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Enabling informed and responsible purchasing: helping customers to understand implications and impacts

By Colin Coulson-Thomas


Purpose – Many concerned people are unaware of the full impacts of their buying decisions on the environment. This paper aims to show how people can be helped to behave more responsibly when they buy. Design/methodology/approach – Sales and purchasing support tools can show buyers the implications of different courses of action, and enable them to select the least harmful option. The paper shows how an approach used to improve salesforce effectiveness can be employed in the purchasing arena. Key lessons from early adopters are summarised, and questions posed for training and development professionals. Findings – The tools examined increase the performance of key workgroups such as front line sales, account management and support staff, and make it easier for people to take difficult buying decisions. The paper gives a weed control example, and mentions applications that have yielded a first-year return on investment of over 20, 30 and 70 times. Practical implications – Support tool users experience a range of benefits from extra business and quicker responses to closer relationships with more satisfied customers. Pioneering companies are also reducing cost, risk and stress; and improving quality and compliance. Originality/value – Many people and boards would like to address challenges such as climate change, but they lack a practical and cost-effective way of doing so. The approach outlined represents a cost effective way of demonstrating corporate social responsibility. In doing what they feel is the right thing people can benefit themselves, their supplier and the planet

Topics: H1, HF
Publisher: Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Year: 2010
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