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In a company, a consumer is understood to mean any point that consumes materials, merchandise , spare parts or services or generates waste .

More detailed information

The production position z. B. is directly dependent on the material, in the event of disruptions in the supply of materials there is a risk of downtime. Areas such as research and development or administration are not as important; here other factors of production are of greater importance. The decision as to whether each individual or only specific department of a company can regulate procurement autonomously or whether this is done via a central “purchasing” department is a question of organization . If purchasing is regulated decentrally, the supply chain looks like this: supplier - consumer - customer. In the case of central purchasing, materials management is pushed as a border system between the supplier and the consumer. The user becomes an internal customer in the company and the supply chain takes the following form: supplier - materials management - user - customer.

If one takes into account the great potential for rationalization and savings (concentration of purchasing power, easier identification of requirements, lowering of stocks, use of specialists, improved overview of financial requirements, prevention of dubious actions, ...) priority should be given to a central procurement office. If there is an organizational separation of the consumer and the procuring body, the general materials management principles must ensure order and convergence between the various company areas. From the point of view of the consumer (e.g. the “Production” department), security of supply is of fundamental importance, which will be reflected in a desire for a larger warehouse, with large production lots being preferred. The financial sector, on the other hand, will push for a lowering of the capital tied up in inventories, strive for favorable purchasing conditions, and point out that the material costs essentially determine the manufacturing costs and must be reduced.

The material management characteristics of the consumer are the required range (type / quality), the required quantity, the mentioned material costs and conditions. There is no doubt that the consumer cannot change his material management position at will or is bound by upstream dispositions. So determine z. B. the production program (type, quantity, quality of the products) or the organizational type of production (see production type ) the decisions of the consumer "production". However, this does not mean that all decisions about the range, costs and quantities are withdrawn from the consumer.

The majority of consumers tend to overestimate their needs in terms of quantity, quality and timing. Required quantities that have been granted to a consumer are often misunderstood by them as a standard and efforts by materials management to reduce stocks are reluctantly pursued. The relationships between the various areas and interests are therefore not free of conflict.

User-related tasks are therefore on the one hand the product range decision and on the other hand the quantity decision. The required types of materials and their quality are determined by the manufacturing process or the specifications of the construction. But it is important to seize opportunities on the procurement market: Are there other, cheaper providers? Is it possible to use alternative materials? Are price upper limits defined for procurement, analogous to the sales decision about the lower price limit? Are the quality requirements appropriate? Decision-making aids are the value analysis as well as considerations regarding a range selection and in connection with this, standardization , type adjustment and the use of CAD . The decision about the required quantity usually relates to a specific consumption period. Consumers will only be able to justify "their" quantities if they are well justified or determined by manufacturing specifications. This is the only way to prevent interventions by materials management / finance.


The need for support is in the computer , a requester for IT services provided by a Bedarfserbringer (service providers, service providers) must be provided. The consumer defines his requirements and determines the budget. The quality of the IT services to be provided can be specified in service level agreements (SLAs) together with the service provider.

In the context of official eavesdropping measures, the group of agencies authorized to query is often summarized under the term consumer. This results in a certain blurring of this group.