Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable
Utica College requires that a competitive bid or price quotation process be followed in all instances where goods or services exceeding certain cost limits are made. Any employee who commits the College to a purchase, sale, lease, or other arrangement without proper authorization may be held personally liable for the transaction. Employees may not use College funds to make any purchases for personal or private use. All bids, whether verbal or in writing, must remain confidential to preserve a competitive and fair process. Exceptions to this policy are listed under Procedure, below.
This policy applies to all Utica College employees whose purchases from external vendors exceed established cost limits.
REASON FOR POLICY:
This policy is designed to ensure:
- Appropriate stewardship of Utica College assets
- Integrity when acquiring goods and services
- Accountability to funding sources
- Procurement of goods and services at the lowest cost consistent with the quality, delivery, and service required
- Fair and competitive bidding processes
- Compliance within the parameters set forth by the IRS and any other applicable laws
Bid – A competitive process involving a written price valuation.
Goods – Any tangible product (i.e. equipment, supplies, books, or other products) used in the daily operation of College business.
Responsible Vendor – Prospective vendors who have the capability to perform contract requirements in full and whose integrity and reliability will assure good faith performance. Factors considered in evaluating responsibility may include financial resources, past performance, delivery capability, experience, organization, personnel, technical skills, operation controls, equipment, and facilities.
Responsive Bidder – A vendor who has submitted a bid or proposal that conforms in all material respects to the request for proposal (RFP).
Request for Information (RFI) – An informal request when additional information about goods and/or services is needed or when the College requires more information about a vendor.
Request for Proposal (RFP) – The document used to invite vendors to bid on a project that involves services to be rendered. All proposals are evaluated on dollar amount, quality, delivery, or other criteria.
Services – Any deliverable resulting from labor performed specifically for the College, including application of physical or intellectual skills. Services include repair work, consulting, maintenance, data processing, custom software design or coding, etc.
Sole Source –A product or service that is practicably available from only one source.
Quote – A non-competitive process involving a written price valuation.
1. Exceptions to Bidding
- College’s Contracted Suppliers
- Purchases Less Than $1,000
- State Contract Items
Competitive bidding is not required since these suppliers have already been selected through a rigorous evaluation process by the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable. Contact the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable for assistance in identifying these vendors.
Competitive bids and price quotation processes are not required, although every attempt should be made to obtain the best value for any purchase by following best purchasing practices. Please refer to the Purchasing and Accounts Payable policy for the general purchasing process.
Items purchased through state contract are exempt from bidding at the discretion of the purchaser. If state contracting is followed, the buyer does not need to seek bidding or price quotations; please refer to the Purchasing and Accounts Payable policy for state contract pricing guidelines.
Although bidding and solicitation of price quotations is not required, through the competitive bid or price quotation process, the College may be able to obtain better pricing than state contract pricing. Purchasers may wish to check prices with vendors who are not on the state contract list. If the price is lower than prices on the state contract list, the competitive bid process must be followed.
Approval for sole source purchases must be obtained from the Office of Purchasing and Accounts payable before a buyer places orders or commits funds. In case of reasonable doubt, the buyer must seek vendors that can provide the needed goods or services. If more than one vendor is located, the buyer must solicit competitive pricing.
Examples of circumstances that could necessitate sole source procurement include:
- The compatibility of equipment, accessories, or replacement parts is the paramount consideration;
- A sole supplier item is needed for trial use or testing; or
- The service to be provided is from a public utility
- Steps taken to determine that no other sources were available or appropriate;
- The reason why the product or service is so unique that it cannot go through the competitive bid process
- Documentation of price with order information.
3. Purchases Greater Than or Equal to $1,000 and Less Than $5,000
A minimum of three written quotations must be obtained. To obtain better pricing and maintain fair competitive practices, all vendors must be provided with exactly the same information. A written record of all price quotations must be retained for future use by the buyer or soliciting office.
Once price quotations are obtained, the requestor evaluates the quotes to determine the lowest responsible vendor. During the evaluation process, buyers must not only consider pricing when making a decision but must also consider such factors as product and/or service specifications, vendor’s past performance, product compatibility and quality, and, when appropriate, proposed delivery or completion time.
