Purchasing refers to the acquisition of goods or services that are required to accomplish the goals of the enterprise. Although some people will use the terms purchasing and procurement interchangeably, many will draw a distinction. For some, purchasing is a tactical activity that consists simply of executing routine administrative tasks (such as requesting quotes, placing orders, and expediting) on a reactive basis, outside of the context of an enterprise-focus, while procurement is a more strategic activity that looks at the total cost of ownership and different supply options before a purchasing decision is made. In addition, as noted in the Wikipedia article, procurement is a more advanced function that also includes, among other functions, expediting, supplier quality management, and logistics management.
A best practice is an idea that asserts that there is a technique, method, process, activity, incentive, or reward that is more effective at delivering a particular outcome than any other technique, method, or process. The idea behind a best practice is that, with proper processes, a desired outcome can be delivered with fewer problems and no unforeseen complications. Among all practices, a best practice is the one that is the most efficient and effective way of accomplishing the task. A best practice is typically based on repeatable procedures that have proven themselves over time.
Thus, a purchasing best practice is a proven methodology that, when applied, leads to a best value acquisition. Since purchasing and sourcing are two sides of the same coin, there are many commonalities between purchasing best practices and sourcing best practices, and being familiar with both will lead to better results.
The following posts deal with purchasing best practices: