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University of Exeter Business School

Purchasing and Supply Management

Module titlePurchasing and Supply Management
Module codeBEM3022
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Frank Donkor ()

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description


Purchasing & Supply Management (PSM) is an emerging new field in business management which reflects the worldwide trends of globalised trading and the concept of the extended supply chain. While traditional functions such as buying and logistics have traditionally been considered tactical functions within the firm, ‘PSM’ has grown to becoming a strategic activity which manages supplier relationships, enables network innovation, reduces cost, and mitigates the impact on society and the natural environment. As Purchasing & Supply Management is recognized as one of the cornerstones of 21st century competitive advantage, ‘PSM’ increasingly attracts considerable interest from both industry practitioners and academic researchers.

Additional Information:

Please note that, with the exception of the recommended core text, all of the resources for this module such as lecture slides and PDFs are available on the Exeter Learning Environment (ELE).


Students taking this module will get an understanding of purchasing and supply chain management in the UK and Europe, as well as global sourcing and supplier selection methods around the world. In addition they will learn about global brand names such as: Rolls Royce Engines, Tesco, IKEA, Volvo Car Corporation, Dell, as well as public government organizations e.g. defence, health.


One lecture and a tutorial session in this module is entirely dedicated to sustainability and discusses the implications of the ‘green’ supply chain on global trading. The module also incorporates ongoing research by the module leader on low carbon procurement and the implementation of closed loop supply chains.


As well as developing their team-working and report writing skills, students gain knowledge and an understanding of purchasing and supply chain management which is valuable for employment. The University of Exeter Business School has links with the Chartered Institute for Purchasing & Supply (CIPS), and any students considering pursuing CIPS qualifications should first consult

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of this module is to provide a sound introduction to the basic process, context, and theoretical elements of Purchasing & Supply Management by presenting a step-by-step approach in terms of how it has evolved in its current form. It emphasizes the importance of a strategic approach to managing supply networks often involving complex service-based delivery which spans both the public and private sector. The course also includes an introduction to Transaction Cost Economics and the Resource-based View as part of the decision making process over firm outsourcing and the decision to ‘make or buy’. Designed around 10 x 1 hour lectures, and 10 x 1 hour tutorials, the module seeks to help students understand where ‘PSM’ fits in the overall global business decision-making models of today.

While designed from the perspective of ‘no previous knowledge on PSM needed’, some basic concepts of Operations Management (OM) will be included to help the student build a solid theoretical foundation on which to base further learning. Hence it is helpful, but not essential, for students to have completed the OM module beforehand. The module will use industry examples from recent research, teaching case studies and practical tasks in class. Essentially, the module asks how and why organizations purchase goods & services, choose to sub-contract particular activities and innovate with key suppliers. And, having done so, what drives these decisions in terms of theory and business practice?

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. describe the evolution of purchasing and supply management from tactical to strategic;
  • 2. discuss the significance of supply strategy in relation to examples from industry;
  • 3. discuss the core concepts and principles of 'soft' and 'hard' supply chain and network management practice;
  • 4. evaluate the dynamics of the lean and agile models on supply chain responsiveness;
  • 5. evaluate the impact of managing innovation and emerging concepts such as servitisation and sustainability on supply competitiveness.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. critically evaluate the role of innovative approaches in process improvement such as the use of new technology and the potential impact on supply performance;
  • 7. apply appropriate theory and conceptual frameworks for developing international sourcing and inter- and organisational relationship strategies.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. display enhanced written communication skills;
  • 9. demonstrate enhanced independent study skills

Syllabus plan

The exact title, ordering and specific content of these lectures may vary according to annual updates
to the syllabus and emergence of new developments in the field:

• Introduction to Purchasing & Supply Management (PSM)

• Global sourcing strategy and supplier relationship management

• Sustainable Supply Chains

• Understanding the ‘make or buy’ decision i.e. outsourcing

• Responsiveness: the importance of being Lean and Agile

• Managing purchasing and supply projects

• Product-service innovation and supply chain “servitization”

• Forecasting demand for purchasing

• Competing as supply chains and networks

• Supply Chain Management (SCM): mapping & evaluation

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Learning and Teaching Activity22Lectures
Learning and Teaching Activity10Help classes

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Case study analyses1 hour weekly tutorial sessions from week 1 to week 101-9Oral feedback provided by tutor in tutorial session

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
MCQ test3030 questions, written examination format - 1 hour1-5Online result
Examination702 hours 30 minutes1-9Report posted on ELE

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
MCQ testMCQ test (30%, 1 hour)1-5Referral/deferral period
ExaminationExamination (70%, 2 hours 30 minutes)1-9Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading / core text:

Johnsen, T. E., Howard, M. and Miemczyk, J. (2018). Purchasing & Supply Chain Management: A Sustainability Perspective. 2nd edition. Routledge, T&F: UK

One or two other texts will also be used, accompanied by additional journal article readings

Barnes, D. (2018). Operations management: an international perspective. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Christopher, M. (2016). Logistics & Supply Chain Management. Pearson: UK.

Ford, D., Gadde, L-E., Hakansson, H. and Snehota, I. (2011). John Wiley & Sons Ltd: UK.

Key words search

Purchasing, procurement, supply chain, supply chain management, sustainability

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date