Understand your purchasing pipeline

Who contributes to purchasing decisions at your institution, and how are decisions made?

Educate all staff

Although it is easy to think of procurement and sourcing as a supply chain responsibility, in reality, local and diverse purchasing transcends many departments: clinicians, department heads and administrative staff may need to consider different vendors or invoicing practices. This process of aligning staff to these new priorities takes time in large institutions.

Better understanding all of the actors and key cost thresholds in your institution’s purchasing process will enable you to circumvent potential bottlenecks and identify opportunities to shift practices. It will also highlight which staff are involved, and where to target education efforts. Promising practices include presentations at monthly departmental staff meetings, requiring mandatory professional development training hours dedicated to local and diverse spending, communications from senior leadership, and one-on-one conversations.

Steps of the procurement process

Describe how these processes unfold within your institution. Does the process differ by contract size? By department? Do different staff oversee different areas of spending? Are there points in the process that are easier to change or people with whom to work? 

Below is a list of common actors and potential cost thresholds that may trigger different policies and practices within your institution. For each cost category of spend, map out the potential paths a contract can take within the institution and name the relevant staff members

Common Actors

Often, individuals outside of the purchasing department can play a role in product selection, budgeting, or contracting. Identify the staff members that have a part in your purchasing process, and those who can help implement new processes.

Staff and patients using the products
Department heads and budget holders
Supply chain and procurement staff
Supplier diversity staff
Legal counsel
Accounting and invoicing staff
Supply chain leadership
C-suite and board leadership
Community engagement staff
Common Contract Thresholds That Shape Bid Processes:

Practices such as requiring a certain number of local, diverse vendors for larger contracts or requiring board review for long-term contracts can help institutionalize and prioritize inclusive, local sourcing strategies. Identify what your current processes are for bids of varying sizes, and what existing policies could be shifted to facilitate working with more local, diverse vendors.


Below $50,000
Above $200,000
Short-term contracts
Long-term contracts

(Substitute the ranges listed above with your institution’s actual ranges)

Common Steps in Supply Chain Decision Making

Inclusive, local sourcing does not begin at the point of purchase. What factors go into your sourcing process, and where might barriers to working with local, diverse vendors exist?

Budgeting and priority setting
Deciding on product specifications
Contract drafting
Bid solicitation
New vendor outreach
Contract decision making
Vendor review and approval
Contract negotiations and signing
Vendor payment
Vendor feedback
Monitoring and compliance
Bid evaluation
Future contract opportunities and planning


[Space for notes]

What would an internal process of culture building and staff education around the importance of inclusive, local sourcing require? What points in the purchasing process will require additional focus and attention?

Measure your supply chain baseline

Where and who are you currently purchasing from?

Survey your procurement policies and practices

What policies and processes are working, and which are barriers to success?

Identify your partners

Growing the capacity of local and diverse vendors in underserved communities doesn't have to happen alone—who else is on your team?

Map your community's assets

How can you link with existing networks and efforts to support local and diverse purchasing?

Scale and sustain impact

How do you institutionalize priorities and create organizational alignment?