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It seems easy to talk about purchasing. However, this activity also has its specific vocabulary. We’ll see about this topic in this section.

You’ll find in this sheet vocabulary on purchasing and definitions.

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Vocabulary List of Words From A to Z Related to Purchasing


It’s a method borrowed from the Pareto principle, products and services are sorted into three groups in order of decreasing use, storage volume, purchase amounts or other criteria.

Added value:

The additional value given by the company to goods and services from third parties through its labour activity.

Advanced Order Management (AOM):

A digital order life cycle management. It tracks all information and processes, including order entry, inventory management, delivery and aftermarket service. It gives the company and the buyer transparency.

big delivery ship


It’s the study of the competitive market which involves analysing the good practices among the competitors and drawing inspiration from them.

Bidding on Line (BOL):

It’s a specific sale taking place on the Internet. In any way, the sites could be held responsible for any wrongdoing.

Bill Of Material (BOM):

It’s a list of workpieces to be processed, for example to be shipped, received, stored, packaged etc.


It’s when the increase in income is higher than the increase in prices, then the purchasing power increases.

Call for tenders (CFT):

It’s the procedure by which the purchaser selects the most cost-effective offer, with no need for negotiation, and based on objective criteria published beforehand to the buyers.

Capex buyer:

It’s the person in charge of Capital Expenses, that is to say, the investment purchases.

Central purchasing office:

It’s a structure that handles the purchases of its adherents, which may be retailers or wholesalers, it corresponds to the intermediate category of the wholesale trade.

Commitment document (CD):

It’s a written document in which the future buyer sets out the conditions of his or her purchase. It shows a willingness of the future purchaser to be engaged.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM):

It’s a strategy for managing relationships with current and potential customers, it’s based on data collection and analysis.

Delayed Payment Outstanding (DPO):

A payment of services made in an excessively long time, not in conformity with the terms of the contact. Sometimes the payment does not work. This can be a serious handicap for a company.

Delivery In Full On Time (DIFOT):

It’s a measurement of a supply chain’s performance. It’s the analysis of the number of orders delivered on time to the purchaser, with the right quantity and correct products.

Documentary Credit:

It’s a document that commits a buyer’s bank to pay the seller by a certain date, a method that can incur some risks.

Economic Order Quantity (EOQ):

​​​This is the ideal quantity of goods that a company should buy to reduce stock costs, shortage costs and ordering costs. The formula assumes that all demand, ordering costs and holding costs remain constant.

European Article Number (EAN)​​​:

It identifies items or logistic units in a single way. It’s coded in the form of barcodes and can be read by a specific scanner, known as a barcode reader.

​Factory buyer:

It’s a person who selects and negotiates materials or supplies required for the company’s manufacturing process, in line with volume, cost and quality objectives.

Family buyer:

An understanding of the influence of the family on consumer behaviour by studying buying roles, family dynamics and the purchasing life cycle of a family member

Finished Goods Inventory (FGI)​​​:

It’s the third group of a manufacturer’s inventory consisting of products in the sales cycle. These products are finalised, they have gone through the entire manufacturing process and are ready for the consumers to purchase.

​First Expired First Out (FEFO):

Principle that goods with the shortest expiring date must be sold first.

Functional specifications (FSC):

It’s a document of several pages that describes the process of the good’s distribution. It may involve the choice of platforms, the environment or the appropriate tools to be used, as well as the necessary technology enabling the distribution to work successfully.

General Purchasing Conditions (GPC)

They are standard documents adopted by decree which define the administrative implementing procedures for a category of public contracts. Be it works, supplies and services, intellectual products, I.T., project management etc.

General Sales Conditions (GSC)

They’re the general terms and conditions of sales. They provide a summary of information by a supplier to its customer (whether a professional or a private individual), on the legal conditions under which its goods are sold or its services provided. They must be in written form.

Indirect buyer:

It manages the company’s operational purchases such as products, supplies, consumables, services. Indirect purchases have often been less processed than the so-called ‘production’ purchases.


It’s the decision of a company to stop the contract for a business process and its starting in-house. It’s the opposite of outsourcing. It’s widely used in production to reduce tax, labour and transport costs.

International buyer:

He or she prospects from country to country, looking for the best suppliers for his or her company. His or her purpose is to identify the best quality/price ratio products from all over the world.

IT buyer:

It’s a family buyer in charge of Information and Technology purchases. IT purchases may include the purchase of servers, computer hardware, telephony, IT development services.

Just in time:

It’s a management method in which products are purchased in small quantities to reduce the cost of maintaining shop inventory and to provide delivery for immediate use.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI):

It’s a measurement of a company’s performance. This indicator is therefore quantifying and making it possible to determine the impact of an action in achieving objectives, for instance to attract buyers.

Last In First Out (LIFO):

It’s the principle that the last goods or items produced or purchased are removed from inventory first. They will either be fully used, sold or discarded.

​Lead Time​​​:

It’s the period of time to perform a service as set out in the contract. It’s often different from the duration of the assignment.

Letter of consultation:

It’s a letter inviting the selected candidates to submit a tender, and at the same time providing them with the relevant information.

Make or buy:

It’s an Insourcing/outsourcing study, comparing two solutions for sourcing a product. One consisting of producing it internally and the other of buying it from a supplier. Hence the term make or buy.

Make to Order (MTO):

It’s an economic approach where production is only carried out when an order is confirmed. This approach is used for products that are very expensive to hold in stock or for low quantities to produce.

Mean Time Between Failures:

It’s a measurement of random defects rate in a set of components, excluding systematic failures due to. For example, manufacturing defects ‘teething problems’ and wear-out due to ordinary use of the system.


A successful negotiation is a well-planned negotiation. The four-step method of knowing, understanding, convincing, closing allows a buyer to anticipate difficulties and improve the buying process.

Non Quality Sheet (NQS):

It’s a document usually issued after a review or an audit and specifying the details observed to identify quality defects.

Optimisation of purchasing:

Implementation of purchasing methods and tools to make the purchasing department as cost-effective as possible, and meet the challenges and targets set by the strategic purchasing plan.

Order Management System​​​:

It’s a digital management of an order’s lifecycle. It gathers information and process systems, including order entry or inventory management. It provides insight to the business and the buyer.


It’s to express an intention, either verbally or in writing, to buy a product.

girl receiving a delivery

Project buyer:

Someone who manages and coordinates purchasing for a product or a complete project. He or she collaborates with the business teams and is in line with the company’s global strategy. He or she buys raw materials, processed products, services and manufacturing lines.


Acquiring a good, an item in return for payment.

Purchasing Map:

It’s a document that sets out the intended strategy for the purchase, before any significant purchasing activities such as posting a purchase plan or starting negotiations are undertaken.


It’s a tool available to public purchasers as contracting entities. It allows shortlisting the companies likely to meet the requirements of a purchase project. It’s a matter of purchasing efficiency.

Rationalisation of purchases:

It’s the decision to apply best practice in purchasing and to reduce the costs of public ordering. It aims to assess and define needs more effectively and to pool purchases.

Restricted tender:

It’s the process by which the purchaser chooses the most cost-effective offer, without negotiating, on the grounds of unbiased criteria made available to the candidates beforehand.

Supplier repository:

It includes administrative and financial data, contacts, news, organisation of contracts, terms, benchmark products, prices negotiated, forecasted and realised turnover, contacts history, claims…

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