Types of Purchasing
There are five main ways to buy products in the NHS:
- Go out to tender and agree contract prices
- Use Framework contracts
- Request Quotations
- Spot Buy
To decide on which of the above is best, requires a good knowledge of what is bought, how many and from where? To have this information requires good record keeping, based on standardized descriptions and an effective hierarchical coding system. The standardized record creates the basis for the procurement record of each product or service purchased. This record is updated each time a purchase is made and holds all the details of which suppliers are used and any contract information. A code is added to the record to make it unique and to help gather management information. The code needs to be hierarchical so that information can be gathered at different levels, e.g. what is spent on furniture overall, down to how many individual chairs of a specific design are bought. This information can be used for two purposes.
- To decide where to put most purchasing effort, i.e. where most money is spent
- To monitor expenditure against budget.