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Purchasing was established as a centralized operation to control and reduce the cost of acquiring supplies, materials, equipment and services.  As such, the unit provides timely, effective and efficient procurement services to departments and agencies, and to vendors doing business with Oakland County.

Each year, Oakland County Government spends a major portion of it's annual budget on the goods and services necessary to its day-to-day and long-term operations.  This represents a tremendous opportunity for the vendor community. With a most recent budget expenditure in excess of 500 million dollars, governmental operations are comparable in size to many other large organizations. Oakland County depends on the vendor community to provide those goods and services economically, reliably, and in a timely manner.

The County has a long-time policy of using a formal, competitive procurement process in which all vendors are evaluated with equal consideration.  Once a need has been identified, Purchasing will solicit the appropriate members of the vendor community for pricing and purchase information.

A solicitation can take the form of a request for quotation (RFQ) which is used for most commodity based items; a request for proposal (RFP) which is used for many contracted services; or qualifications based selection which is used primarily for architectural and engineering services. 

Once the solicitations are returned, the process of selecting the successful vendor begins.  This selection process may involve the use of various criteria including cost, delivery lead time, payment terms, vendor history or past performance, experience, location, reference checks, etc. 

The successful vendor is issued a purchase order for a one-time purchase, a blanket order for long-term repetitive supply purchases, or a contract when some type of service is required.