One tool that can help supply management professionals approach supplier investigations that will maximize value is the matrix commonly used to classify different expenditures. The chart below depicts four quadrants, among which purchases are classified based on amount of expenditure and market difficulty involved in sourcing and obtaining the material or service. Market difficulty is defined as the ease of purchasing the good or service. A difficult market can be created by either internal or external forces. Some examples of external forces are a limited number of suppliers, patents, or technological innovations that one supplier has over another. Closed specifications, tight tolerances, and specified suppliers are examples of internal forces that make a market difficult.
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