Prior to 1900, purchasing was recognized as an independent function by many railroad organizations, but not in most other industries.
Prior to World War I, purchasing was regarded as primarily clerical.
During World War I & II – The function increased due to the importance of obtaining raw materials, supplies, and services needed to keep the factories and mines operating.
1950s & 1960s – Purchasing continued to gain stature as the techniques for performing the function became more refined and as the number of trained professionals increased. The emphasis became more managerial. With introduction of major public bodies and intergovernmental organizations, such as United Nations, procurement becomes a well-recognized science.
1970s & 1980s – More emphasis was placed on purchasing strategy as the ability to obtain needed items from suppliers at realistic prices increased.
1983 – In September 1983, Harvard Business Review published a ground-breaking article by Peter Kraljic on purchasing strategy that is widely cited today as the beginning of the transformation of the function from “purchasing,” something that is viewed as highly tactical to procurement or supply management, something that is viewed as very strategic to the business.
1990s – Procurement starts to become more integrated into the overall corporate strategy and a broad-based transformation of the business function is ignited, fueled strongly by the development of supply management software solutions which help automate the source-to-settle process.
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