The department is responsible for all procedures involving contract bidding, vendor selection, acquisition of equipment, furnishings, supplies, minor construction, preventive maintenance services, contractual services, and lease of space for the University within pre-established budgetary constraints. Purchasing also includes: preparing budget estimates, preparing bid specifications, initiating formal quotations, processing proposals and bids, conducting public bid openings, evaluating and awarding bids, and administrating contracts until final completion or termination.
Most bid processes are multi-tiered. Acquisitions under a specified dollar amount can be “user discretion” permitting the request or to choose who ever they want. This level can be as low as $100 or as high as $10,000 depending on the organization. The rationale is the savings realized by processing these request the same as expensive items is minimal and does not justify the time and expense. Purchasing departments watch for abuses of the user discretion privilege. Acquisitions in a mid range can be processed with a slightly more formal process. This process may involve the user providing quotes from three separate suppliers. Purchasing may be asked or required to obtain the quotes. The formal bid process starts as low as $10,000 or as high as $100,000 depending on the organization. The bid usually involves a specific form the bidder fills out and must be returned by a specified deadline. Depending of the commodity being purchased and the organization the bid may specify a weighted evaluation criterion. Other bids would be evaluated at the discretion of purchasing or the end users. Some bids could be evaluated by a cross-functional committee. Other bids may be evaluated by the end user or the buyer in Purchasing. Especially in small, private firms the bidders could be evaluated on criteria or factors that have little if anything to do with the actual bid. Examples of these factors are history of the bidder with the company, history of the bidder with the company’s senior management at other firms, and bidder’s breadth of products.