Bain's approach to procurement

We go beyond tactical improvements and provide clients with three critical elements to build a world-class procurement organization.

What we do

World-class companies use procurement as a source of competitive advantage but many organizations still undermanage this treasure chest because they lack a predefined, systematic playbook for buying better and spending better, and making the savings stick.

By taking a more comprehensive approach to what they buy and how they buy it, companies can reduce cost and free up cash. Full-potential savings programs can average 8% to 12% of total procurement costs and as much as 30% for some categories. Typically, these are sustainable cost savings that can be followed by a further 2% to 3% cost reduction annually. Furthermore, strategic procurement efforts often result in shorter cycle times and supplier-led product innovations.

Despite the increasing recognition of procurement's importance, a recent Bain survey found a growing gap between what corporate leaders expect and what their supply management teams are able to deliver:

  • Fifty percent of supply management executives interviewed considered their procurement organizations ineffective.
  • Sixty-five percent admitted they don't measure procurement's performance in creating economic value and are unable to link procurement savings directly to their P&L.

Bain's procurement consultants have worked on hundreds of engagements globally across all major industries, helping clients create world-class procurement organizations that can reduce their cost base, strengthen their supplier base and make the results stick.

Bain procurement quote
Our Approach

Our procurement experts work with companies through the diagnostics and implementation phases of the procurement program:

  • Diagnostic: Together with our clients, we begin by defining each organization's starting point and identifying the right enablers that will help the organization achieve full-potential savings. To realize these savings, we develop a tailored action plan for each spend category. Some companies may find that the key enablers are the development of an optimal global procurement footprint and international sourcing capabilities, while the most effective tools for others may be KPI dashboards, IT support systems or incentive structures.
  • Implementation: Next, we apply our proprietary tools, together with our "Triple A approach" to Assure, Amplify and Accelerate the savings. Bain ensures the successful implementation of all purchasing initiatives and mitigates risk with change-management support through our Results Delivery approach.

Our procurement diagnostic is based on three key elements:

PowerCo - Procurement opportunity
  1. Bain Spend X-ray: Creating a clear, complete picture of companywide purchasing spend is a critical first step, whether it is managed centrally by procurement or within the relevant functions or business units. Bain brings best-in-class software and service providers to deliver highly accurate spend data visualization and analysis. The automated spend cube software tool provides a pragmatic, visual overview of material group, supplier and structure by business unit.
  2. Procurement savings: Bain’s Buy Better + Spend Better℠ playbook applies a rich set of lenses to identify savings opportunities—proprietary spend and savings benchmarks, category expertise spend drivers and complex analytics. By taking a broader and more integrated view of the savings opportunity, Bain goes beyond optimizing prices and suppliers to also focus on changing design specifications, improving demand management and understanding the total cost of ownership. Bain ensures that you realize the savings from these traditionally overlooked opportunities with our Bain Results Tracker hosted software tool, which lets your team monitor progress across multiple projects and enables your executive team and business leaders to track savings in real time.
  3. Results sustainability: Bain helps build the right operational model, talent, capabilities, organizational structure and alignment to make results stick. This includes a clearly defined training program, Bain Procurement Academy, executed by our staff to guarantee sustainable and repeatable processes and outcomes.

Going all in, Bain will provide training and proprietary systems and playbooks to ensure your success long after Bain's engagement has ended.

Client results
We share our clients' ambitions. We work to understand their reality and deliver true results—focusing on strategic decisions and practical actions. And we align our incentives with our clients' objectives, so they know we're in it together.
We develop insights that work for our clients. Our approach and recommendations are highly customized and lead to practical actions. Visit Bain Insights to read more, or stay current on the topics you care about most by downloading the Bain Insights app today.
Our team

We work as an integrated part of your team, from frontline to C-suite, to deliver true results and make the changes stick.

Our leadership team

  • Klaus
  • Klaus Neuhaus

    Partner, Global Product Leader for Procurement


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  • Wulf
  • Wulf Weller

    Partner, EMEA Product Leader for Procurement


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  • Sam
  • Sam Thakarar

    Partner, Americas Product Leader for Procurement


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  • Raymond
  • Raymond Tsang

    Partner, APAC Product Leader for Procurement


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In addition to the leaders listed above, we have an extensive and diverse team of experts ready to serve the needs of clients worldwide. Please contact us to submit a business inquiry.