakeholders, aligning procurement with broader policy objectives, and fostering innovation through collaboration.

By drawing insights from these examples, organizations can tailor their procurement strategies to address specific challenges and achieve more effective and sustainable outcomes.

Frequentlyasked questions

What is a procurement strategy case study?

A procurement strategy case study is a real-world example of how organizations buy things, showing the challenges and choices they face.

What types of procurement strategies are commonly explored in case studies?

Case studies may cover a range of procurement strategies, including strategic sourcing, supplier relationship management, e-procurement, cost optimization, and sustainability initiatives.

What can organizations learn from mistakes in case studies?

Case studies highlight mistakes made by others, offering useful insights into what went wrong and how to avoid similar issues for better outcomes.

About the author

My name is Marijn Overvest, I’m the founder of Procurement Tactics. I have a deep passion for procurement, and I’ve upskilled over 200 procurement teams from all over the world. When I’m not working, I love running and cycling.

Marijn Overvest Procurement Tactics