Original Research

Challenges facing procurement professionals in developing economies: Unlocking value through professional international purchasing

Marian Tukuta, Fanny Saruchera
Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management | Vol 9, No 1 | a152 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jtscm.v9i1.152 | © 2015 Marian Tukuta, Fanny Saruchera | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 July 2014 | Published: 30 April 2015

About the author(s)

Marian Tukuta, Department of Supply Chain Management, School of Entrepreneurship and Business Sciences, Chinhoyi University of Technology, Zimbabwe
Fanny Saruchera, Department of Consumer Science, School of Entrepreneurship and Business Sciences, Chinhoyi University of Technology, Zimbabwe

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Background: Until recently, procurement was seen as a necessity only. In fact, in many developing economies the profession is still being treated as a ‘back-office’ function. However, not much has been done to explore and address challenges facing procurement professionals in developing economies.

Objectives: The purpose of this article was to examine the critical role played by the procurement function in business and to reveal the challenges faced by procurement professionals in developing economies as well as to suggest solutions to these challenges.

Method: A sequential literary analysis was used, complemented by cross-country qualitative data gathered from one hundred diverse procurement practitioners from Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe. These were primarily participants in a series of procurement workshops run by the researchers from January to June 2014.

Results: Findings suggested that limited recognition, increasing unethical behaviour, poor supplier service delivery, poor regulatory environment, varying supplier standards and poor corporate governance are the main challenges faced by the procurement profession in these countries.

Conclusion: The study’s findings imply that there is limited understanding regarding the role procurement plays in both government and non-government institutions in developing economies. The article suggests solutions which procurement professionals and organisations can implement in order to unlock the potential value in the procurement function.


Procurement; supplier relationships; developing economy; supply chain


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