Supermarket buyers believe that their frequent job-hopping has a negative impact on their business, according to research carried out by The Grocer.
A reader panel survey of buyers also showed that relationships with suppliers were likely to improve if there was less job movement.
However, only 17% of the panel thought it was a deliberate strategy for their company to rotate buyers around different categories regularly.
Even so, half of the panel had in fact changed their jobs over the last 18 months and many believed a year and a half was the minimum time a buyer should stay with a category.
One buyer said: “We lose expertise and information as well as relationships. It is not only disruptive to the buyer-supplier relationship, but to stores and central operations. A buyer should remain in a category for at least two years.”
Constant fixture and product churn, loss of expertise, an inability to evaluate the previous season’s trade and a loss of respect and trust from suppliers were all reasons to criticise buyer churn.
However, most of our panel also believed that benefits could be had from a change of category.
As one buyer explained: “I feel that it can be negative for a buyer to be in a position for too long, for example more than two years, as you can become stale. It can help to have a new set of eyes looking at a problem.”
A few buyers also highlighted the problem of ‘supplier churn’, saying that the turnover of national account managers was also very high.