The Administration and Politics of Tokyo

By Charles A. Beard | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
THE PURCHASE OF MATERIAL GOODS

IN the discharge of its functions the city government must buy immense quantities of material goods--commodities, equipment, machines, etc., widely varying in kind and quality. If the materials are carefully bought, with the skill of a good merchant, economies may be effected. If they are bought according to exact scientific standards, the material work done by the city administration, assuming intelligence on the part of the personnel, will be efficient. Thus both economy and efficiency depend to a considerable extent upon the purchasing methods followed by the city administration.

During the past twenty-five years this subject has been a matter of close scientific inquiry by private business corporations and by public agencies. The broad outlines of a science of purchasing have already been constructed. The importance of purchasing has been recognised, therefore, although many governmental and private agencies in America have not yet adopted the most approved methods.

In making a survey of the purchasing methods of a city, the New York Bureau of Municipal Research applies the following fundamental tests:

Is the purchasing power of the city centralised in one department or does each department or agency buy on its own terms and conditions and at its own prices?

Are the supplies, materials, and equipment standardised,

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