Centralized and Decentralized Purchasing

Function Centralized purchasing

In this type of purchasing all purchasing activities are done at the head office of the organization and the supply effects through Head office to the branch office. It is very common in government organization. In considering a centralized option, a number of critical questions should be considered:

  • How is the buying function to co-ordinate the acquisition of products and services?
  • Where in the organization are buying decisions to be made?
  • How are purchasing decisions and activities to be split between corporate and local facilities?


  • Ability to enjoy economies of scale due to bulk purchases
  • Availability of large trade discounts
  • Better coordination of purchasing requirements through the creation of a single supplier order
  • More efficient utilization of scarce resources among competing facility units
  • Development of specialized professional
  • Centralized purchasing helps to maintain uniformity in purchasing
  • Better layout of stores is possible in centralized stores


  • High initial investment has to be made in
  • Delay in receiving materials from the centralized store by other
  • Centralized purchasing is not suitable, if branches are located at different geographical locations.
  • In case of an emergency, materials cannot be purchased from local supplier
  • Defective materials cannot be replaced timely
  • Fragile items may be destroyed during handling, transportation and
  • Defective materials cannot be replaced

Decentralized Purchasing

Decentralized purchasing is where the power of purchasing is delegated to branch offices and departments to purchase all materials independently to fulfill their needs. Under this method, there is no one purchasing manager who has the right to purchase materials for all departments and divisions. This also happens in multinational companies. The manufacturing company which is running several plants at different locations and manufacture different items may have different type of material requirement, hence necessary to decentralize purchasing power.


  • Materials can be purchased by each department locally as and when required
  • Purchase orders can be placed quickly
  • No heavy investment is required
  • The replacement of defective material takes little
  • Materials are purchased in right quantity of right quality for each department
  • Elimination of transportation

Disadvantages of Decentralized Purchasing

  • Organization losses the benefit of a bulk purchase
  • There is a chance of over and under-purchasing of
  • Specialized knowledge may be lacking in purchasing
  • Fewer chances of effective control of
  • Lack of proper co-operation and co-ordination among various

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *