When it comes to outsourcing the purchasing function, Jim Polak, recently retired as director of general purchasing for Pittsburgh-based PPG, is a believer. He and his company have made substantial forays into the world of purchasing outsourcing with the help of third-party experts and, with a few exceptions, the results have been great.
PPG, which has more than 140 manufacturing facilities and affiliates across more than 60 countries, is a global supplier of paints, coatings, optical products, specialty materials, chemicals, glass and fiberglass. And its shopping list is long. "Five years ago I first talked to our purchasing group and said that we needed to [outsource certain purchasing spend areas]. My concern was with the highly technical areas where it is hard to hire the right person. I believed those categories were an excellent opportunity to look at outsourcing," Polak says.
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