Purchasing involves the activities and related functions leading to the acquisition of equipment, items, materials, supplies or services in support of organization goals.
In the broader sense, purchasing describes the determination of need, selection of the vendor or supplier, negotiation of fair and reasonable pricing and terms, preparation of a contract or purchase order, and follow-up required to ensure timely delivery.
Materials, supplies and equipment are requirements of every organization without which they would be unable to survive much less stay in business.
Having the right materials at the right location at the right time is the key to an efficient, effective organization.
The failure to achieve an efficient purchasing function adds to the cost of doing business, reduces profits and impacts the organization at all levels.
A purchasing agent might summarize his responsibilities as to "buy the right materials of the right quality, at the right time, at the right price, for the right location for delivery on the right date".
The Purchasing data model addresses: