The next step: The use of a central procurement office (when it exists)

The notion of a central procurement office refers to pooled procurement in order to improve overall efficiency.

The scope of action of a central procurement office can be done according to the type of purchase: public purchase with reference to a legal basis around the notion of public procurement, or private purchase with reference to commercial law at the national or international level.

There are several different levels of action, the most relevant being the listing of vehicles intended for these members.

A central procurement office must facilitate superior procurement:

  • from a technical point of view: vehicles are defined by specialists thanks to the shared operational experience of the members of the central procurement office. Consequently, the initial definition will take into consideration the technological intelligence, the assessment of the vehicles on the market, any potential adaptations, the choice of facilities and their adaptation to specific conditions;
  • from a legal point of view: the procedure is carried out by the central procurement office which bears the risk. This is all the more important in the context of public procurement. Consequently, the procedure will be deemed to comply with the applicable regulations. In addition, it provides a guarantee of transparency. Finally, the central procurement office prevents the buyer and/or the end user from having a direct contractual relationship with the supplier and therefore minimises the risk of influence peddling or other forms of corruption, etc.;
  • from a economic point of view: the listing or any other form of intervention from the central procurement office is based on the pooling of resources and the consolidation of purchases. Consequently, the supplier agrees to economic conditions based on the hope of a certain volume and therefore each member of the central procurement office benefits. Similarly, by pooling the processes, it saves money by only responding to a single procedure. In addition, given that the core business of the central procurement office is to negotiate contracts, the negotiation approach will be much more structured than it would be with a single buyer. Finally, it will be able to steer certain forms of product standardisation by working with its members on the standardisation of needs. This will improve the industrial process and the economic conditions of production, hence the selling price.

It should also be mentioned that it is significantly cheaper to use a central procurement office when implementing the procedure. Indeed, the buyer is no longer responsible for sourcing, defining the vehicles and drafting the documents. Neither are they responsible for all the legal and administrative phases of a public purchase.

The potential gains are therefore significant and these savings will only be reduced slightly by the remuneration of the central procurement office.