Purchases from electronic catalogs

Electronic catalogs are a technique, or instrument, for electronic procurement, in which the exact quantity or value of items to be provided by each supplier are not known in advance when the catalog is set-up.

When a buyer makes a purchase from an electronic catalog, an order is placed with a supplier for a specific quantity or value of items.

In OCDS, purchases from electronic catalogs ought to be modelled using awards and contracts, since catalog purchases:

  1. Create a direct relationship between the items being purchased, the supplier providing the items, and the value of the items (an award in OCDS)

  2. Result in a legally binding agreement for the supplier to provide the items (a contract in OCDS)

Modelling purchases from electronic catalogs using awards and contracts makes it easier to combine data on electronic catalog purchases with data on purchases made using other procurement techniques.

Example: Combining data from different procurement techniques

Australia's Department of Defence uses an electronic catalog for purchases of basic office supplies (pens, paper, toner cartridges, etc.).

3 suppliers provide the items in the catalog: COS, Office National and Mega Office Supplies. Each provides different categories of office supplies.

In July 2019, the department makes 3 separate purchases from the catalog: envelopes that are supplied by COS, whiteboard markers that are supplied by Office National, and sticky notes that are supplied by Mega Office Supplies. These purchases are represented in the awards section of OCDS as follows:

awards/0/id

awards/0/date

awards/0/title

awards/0/value/amount

awards/0/suppliers/0/name

DOD-OS19-00001

2019-07-09T00:00:00Z

Envelopes

20

COS

DOD-OS19-00002

2019-07-15T00:00:00Z

Whiteboard markers

15.99

Office National

DOD-OS19-00003

2019-07-21T00:00:00Z

Post-it notes

23.5

Mega Office Supplies

During the same month, the department also concludes a separate contracting process to procure 30 office desks by awarding a contract to Office National. This purchase is also represented in the awards section of OCDS:

awards/0/id

awards/0/date

awards/0/title

awards/0/value/amount

awards/0/suppliers/0/name

DOD-1432567

2019-07-24T00:00:00Z

Office desks

6000

Office National

By using the awards section consistently for both contracting processes, it is possible to calculate the total value of purchases from Office National in July 2019, using only the awards section:

awards/0/id

awards/0/date

awards/0/title

awards/0/value/amount

awards/0/suppliers/0/name

DOD-OS19-00002

2019-07-15T00:00:00Z

Whiteboard markers

15.99

Office National

DOD-1432567

2019-07-24T00:00:00Z

Office desks

6000

Office National

Note

The approach for modelling the set-up and second stages of electronic catalogs in OCDS is under discussion (GitHub issue).