NAPM Southeastern Virginia

Site updated 1/15/14

History of Purchasing and Supply Management


  • Prior to 1900 Purchasing was recognized as an independent function by many railroad organizations.
  • Prior to World War I (1914-1918) Purchasing was regarded as primarily clerical.
  • During World War I (1914-1918) and World War II (1939-1945) Function increased due to the importance of obtaining raw materials, supplies, and services needed to keep the factories and mines operating.
  • During 1950s and 1960s Purchasing continued to gain stature as the techniques for performing the function became more refined and as the number of trained professionals increased. The emphasis became more managerial.
  • During 1970s and 1980s More emphasis was placed on purchasing strategy as the ability to obtain needed items from suppliers at realistic prices increased.
  • During 1990s Purchasing became more integrated into the overall corporate strategy.
  • Current The field is experiencing increasing integration with supply networks and information technology. The field has changed from "purchasing" to "supply management" to reflect the transition from a transaction-based, tactical function to a process-oriented, strategic one.
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Our Mission Statement

To promote excellence in supply management through networking & educational opportunities.