News and events Tilburg University

Wendy van der Valk appointed as Professor of Purchasing & Supply Chain Management

Published: 30th June 2020 Last updated: 30th June 2020

Wendy van der Valk was appointed as Professor of Purchasing & Supply Chain Management at the Tilburg School of Economics and Management of Tilburg University on April 1, 2020. The endowed chair has been set up by Nevi, the Dutch Association for Purchasing Management. The teaching and research remit includes stimulating research and teaching in the field of purchasing and supply chain management focusing on three specific themes.


Van der Valk studies how organizations can contract more effectively, in other words: what kinds of contracts between buyer and supplier lead to better results? More specifically, her research concerns the design characteristics of effective contracts as well as the ongoing management of such contracts, also taking into account relational governance. She does so mainly in the context of outsourced business-critical services, like ICT or maintenance. Servitization and performance-based contracting are important trends that involve many questions, for instance, with respect to the differentiation of service offerings, appropriate remuneration structures, and effective collaboration with suppliers. She also studies how contracts (should) evolve over time  to remain effective: after all, contract periods may be lengthy, and during this period, many things may change.

Smart supply chains

Questions related to the rise of big data and their impact on buyer-supplier relations are also dealt with. The Internet of Things, big data intelligence, block chain, and 3D-printing have led to ‘smart supply chains’. Data will play an increasingly important role in buyer-supplier relations, and will thus be an important driver for developing value propositions. However, little is known about how and under what circumstances these developments will enable organizations to operate more effectively. A lot of intelligence will be generated throughout the entire chain, but how does an organization access the data/information it needs; how can it sensibly make data/information available to others, and how will this affect the playing field in which clients and contractors operate?

Socially Responsible Procurement (SRP)

The theme of Socially Responsible Purchasing (SRP), finally, concerns the integration of the concept of sustainability in purchasing processes and decisions. This requires taking into account social and environmental aspects in purchasing decision-making. SRP may contribute to value creation and innovation, at decreasing rather than increasing costs. Furthermore, the topic of servitization connects well with that of the the circular economy.

The professorship thus contributes to a better understanding of the implications of digitalization and sustainability for effective contractual and relational governance of buyer-supplier relations, with specific attention for the role of purchasers as ‘change agents’.


The Supply Chain Management (SCM) course includes a module on purchasing and is offered to 100 to 150 Bachelor’s and Minor’s students annually. The course Purchasing Management is one of three compulsory core courses of the SCM Master, for more than 200 students every year. Moreover, six to ten students every year write their Master’s thesis on a purchasing-related subject. The professorship also provides the Purchasing module in the TIAS Master of Operations & SCM and contributes to courses offered by Nevi. Wendy van der Valk (1979) studied Industrial Engineering & Management Science at Eindhoven University of Technology. After graduating in 2003, she started her PhD research at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, on purchasing business services. After completing her PhD in 2007, she returned to Eindhoven University of Technology as an Assistant Professor. In 2012, she joined the Management Department of the Tilburg School for Economics and Management, where she became an Associate Professor in 2018. In the period of 2015-2019, she was the Academic Director of the SCM Master.

Note to editors

For further information, please contact Professor Wendy van der Valk: phone (+31) (0)13 466 3132, e-mail: