Purchasing Departments

Find purchasing departments and procurement offices. Purchasing departments provide information on purchasing, procurement, purchase orders, RFPs, FRQs, bidding, contracts and contracting, proposals, evaluations and processes.

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About Purchasing Departments

What is a Purchasing Department?

A Purchasing Department is a government agency responsible for overseeing the process of acquiring the goods and services needed by other government departments and operations. The Purchasing Department, often referred to as the Procurement Department, may be organized as a division within a Finance or Administrative Services Department, or it may be a separate department. Purchasing Departments serve as a centralized resource for the organization and its departments in all procurement processes.

Typically, the Purchasing Department's activities involve a combination of directly purchasing goods and services on behalf of the organization, supporting other departments in their purchases, and developing and implementing procurement policies that guide the process for acquiring goods and services.

Procurement policies are designed to ensure that government agencies take steps to obtain the best pricing and purchasing terms for the items and services they acquire, as well as ensuring fairness to potential vendors and service providers. Among other things, the policies specify the internal approval process for initiating and finalizing purchases and the types of purchasing processes to be used for different acquisitions. These policies also ensure that offices making purchases involving relatively low dollar amounts obtain a minimum number of quotes before making a purchase, while larger purchases often require a more rigorous process involving a Request for Proposals (RFP), Request for Qualifications (RFQ), sealed bids, or other formal procedure.

Purchasing Departments often help other agencies within the organization to develop the specifications for purchases, including the documents required for issuing RFPs, RFQs, and bidding opportunities. Purchasing Departments often guide other agencies in the process of obtaining bids and proposals, and they participate in the selection of vendors awarded contracts. They also assist in the execution and implementation of contracts and in making necessary change orders.

Many Purchasing Departments use job order contracting, blanket purchase agreements, and similar tools to streamline the acquisition of goods and services that are frequently or routinely used by the organization. These tools allow agencies in the organization to obtain certain goods and services from a pre-determined pricing list, without having to conduct a separate process for each purchase.