What is the definition of procurement? Is it the same as purchasing? The terms are often used, incorrectly, interchangeably. So what is the difference? What does procurement entail and what exactly does purchasing mean? There are numerous, sometimes conflicting definitions and even professionals in the field will often debate the different nuances and meanings of these words as well as other synonyms like ‘sourcing’ and ‘acquisition’. For a good broad definition Wikipedia is good source
As a broad definition, “Procurement” is the overarching function that describes the activities and processes to acquire goods and services. Importantly, and distinct from “purchasing”, it involves the activities involved in establishing fundamental requirements, sourcing activities such as market research and vendor evaluation and negotiation of contracts. It can also include the purchasing activities required to order and receive goods
The term “Purchasing” refers to the process of ordering and receiving goods and services. It is a subset of the wider procurement process. Generally, purchasing refers to the process involved in ordering goods such as request, approval, creation of a purchase order record (a Purchase Order or P.O.) and the receipting of goods.