Purchasing is a department within the financial division of a company that ensures supplies and materials required by other departments are procured efficiently. Everything ordered for every department must go through the purchasing department. Even though companies have different purchasing guidelines, all companies have standard purchasing procedures.
Every service, material or supply requested by each department must be submitted as a purchase order. This purchase order is an accounting number to ensure the correct amount is paid to the vendor or supplier. The number also tracks the order to make sure it is received in a timely manner as well as in the desired quality and quantity needed. The purchase order is also used by the vendor or supplier when billing the company after delivery of the order.
The purchasing department is responsible for finding the product, service or supplies requested. A purchasing agent finds different suppliers, requests quotes and decides which vendor meets the needs of the department requests. The purchasing procedure outlines the process by which the purchasing department makes quote requests from suppliers and vendors. Each department manager must inform the purchasing department about the exact item required, the specifics of the items desired and the quantity necessary to operate the respective department.
Once the departments have given the purchasing department the information about the service, supplies or material required, the purchasing agent monitors the order throughout the process. The purchasing agent assigned to the order must follow up with the vendor in case there is a change or update and monitor the order until it has been received. After the item has been received, the purchasing department ensures the order is correct and within the contracted specifications.