Welcome at the TRUSTOMETER © website


Joint purchasing activities only can be succesfull if a sufficient level of trust exists between the participants. This explains the need for a diagnostic tool to analyse the actual level of trust between joint purchasing partners. Based on literature and field research a practical instrument was developed, the ‘TRUSTOMETER’ ©.

The ‘TRUSTOMETER’ © is a diagnostic tool to analyse trust in joint purchasing relationships. Using twelve different conditions for trust it will indicate the level of trust between the joint purchasing participants. Detailed use of the ‘TRUSTOMETER’ © will give background information why certain conditions are not (completely) met and therefore give further direction in how to improve the actual trust situation, including setting of priorities. The tool is a completely new approach in understanding the mechanisms of trust related to joint purchasing. The authors appreciate any comments or feedback given by future users of this tool.

Beluister [hier] het verhaal van de ‘TRUSTOMETER’© in het Nederlands.

Dutch video by the development team.

How to use the ‘TRUSTOMETER’ ©

The tool consists of a simple questionnaire that can be used by all employees and stakeholders working in a joint purchasing environment. The questionnaire investigates twelve separate trust conditions in any organization that influence joint purchasing.

If it is felt that using all conditions makes things more complicated than necessary it is also possible to use only the five conditions that after field research were selected to be the most important. These are information exchange, personal relations (affective trust), culture and informal organisation, feel good and personal feeling, control and distribution of power. Of course more conditions could be added if necessary. Also, one can decide to use only the conditions that are relevant for a specific situation or organization, making the tool indeed a common aid to identify the level of trust. However, it is recommended to use at least the five most important conditions from the research.

An important aspect of using the ‘TRUSTOMETER’ © is that the respondents should try to provide some explaining comments in addition to the scores for each condition. In doing so, insight will be gained in why certain scores are high or low and what can possibly be done about that in order to enhance the general level of trust. When the questionnaires are completely filled in, performing simple calculations (like averaging scores)provides insight into the main conditions of trust that apply to your own organisation. The comments explaining the perceived importance provide support in the reasoning behind the relative importance of those conditions for your organization.

Making small cards with the conditions such as figure 1 can be helpful in discussing the most important conditions in one specific situation. The field research showed that respondents found this a very interesting aid in determining a ranking. The next step could be to organize an open discussion defining the strengths and weaknesses of the trust relationship and to make an action plan to improve where it appears to be appropriate. This exercise can be repeated one or two years later in order to sustain progress and evaluate this key factor.

‘TRUSTOMETER’ © unravells and builds trust!

By using the ‘TRUSTOMETER’ ©, one can identify one's current position with regards to trust in a joint purchasing initiative. Besides the diagnostic value to explain the current status and hence act as a starting point for discussions with the cooperative partner on successes that are lacing or that have been achieved, it has a more prominent value. The ‘TRUSTOMETER’ © can also be used as a guideline for developing specific actions aimed at building a higher level of trust between joint purchasing partners. Therefore, the ‘TRUSTOMETER’ © will not only tell you where you stand when it comes to trust in joint purchasing initiatives, it can also guide you along the path towards (more) successful joint purchasing.

If utilized as suggested, the ‘TRUSTOMETER’ © contributes to the success of any joint purchasing initiative.


English publication in Danish Procurement Journal>>
Management Tools >>
Deal!, publication by the Nevi >>
Facto, publication part 1. >>
Facto, publication part 2. >>
Max Boodie comments the Trustometer >>


The Trustometer has been awarded with the “Nevi Inkoopcompetitie 2006” price. The jury, headed by prof. dr. Arjan van Weele, expresses the importance of the Trustometer for building relationships in business to business markets. The Trustometer provides simple ways to indicate if the basic factors required to build cooperation between partners are available. As such improvements to the cooperation can be identified and implemented.
Nevi Inkoopcompetitie 2006>>

Download the trustometer, it's free to use:

The ‘TRUSTOMETER’ © is developed by:

- Floris Bax, Senior Consultant, Emeritor
- Wim van Es, Manager Purchasing, PPG Industries Fiber Glass BV
- Marco van der Heijden, Manager Procurement & Logistics, REXAM AIRSPRAY B.V.
- Michel Hilgersom, Director Procurement Commercial, KLM NV
- Suzanne de Jong, Manager Facilities & Procurement, Yarden

© May 2006