Purchasing managers/directors, and procurement managers/directors guide the organizationís acquisition procedures and standards. Most organizations use a three-way check as the foundation of their purchasing programs. This involves three departments in the organization completing separate parts of the acquisition process. The three departments do not all report to the same senior manager to prevent unethical practices and lend credibility to the process. These departments can be purchasing, receiving; and accounts payable or engineering, purchasing and accounts payable; or a plant manager, purchasing and accounts payable. Combinations can vary significantly, but a purchasing department and accounts payable are usually two of the three departments involved.
Historically, the purchasing department issued Purchase Orders for supplies, services, equipment, and raw materials. Then, in an effort to decrease the administrative costs associated with the repetitive ordering of basic consumable items, "Blanket" or "Master" Agreements were put into place. These types of agreements typically have a longer duration and increased scope to maximize the Quantities of Scale concept. When additional supplies are required, a simple release would be issued to the supplier to provide the goods or services.