Once the buyer evaluates all quotations, he or she recommends the vendor to the person with budget authority. If the recommendation is approved, the buyer or person with budget authority must follow the requisitioning process outlined in the Purchasing and Accounts Payable policy
4. Purchases Greater Than or Equal to $5,000
- Goods Only
- Goods and Services, or Services Only
A minimum of three written quotations must be obtained. To obtain better pricing and maintain fair competitive practices, all vendors must be provided with exactly the same information. Before making the expenditure for goods, requestors must take into consideration the long-term implications of owning the product with respect to its reliability, availability, cost of maintenance and repairs, and energy consumption where applicable.
Once all written quotations are obtained, the requestor evaluates the quotes to determine the lowest responsible vendor. “Lowest responsible vendor” does not necessarily mean the vendor with the lowest dollar amount. Rather, it is the vendor that meets with the buyer’s specifications at an economical price. If the buyer does not select the lowest responsible vendor, a written justification must be provided to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable.
Once the buyer evaluates all quotations, he or she recommends the vendor to the person with budget authority. If the recommendation is approved, the buyer or person with budget authority must provide a copy of all three quotations to the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable and follow the requisitioning process outlined in the Purchasing and Accounts Payable policy. The exception is Integrated Information and Technology Services (IITS), which maintains its own bid files for auditor’s review.
A minimum of three written bids must be obtained. The bids must follow the College’s request for proposal (RFP) process (see Request for Proposal Form). Buyers must draft an RFP and submit it to the purchasing manager for review. When needed, the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable will assist in identifying vendors. The purchasing manager can also assist with the preparation of the RFP.
To preserve the competitive process, all vendors must be provided with exactly the same information. Before making the expenditure for goods, buyers must take into consideration the long-term implications of owning the product with respect to its reliability, availability, cost of maintenance and repairs, and energy consumption.
Information requested on RFPs include vendor’s basic corporate information and history, financial information, product information such as stock availability and estimated completion period, customer references, and technical capability where applicable.
RFPs also include specifications for the service or service including goods for which the proposal is requested. To ensure better competitive prices, the information provided on the RFP should be as detailed as possible. This enables vendors to understand what is needed and provide better pricing.
Once the RFP draft has been approved by the purchasing manager, the buyer must create a final RFP copy and notify the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable that the RFP will be disseminated to vendors. Buyers must indicate to vendors that responses to RFPs must be sent to the purchasing manager. Buyers must also suggest that vendors use a request for information (RFI) when further clarification is needed.
Request for Information (RFI)
Vendors must read and understand the RFP document. If vendors need any portion of the RFP language clarified before submitting a formal bid, they have the opportunity to request clarification in the form of an RFI, which must be completed within the specific timeframe stated in the bid. To ensure competitive fairness, when responding to an RFI, the purchasing manager will prepare an addendum to the RFP and send the addendum via e-mail to all vendors. The addendum will include the question raised by the vendor and the answer to this question. The results of an RFI are not formally kept.
The Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable will review all bids for conformance with College policy and has the right to require more documentation as deemed necessary. The Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable strives to act in the best interest of the College with regards to the purchase of goods and services.
It is the responsibility of all Utica College employees wishing to solicit bids or written quotations to comply with the provisions of this policy.
Enforcement of Utica College policies is the responsibility of the office or offices listed in the “Resources/Questions” section of each policy. The responsible office will contact the appropriate authority regarding faculty or staff members, students, vendors, or visitors who violate policies.
Utica College acknowledges that College policies may not anticipate every possible issue that may arise. The College therefore reserves the right to make reasonable and relevant decisions regarding the enforcement of this policy. All such decisions must be approved by an officer of the College (i.e. president, vice president for academic affairs, or vice president for financial affairs).
For any questions or additional information, please contact the Office of Purchasing and Accounts Payable.
Please note that other Utica College policies may apply or be related to this policy. To search for related policies, use the Keyword Search function of the online policy manual.
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