An Exploratory Study of Procurement Strategies for Multi-Item RFQs in B2B Markets: Antecedents and Impact on Performance



This research explores procurement strategies for multi-item requests for quotation (RFQs) in business-to-business (B2B) markets using responses from 825 purchasing professionals. The study first establishes procurement strategies that differ based on their level of strategic emphasis, i.e., the importance that is placed on the pursuit of four strategic objectives. Underlying objectives, which are obtained via factor analysis, include the focus on price, security of supply, internal procurement efficiencies, and bundle building. Next, cluster analysis is used to derive prototypical strategic approaches. The three cluster groups that emerge possess the same relative ranking of the four objectives, but differ based on the intensity with which these objectives are pursued. The clusters are labelled as the three strategic groups of strategists, opportunists, and responders. The research then explores, using an industrial buyer behavior lens, the impact of environmental antecedents in determining a particular strategy. Environmental variables include purchase importance, market uncertainty, supply base availability, buyer bargaining power, item experience, and supply base experience. Finally, the study tests the impact of procurement strategy on the buyer's perceived performance, suggesting that strategists, placing more emphasis on the pursuit of strategic sourcing objectives, achieve better performance than opportunists and responders.