Digital/web-based technology in purchasing and supply management: A UK study

David Gallear*, Abby Ghobadian, Nicholas O'Regan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - To date little is known about the actual level of utilisation of digital/web-based interaction technologies in purchasing and supply management (SM) in the UK. This paper seeks to address this gap in the extant knowledge through empirical research in a UK setting. It examines the level of usage, the uses, the perceived benefits, and future perspective on the use, of web-based technology in purchasing and SM. 

Design/methodology/approach - An empirical survey of UK-based organisations was undertaken. Information simultaneously collected on the buyer-supplier relationship orientation of the firms in the sample was used to test the proposition that the use of web-based technology leads to stronger collaborative relationships with suppliers. 

Findings - Data obtained from 156 valid responses indicated that six in every ten organisations use web-based technology to support purchasing and SM activities, but that the usage is lower in small to medium-sized enterprises. The main uses reported are for communicating with suppliers, for marketing products/services, and for locating technical data. Making purchases over the internet was significantly more prevalent in organisations exhibiting relatively more partnership orientation. 

Practical implications - The findings provide only limited evidence in support of the proposition that the deployment of web-based technology leads to stronger buyer-supplier relations. However, findings do suggest that the effectiveness of the purchasing and supply function can be enhanced through greater use of web-based technology for online purchasing and for efficient consumer response. 

Originality/value - The paper establishes salient UK managerial perception on the strategic and operational importance of web-based technology adoption in purchasing and SM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-360
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Manufacturing Technology Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2008


  • Buyers
  • Communication technologies
  • Purchasing
  • Suppliers
  • Supply chain management
  • United Kingdom


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