The actions of ‘penny-pinching’ procurement managers could result in broadcasters buying the wrong equipment, the director general of the International Association of Broadcasting Manufacturers (IABM) has warned.

Peter White told Broadcast that although there has been improvement in the outlook for the broadcast equipment sector, recession-induced changes to the way broadcasters buy kit continued to have a major impact on sales.

“Procurement departments now rule the roost and there is a focus on return on investment more than ever before,” he said ahead of next week’s IABM annual conference on 2-3 December.

“Our members are concerned that the current procurement methodology employed by some of the big broadcasters could result in the wrong specification technology being purchased.”

The IABM said the broadcast manufacturing sector decreased by 4.4% last year but should see a bottoming out of the decline during 2010 and a return to growth by the end of the year.

Western Europe is expected to be the most active region next year, although heavy price discounting will put pressure on margins.

“With less focus on leading edge technology, suppliers are going to have to differentiate themselves by providing the best product and service mix to their customers,” said White.

“The focus will need to shift to a greater understanding of customer requirements and modifying and delivering a revised proposition to meet these changes. Customer service and support is going to be ever so important going forward – much more so than before.”