Global Procurement: Bargain Hunting Around the World

The practice of directly procuring products from countries outside North America is well established at PCL. For decades, PCL has purchased architectural products such as tile and stone from overseas suppliers in European, Asian, and South American markets, but the total value of such products has not been significant, and the product range has been narrow.
In recent years, the range of products sourced globally by PCL has steadily increased and, with the growth of global manufacturing and especially the emergence of China as an industrial and engineering powerhouse, PCL’s offshore procurement efforts have intensified.


For the Bravern Signature Residences in Bellevue, Washington, a manufacturer in the People’s Republic of China supplied and installed approximately $30 million of glazed curtain wall system and metal panels, to enclose the 29 floors in each of the two towers.
Choosing a vendor from a low-cost market ultimately allowed PCL to save nearly $12 million dollars for the client, with no loss of quality.
On the Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion project, PCL used a supply of Basalt tile from Inner Mongolia, which resulted in a cost savings of 25% over domestic suppliers. Another similar arrangement resulted in an improvement to the installation schedule in excess of one month.


PCL is well positioned to buy materials and equipment offshore because of its global procurement program and the expertise of its independent advisors. Knowledge stays within PCL and is shared among the organization's operating offices.
“We are now able to tap into the additional 80% of the world’s manufacturing that occurs outside of the traditional North American supply base,” said Scott Logan, PCL’s global procurement specialist. “And because of the system we have in place, we can handle purchases from there just the same as from down the street.”