Purchasing and supply – also known as procurement – focuses on sourcing, pricing and buying the right things, at the right price and at the right time in order to deliver a service or product. Effective purchasing can help an organisation to reduce costs, maintain quality and manage the levels of risk to its supply chain.

A recent assessment by consultants Ernst & Young suggests that some NHS hospitals in England are paying over the odds for a variety of supplies. The snapshot investigation looked at 10 NHS hospitals and found the prices paid for identical supplies varied dramatically.

In February 2011the National Audit Office (NAO) concluded that better procurement could help save the health service half a billion pounds a year. (BBC, 19th November 2012)

For the oil and gas industry with its high levels of risk, the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) is providing training to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of purchasing and supply. OPITO, the focal point for skills, learning and development in the oil and gas industry, undertook a labour market survey of the industry which identified a sector-wide skills shortage. Oil & Gas UK then undertook a supply chain survey. This showed that there is both a current shortage and a likely future need for purchasing and supply chain specialists for the oil and gas industry.

…(Click here to view the associated lesson resources)