Purchasing Principles and Techniques

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County Procurement Objectives

The National Institute of Purchasing (NIGP), a national organization of public purchasing professionals,  asserts that all procurement functions have essentially the same goal: “Obtaining maximum value for the tax dollar.”1In the procurement professional’s attempt to obtain the goods and services at the lowest price and at the necessary quality level, he/she strives to fulfill certain objectives in the day-to-day endeavors related to the  purchasing functions. What then are the objectives in purchasing? The National Institute of Public Purchasing maintains that the objectives of purchasing are—

  • To obtain the right materials or services (meeting quality requirements) in the right quantity for delivery at the right time (to take advantage of seasonal pricing or special price concessions) to the right place (ensure availability to customers) from the right source (a responsive and responsible supplier) with the right service (to ensure quality) at the right price.
  • To supply end users with an uninterrupted flow of goods and services.
  • To purchase competitively.
  • To place emphasis on quality and best value.2

Spending county taxpayers’ money requires the purchase of goods and services to be purchased in a fair, equitable, and efficient manner. The purpose is to ensure that the public monies are spent properly, legally, and that the best possible value is received for the money. Therefore, the essential objective of the county procurement function is to furnish operating departments with the goods and services they need in the right quantity, right quality, right time, as efficiently as possible, and at the lowest overall cost. The county procurement objective, by law, is to supply responsible bidders a fair and equal opportunity to compete for county business. This is accomplished by complying with statutory requirements and by the county’s purchasing policy and procedures.3

            1National Institute of Governmental Purchasing, General Public Purchasing, (Falls Church, VA: 1991) 1-25.

            2National Institute of Governmental Purchasing, Welcome to Public Procurement, (Herndon, VA: 2001) 4.

            3Welcome to County Procurement, Texas Purchasing Association, 4, January 2004,