In recent years with growing pressure on profits and (at any rate in the U.K.) state interference in price-fixing, many companies have been devoting more attention to the need to develop procurement policies: skill and foresight in purchasing often being as, or more important a determinant of profitability as marketing ability. Moreover, developments in the food processing industry have focussed attention on the fundamental importance of procurement policies: policies that are very much affected by political, climatic, economic, technical and social changes. Rarely, if ever, has ESOMAR considered the application of research techniques to procurement problems, as a means of helping manufacturers to develop procurement policies which guarantee the input of raw materials essential to their manufacturing and marketing activity. This paper discusses these applications, illustrated with several case histories covering activities as diverse as sugar refining, vegetable freezing, bacon curing, meat processing and the manufacture of potato products.
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