By Susan Avery
MRO procurement is a vital and valued cog in the machinery of an organization.
That’s according to results of a new survey of My Purchasing Center readers that examines the role and responsibilities of MRO procurement. A year ago, a similar survey that profiled the procurement professional found that 52% of respondents are responsible for sourcing MRO goods and services.
MRO stands for Maintenance, Repair, Operations.
The 2015 poll shows that MRO is a challenging spend category for procurement to manage, and the MRO buyer is accomplished and sometimes well compensated.
And while many dislike the word buyer when used to describe a procurement professional, it is the title many survey respondents use to identify themselves. Nearly 28% say “buyer” most closely resembles their current title.
Twenty-six percent say the title purchasing or procurement agent best describes their responsibilities, and 22% are managers. Other procurement titles responsible for buying MRO are: Director, CPO and vice president. Still others are called coordinator.
As expected, MRO buyers report to procurement directors and vice presidents, with some answering to the CPO and even the CEO. Others report through operations, finance and supply chain organizations at their companies.
Sixty-one percent of MRO buyers are based at corporate headquarters. The others work at plant locations. A small number of respondents say they work for state or local government. Some telecommute.
MRO buyers are loyal to the procurement profession. Fifty-five percent have been in the role for more than 10 years. In fact, one respondent indicates that he’s preparing for retirement after working in procurement for 46 years (and wants to share all his knowledge with a young colleague who’s taking on the responsibility). Another 21% of survey respondents have been responsible for acquiring MRO goods and services for at least five years.
For some MRO buyers, that longevity equates with greater compensation. Twenty-five percent of respondents earn more than $80,000 annually. Another 48% have salaries that top $40,000 a year.
Salary is based on procurement performance at managing cost, say 94% of MRO buyers responding to the My Purchasing Center survey. Quality, delivery and service are other metrics management uses to measure MRO procurement performance.
How They Buy
Thirty percent of MRO buyers are responsible for bugets of more than $5 million annually. Another 18% manage spending of more than $1 million.
MRO buyers are responsible for sourcing spare parts (76%), industrial supplies (76%), health and safety products (73%), electrical products (71%), and hand and power tools (64%). Respondents were asked to indicate all the categories they’re charged with purchasing.
In addition, MRO buyers also source fasteners (64%), chemicals (63%), cleaning products (63%), HVAC (57%) and material handling equipment (57%). Still others source lubricants, office supplies and IT, and some services.
To view, please click on images to enlarge
Sourcing all these categories for internal customers and key stakeholders throughout an organization presents MRO buyers with more than their share of challenges. Often these are related to the sheer number of parts numbers as well as the suppliers they have to manage to deliver to those customers. They also tell My Purchasing Center that sometimes they could use more support from top management. Other big challenges in the words of survey respondents are:
Despite the roadblocks, MRO buyers continue to plow ahead and excel at their jobs, most often responding to issues they encounter with original and creative solutions. The survey asks MRO buyers to describe some of their accomplishments in 2014. Here’s a quick sampling:
Looking ahead, 64% of MRO buyer respondents are optimistic about economic and business prospects in the coming months. Another 25% see no change in prospects in 2015.
Also see the My Purchasing Center articles My Purchasing Center Profiles the Procurement Professional and Procurement Changes in the Past 10 Years.
Susan Avery is Editor-in-Chief at My Purchasing Center. She writes articles, blogs and white papers and manages and creates other content for the online procurement and supply management publication. She produces and moderates roundtable discussions, podcasts, webcasts and video interviews. Susan has 30 years experience covering procurement and supply management for Purchasing magazine and Purchasing.com.
George E. Krauter
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