Collaboration: Purchasing

Procuring materials, labor, and other services is a critical facet of any project, and your Project Team’s reliance on Purchasing can’t be overstated. They’ll help you find what you need, when you need it, and at a competitive price. They’re also skilled negotiators who understand current market pressures. Use these tips to get the help you need from Purchasing while maintaining a strong long-term working relationship.

Why you need them: Purchasing is responsible for negotiating buying agreements for services and materials, placing orders with vendors, and matching purchase requests to approved budget items. In addition, many organizations have procedures in place that act as checks and balances, ensuring the expertise of the Purchasing team is leveraged during any major expenditure.

DO provide detailed information on the item or service you want to buy when submitting a purchase request. The buyer may not be familiar with the subtle differences between similar products, and return policies are rarely in your favor.

DO be clear about your required timeframe for the delivery of materials and use of outside services. Slapping “ASAP” on every order will likely result in additional charges to expedite products or reserve scarce or last-minute services.

DO involve Purchasing during the planning phase to ensure they understand your project’s needs and have allotted sufficient resources to it. Procurement and purchase negotiations take time.

DON’T expect Purchasing to argue your case for additional funding when your purchase requests exceed your budget. You placed the order—it’s your responsibility to ensure you’re staying within the dollars that were approved.

DON’T try to get around Purchasing because you think you can procure an item faster or cheaper. Skilled buyers know the ins and outs of the process, and their approval is often needed before funds will be released to pay for any project-related order.

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