Innovations not only contribute to competitiveness of the company but have also positive effects on revenues. On average, product innovations account to 14 percent of companies’ sales. Innovation management has substantially changed during the last decade, because of growing reliance on external partners. As a consequence, a new task for purchasing arises, as firms need to understand which suppliers actually do have high potential contributing to the innovativeness of the firm and which do not. Proper organization of the purchasing function is important since for the majority of manufacturing companies deal with substantial material costs which pass through the purchasing function. In the past the purchasing function was largely seen as a transaction-oriented, clerical function but today purchasing is the intermediate with supply chain partners contributing to innovations, be it product or process innovations. Therefore, purchasing function has to be organized differently to enable firm innovation potential. However, innovations are inherently risky. There are behavioral risk (that some partner will take advantage of the other party), technological risk in terms of complexity of products and processes of manufacturing and incoming materials and finally market risks, which in fact judge the value of the innovation. These risks are investigated in this work. Specifically, technological risks which deal with complexity of the products, and processes will be investigated more thoroughly. Buying components or such high edge technologies necessities careful investigation of technical features and therefore is usually conducted by a team of experts. Therefore it is hypothesized that higher the technological risk, higher will be the centralization of the purchasing function as an interface with other supply chain members. Main contribution of this research lies is in the fact that analysis was performed on a large data set of 1493 companies, from 25 countries collected in the GMRG 4 survey. Most analyses of purchasing function are done by case study analysis of innovative firms. Therefore this study contributes with empirical evaluations that can be generalized.
Manufacturing companies invest a significant amount of sales into material resources for production. In our sample, 58% of sales is used for manufacturing inputs, while only 24% of sales is used for salaries. This means that if a company is looking to reduce costs, the greater potential is in reduction of material costs than downsizing. This research shows that manufacturing companies in Croatia did realize material savings in last three years. It is also shown by which technologies they achieved materials cost savings. Through literature research, we found research gap as to which technologies reduce material consumption. As methodology of research four regression analyses are used to prove our findings.