Buygrid Framework (Robinson)

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Shubhi Kotiya
CxO / Board, Germany

Buygrid Framework (Robinson)

The Buygrid framework was introduced in 1967 by Robinson, Faris and Wind. It provided an improved framework for organizational buying compared to an earlier 4-phase framework (Problem Recognition > Buying Responsibility > The Search Process > The Choice Process) by Webster (1965).

According to Robinson et al., industrial buying (nowadays often called: B2B buying) passes through eight stages called: "buyphases". Their Buygrid incorporates a matrix form comprising Buyphases (with 8 purchase decision steps) and Buyclasses (3 purchase situations).


The Buygrid analytic framework for organizational buying situations (Robinson, Faris & Wind, 1967)

The 8 buyphases for organizational buying situations are:
  1. PROBLEM RECOGNITION: The buying process begins when someone in the company recognizes a problem or need that can be met by acquiring a good or service. The recognition can be triggered by internal or external stimuli.
  2. GENERAL NEED DESCRIPTION: Once a problem has been recognized, the buyer has to determine the needed item's general characteristics and the required quantity. For standard items, this is not a very involved process. For complex items, the buyer will work with others—engineers, users, and so on—to define the needed characteristics. These may include reliability, durability, price, or other attributes. In this stage, business marketers can assist buyers by describing how their products would meet such needs.
  3. PRODUCT SPECIFICATION: With a general need description in hand, the buying organization can develop the item's technical specifications. Often, the company will assign a product value analysis (PVA) engineering team to the project. Product value analysis is an approach to cost reduction in which components are carefully studied to determine if they can be redesigned or standardized or made by cheaper methods of production.
  4. SUPPLIER SEARCH: The buyer now tries to identify the most appropriate suppliers, by examining trade directories, doing a computer search, phoning other firms for recommendations, scanning trade advertisements, and attending trade shows. However, these days the most likely place to look is on the Internet.
  5. PROPOSAL SOLICITATION: In this stage, the buyer is ready to invite qualified suppliers to submit proposals. When the item is complex or expensive, the buyer will require a detailed written proposal from each qualified supplier. After evaluating the proposals, the buyer will invite a few suppliers to make formal presentations. Business marketers must thus be skilled in researching, writing, and presenting proposals.
  6. SUPPLIER SELECTION: Before selecting a supplier, the buying center will specify desired supplier attributes (such as product reliability and service reliability) and indicate their relative importance. It will then rate each supplier on these attributes to identify the most attractive one. At this point, the buyer may attempt to negotiate with preferred suppliers for better prices and terms before making the final selection.
  7. ORDER-ROUTINE SPECIFICATION: After selecting suppliers, the buyer negotiates the final order, listing the technical specifications, the quantity needed, the delivery schedule, and so on. MRO items, buyers are moving toward blanket contracts rather than periodic purchase orders. A blanket contract establishes a long-term relationship in which the supplier promises to resupply the buyer as needed at agreed-upon prices over a specified period.
  8. PERFORMANCE REVIEW: In the final stage of the buying process, the buyer periodically reviews the performance of the chosen supplier(s). Three methods are commonly used. The buyer may contact the end-users and ask for their evaluations. Or the buyer may rate the supplier on several criteria using a weighted score method. Or the buyer might aggregate the cost of poor supplier performance to come up with adjusted costs of purchase, including price. The future relationship with the supplier depends on the final review.
As mentioned above, there are three buyclasses or buying situations present in the model:
  • NEW TASK: The problem is new from the perspective of the buying influence and when compared with other problems in the past. Little or no experience exists in the organization, which leads to the gathering of large amount of information and alternatives ways as well as suppliers. New task situations occur relatively infrequently.
  • STRAIGHT REBUY: This is the most common situation. Purchase of the same solution that was considered before. The company possesses experience regarding the matter. Quantity may change as well as suppliers but the selection is made from a previously approved selected group. Needs are considered satisfied and the investment needed to search for better offers on the market is not considered worth.
  • MODIFIED REBUY: The buyer possesses relevant experience. This situation differs from the straight rebuy since new alternatives are considered, without implyinga new supplier. Commonly firms re-evaluate their straight rebuys' and evaluate existing suppliers. Modified rebuy usually occur from those.

The 3 Buyclasses (Robinson, Faris & Wind, 1967)

Successful marketers anticipate and provide what buyers are seeking in each purchasing stage and buying situation, increasing the chances that they will be selected and ultimately build a long-term relationship with their customers.

Sources:
Robinson, P.J., Faris, C.W. and Wind, Y. (1967), Industrial Buying and Creative Marketing, Allyn & Bacon, Boston, MA.
Philip Kotler, (2002). "Marketing Management Millenium Edition, Tenth Edition", 2002, pp. 117-121.
Rui Gonçalves and John C. Vaquer (2006), "Organizational Buying Behavior and Word-of-Mouth", Master Thesis.

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