What’s the Difference Between Procurement and Purchasing? (Infographic)

March 20, 2017

It’s a good question. We often see these terms used interchangeably, but there are some concrete differences between Procurement and Purchasing such that we think they are two different practices, each with their own set of concerns and skills.

We thought we’d take it upon ourselves to do a summary-style Infographic that highlights some of the core differences between what’s considered “Purchasing” and what’s considered “Procurement.” In short: Purchasing is an activity that’s a subset of the overall Procurement process. But there’s more to it than that.

We should give a caveat: in some professionals’ opinion, arguing about the difference between “Purchasing” and “Procurement” is a matter of semantics. The terms are often interchangeable. But at the very least, the discussion helps give some perspective on two different approaches to how organizations buy the goods and services they need to run. Some organizations are – sadly – still concerned only with “Purchasing” instead of the more nimble and strategic approach of “Procurement.”

Check out the Infographic below!

We hope you enjoyed the Infographic. Here are a few other good sources for further reading on the topic:





  1. Aaron Cretzman

    Wow..these infographics are great. Gives a really good snap shot of important information. And if someone is looking to dig deeper than your website I’m finding has a tons of information!!!
    A job extremely well done!!!

    Aaron Cretzman

    • Argentus

      Thanks very much for the kind words Aaron! Glad you find the site useful.

  2. Abby

    Wonderful. Very helpful. Much appreciated.

  3. kristin abernathy

    I’m finding the content very useful, however, I am having trouble finding out what RF(x) is? It was used in reference on the page that discusses the difference in Buyer vs Category Manager positions…
    Great information here. Big appreciations from Los Angeles!

    • Argentus

      Hi Kristin! Thanks for your comment and glad to hear you’ve found the post useful. RF(x) is a catch-all acronym for requests for vendors to submit. Examples are RFP (request for proposal), RFI (request for information), and RFQ (request for quotation). Procurement professionals will issue RF(x) when asking vendors to provide information/pricing quotes for various products and services they’re looking to buy. Another similar term you might have heard would be “bid.”

      Hopefully this answers your question, but if you have any further don’t hesitate to follow up!

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