Original Research

Supplier relationship management – anathema for the South African public procurement sector

Micheline J. Naude, Intaher M. Ambe, René Kling
Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management | Vol 7, No 1 | a93 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jtscm.v7i1.93 | © 2013 Micheline J. Naude, Intaher M. Ambe, René Kling | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 March 2013 | Published: 09 July 2013

About the author(s)

Micheline J. Naude, Department of Management, Information Technology and Governance, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Intaher M. Ambe, Department of Business Management, University of South Africa, South Africa
René Kling, Supply Chain Management Education, Australia


The public sector is recognised as being one of the most important customer groups for many suppliers and service providers because of the volume of public expenditure. Supplier relationship management (SRM) is a necessary tool on which businesses in the public and private sectors rely. However, in the South African public sector, despite the intention to boost service delivery through efficient and effective supplier-management processes, the development of sound supplier relationships is a challenge. The purpose of this article is to provide insight into supplier-relationship challenges and to suggest a framework for implementing SRM in the South African public sector. The research presented is based on a survey using both descriptive and exploratory research. Data were gathered through semi-structured interviews with 15 participants at eight institutions in KwaZulu-Natal. Purposive sampling techniques were used. The findings reveal that the main supplier-related challenges that handicap procurement practices in the province are a lack of experience, a lack of affirmable suppliers, threats and bribes, a lack of integrity, an inability to meet delivery deadlines and quality issues. The findings further reveal that supplier relationships in the public sector are of a transactional nature. A five-stage framework is therefore recommended for implementing SRM in the South African public sector and in order to assist government procurement officials to reap the benefits of SRM whilst supporting the requirements of public-sector procurement.


Public Procurement; Public Sector; Supplier Relationship Management; Supplier Relationships


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