Ignite Procurement: How to gain control of maverick spend

Procurement Magazine breaks down Ignite Procurement’s insights on how organisations can gain control of maverick spend in their operations

What is maverick spend?

Maverick spend - which can also be called rouge spend or unmanaged spend - can account for as much as 80% of an organisation’s total spend. The term refers to any purchases made outside of agreed contracts, channels, suppliers, and prices (i.e. the pre-estalibshed policy). 

Common causes of maverick spend

Maverick spend is commonly seen in indirect spend and low-visibility tail spend that include multiple small transactions. 

Ignite Procurement highlights that some of the most common causes of maverick spend include:

  • Buying from unapproved suppliers or channels
  • Buying unapproved goods and services
  • Buying from an approved supplier but at a price different than the negotiated/contracted one
  • Buying from an approved supplier at the right price but through an unapproved buying channel

What are the ramifications of maverick spend?

Considered a bane for most procurement functions, the Hackett Group identifies that 29% of indirect spend is off-contract. This can be a sign of bad practices - poor visibility and policy violations.

The group also indicates that 10% of maverick spend is typical for a non-mature procurement function, 5% for a world-classs organisation, and an even bigger problem for large companies spread across multiple locations. 

According to APQC (in 2019) organisations with greater than or equal to US$500mn in annual revenue maverick spend accounts for 2.5% of more of total purchases, and 1% for top performers. 

“Let us see how it looks in terms of dollars: For companies with US$1bn in the yearly purchase, this means having US$10mn in unmanaged maverick spend,” commented Ignite Procurement.

The effects of maverick spend

“In addition to draining your savings, costing you time and resources, every maverick purchase undermines the impact of your procurement activities and pushes your company away from the bottom line,” said Ignite Procurement.

Some of the various effects include:


How to reduce maverick spend and drive savings in five steps

  • Investigate and understand the root causes
  • Plan your initiatives
  • Make sure that contract information and procurement policies are easily accessible
  • Regularly report to relevant stakeholders
  • Follow up, track, and ensure to take necessary actions

To find out more, click here.


Featured Articles

COP28: Why suppliers are critical for net-zero

With the arrival of COP28, why are suppliers and procurement teams crucial in net-zero efforts?

Panasonic’s supplier diversity strategy

Panasonic’s Supplier Diversity Programme was established to ensure small businesses are offered the maximum opportunities to do business

US Army: What is the Army Contract Writing System?

The US Army Programme Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems has deployed a new Army Contract Writing System (ACWS)

Gartner: Lack of procurement talent to meet future needs


Electrolux recognises excellence in supplier awards

Supply Chain Management

Candex funding echoes Amazon Business procurement report

Digital Procurement