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12.2: Procurement Plan

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  • Learning Objectives

    1. Describe the role of suppliers.
    2. Describe the role of vendors.
    3. Describe the role of partners.

    After the outsourcing versus self-performing decisions are made, the procurement team develops the purchasing plan.

    The method of purchasing products or services depends on the uniqueness and importance of the product or service. One way to organize the procurement plan is by the type of relationship with the providers of the outsourced goods or services.


    Some of the goods or services are commonly available with little variation in quality or availability. Such goods and services are called commodities. The providers of commodities are suppliers and there are usually several from which to choose. Purchasing commodities from suppliers focuses on achieving the lowest cost. Cost of commodities can often be found in the supplier’s catalog. On smaller, less complex projects, supplies can be purchased as needed from the supplier’s catalog.

    Additional cost savings are often available if large quantities of a commodity are purchased from the same supplier. On larger, more complex projects, a list of materials and supplies is developed from the project cost estimate. This list is provided to suppliers as a request for quote (RFQ), and the suppliers respond with their lowest price. To avoid choosing a bid from a company that will make a promise it cannot keep, many organizations will maintain a list of suppliers that meet the organization’s requirements. These requirements usually include the proven ability to meet the quality and schedule specifications.

    The project management team develops a procedure for requesting a quote. On smaller projects, the parent purchasing organization may process all RFQs. On larger projects, a procurement organization is established with expertise in purchasing. The purchasing team will develop a list of all procurement requirements for the project and develop a procurement schedule that assures the materials will be available to the project when needed.

    The project team develops an RFQ based on the quantity and schedule needs of the project and sends the RFQ to the identified qualified suppliers. The suppliers then develop a quote that lists the specific materials to be provided, the price for each, and a schedule for delivery. The project team evaluates each quote from suppliers and determines that the supplier bid meets all the requirements, and in most cases, the supplier with the lowest price will be awarded the bid.

    RFQ for Housing Contractor

    A housing contractor who is building ten identical houses develops a materials list that includes all the carpentry, plumbing, and electrical supplies needed to build all ten houses. The housing contractor develops an RFQ for all these materials, including the construction schedule, and submits the RFQ to the four largest building supply companies in the region. Each of the supply companies decides to bid on the project and provides a bid for the materials in the RFQ. One of the bidders has the lowest price but is unable to deliver the materials to the job site. The project team calculates the cost of transporting the materials to the job site. After the cost of transportation is added to the bid, it is no longer the lowest total cost. The bidder with the total lowest total cost is awarded the contract.

    Some organizations that do a large number of projects will develop a relationship with one or two suppliers based on developing cost savings for both organizations. This relationship is commonly called a key supplier relationship.

    Key Supplier for Housing Supplies

    The housing contractor develops a key supplier relationship with one or two of the building supply companies. The building supply company would guarantee a 10 percent discount on all materials and the contractor would promise to purchase exclusively from the key supplier. Both organizations save the cost and time associated with preparing the bid. The building supply company plans on a consistent volume of business from the contractor and the contractor can expect priority treatment when supplies are scarce.