I am in the United States Air Force and work in the information technology community. We utilized many purchasing methods, but the primary source was General Service Administration (GSA). They utilize long term contracts with commercial firms providing large volume discounts on supplies and services (GSA Schedules, 2020) The GSA website allows federal and state organizations to purchase goods in volume at a discount based on the scheduled contract. For large project it allows technicians to build requirements and submit the project for bids for firms that work with GSA. Utilizing this buying center allows technicians and customers to forecast costs throughout the year with a consistent price. It also allowed us to see the price difference between paying for a contractor come out to accomplish a task via having Airmen accomplish the tasks.
Buying decisions vary in the Air Force depending on what you are purchasing. Within information technology project purchases it is required to go through a configuration control board for its initial purchase and implementation. This is a group of individuals that experts that review the request and its operational life cycle (Johnson, Dempsey, Ross, Gupta, & Bailey, 2019). After it has been approved by the CCB it has to be approved by local leadership based on the funding allocated for IT upgrades within the organization. It goes through the checks and balances within the finance and contracting Air Force Instructions it goes out for purchase if it is meets all the requirements.
GSA Schedules. (2020, March 13). Retrieved October 11, 2020, from https://www.gsa.gov/buying-selling/purchasing-programs/gsa-schedules
Johnson, A., Dempsey, K., Ross, R., Gupta, S., & Bailey, D. (2019, October 10). Guide for Security-FocusedConfiguration Management of Information Systems. Retrieved October 10, 2020, from https://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/SpecialPublications/NIST.SP.800-128.pdf
I work for Stanley Black & Decker, which would be considered a company. Although I am not in a position to know all the ins and outs of the buying centers of the company, I know that the buyers are responsible for sourcing the best product for the lowest price to build our tools. The buyers add value by negotiating prices and securing the highest quality and most dependable materials.
For our own brand of products that we manufacture, buyers are tasked with sourcing materials that meet Stanley Black & Decker’s standards and ensuring that they are delivered to our manufacturing plants when needed. When sourcing product from other brands, we negotiate price, delivery time frame, and quantity to be delivered. Then the terms of delivery are agreed upon and once the product is delivered it will be invoiced. Over time, buyers develop a relationship with vendors, which will help with strategic planning in the future (Saylor, n.d.). Once people are more comfortable working together, assuming all ethical standards are upheld, there may be an opportunity to offer special deals or discounts when available.
Saylor, (n.d.). Special Topics in Marketing. Retrieved from https://learn.umgc.edu/d2l/le/content/511827/viewContent/19704174/View