Definition of Procurement – Procurement vs Purchasing

Procurement - what is the difference between procurement and purchasing


Procurement meaning – The difference between “Procurement’ and “Purchasing”

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

“Procurement” is the overarching function that describes the activities and processes to acquire goods and services

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

For further details see The Procurement Process.

Purchasing is a subset of the wider procurement process

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.

Procurement Process


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Download the Infographic

Download the Infographic

Download the full Procurement Process infographic as a PDF. Keep it as an easy reference for the Procurement Process. Share it with co-workers or print it out and keep it close as an aide memoire.

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