Purchasing Procedures For A Well Run Purchasing Department

In a well run purchasing department there is always a set of purchasing procedures.  This is usually a formal document or manual that sets out each person’s responsibilities in the purchasing cycle as well as detailing each of the specific purchasing procedures.

There are a number of standard purchasing procedures that you will find in most purchasing departments these are:

  • Purchase from Key Suppliers. This is where you are purchasing from your normal set of suppliers that all have Master Agreements.  This is a fairly painless procedure that can often be done automatically by your computer system.
  • Ad hoc Purchases.  In times of unusual selling activity or when an unusual item is required there may not be an agreement with a supplier to supply these items. This procedure allows you to make these unusual requests.
  • Large Purchases.  There may be a time when a large piece of machinery of computer system is required.  In this case the purchase is usually put out to tender and several companies are requested to bid for the opportunity to meet this requirement.  This procedure is not used often but is usually very well defined due to the potential risk to the company and the high costs involved.
  • Change of Purchase. Sometimes purchases are made but then have to be changed for some reason.  This is particularly true when standard orders are placed and some change in the market demand or manufacturing process happens.
  • Goods Received. There have to be procedures to ensure that the requested goods are received, counted and stored in the correct manner.
  • Goods Damaged or Short. There are times when the order you receive is not that which was ordered, there may be damages or shortages. Obviously the amount you pay must be changed; the supplier notified and damaged goods returned.
  • Payment. Obviously your suppliers want paying and whilst your computer system can deal with the actual payment, the canny business does not pay until they have to.
  • Stock. It is important that the purchasing department ensure that they are not over or under ordering and that all purchased items actually reach the stock room.
  • Contracts and Contract Renewals. All suppliers provide their best terms when there is a contract in place. This can often be dealt with by the Master Agreement, but these have to be put into place and renewed.

As you can see there are a considerable number of purchasing procedures that need to be set up.  Luckily a computerised purchasing system will provide a lot of them but staff still need to understand them and have a number of customised purchasing procedures to work to.

The efficient purchasing department will have the purchasing procedures written down so that all can find and work to them,


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