Purchasing Handbook

1.00 Procurement Authority and Regulations

1.01 Procurement Authority

The procurement of supplies, materials, equipment, and services necessary for the operation of the University is the responsibility of the Office of Purchasing. This responsibility has been delegated to the Director of Purchasing by the Vice President for Finance and Business Services and the Treasurer, in accordance with Resolution 84-59 of the Board of Trustees of Miami University.

No individual has the authority to enter into a contract for the purchase of goods or services, or otherwise obligate Miami University to purchase indebtedness, without at least one of the following:

  • A resolution of the Board of Trustees; or,
  • A specific delegation by the Vice President for Finance and Business Services in writing and on file with the Secretary of the University; or,
  • A Purchase Order (PO) or other contract instrument issued by or under the direction of the Director of Purchasing.

Negotiations conducted or commitments made without such authority do not obligate the University, but are the personal responsibility of the individual making the commitment, in accordance with Section 3.12 of the Ohio Revised Code. Additionally, refer to Publications and Policies for Rules for Contracting for further instructions.

Expenditures from all accounts, regardless of its source, are considered University funds and shall be administered in accordance with applicable University policy.

1.02 General Purchasing Policy

Procurement responsibilities are divided between the Office of Purchasing, Bonham House, and its branch, the Facilities Contracting Service, 181 Cole Service Building. Purchases may be initiated by one of two methods: a Purchase Order (PO) or by P-Card (JP Morgan). A Procurement Card, or a PO must be issued prior to any commitment being made for the purchase of goods or providing of services, and the PO number and/or a hard copy of such order must be presented to the vendor or service provider at the time the purchase is made or contract is arranged. The Office of Purchasing will not issue POs after the fact to cover commitments.

In addition, it is specifically discouraged for employee to process requisitions for personal reimbursement of university supplies and/or services unless under the most extreme circumstances.

1.025 General Purchasing Process

The Department of Purchasing implemented a campus-wide e-procurement system on August 16, 2010. The application, known as Miami Buyway, is provided by SciQuest, and is fully integrated with Banner. Miami Buyway is an online marketplace for purchasing goods and services at Miami University. Miami Buyway combines the use of Internet technology with procurement best practices to simplify the purchasing process and reduce costs.

Why Miami Buyway

  • Miami Buyway provides easy access to vendor catalogs with University negotiated pricing, offers detailed historical purchasing reports, and integrates with Banner
  • Miami Buyway facilitates complex approval requirements via its electronic workflow management tool
  • Miami Buyway offers intuitive, commodity-specific search, selection, and requisitioning tools designed to streamline purchasing processes while ensuring the best value to the user

How Miami Buyway Works

Miami Buyway presents an easy, user-friendly shopping experience, allowing users to shop on-line, select items, place items in an electronic shopping cart, and submit their requisition. The Buyway page provides resources for common tasks and user training.

1.026 Campus Delivery Standards

Offices ordering small packages from will receive desktop delivery from UPS, FedEx, or university mail services. Therefore, it is important for all small package orders via Miami Buyway, P-Card, and any small package orders not associated with a PO to include accurate delivery addresses. The University has utilized a set of predetermined mail stop codes (MSC): see our Ship-To Codes. It is imperative that the proper MSC be used. If the package cannot be delivered properly, it may be returned to the sender and additional shipping fees may be assessed. Anything with freight or LTL, such as Roadway, will continue to be shipped to Central Receiving.

1.03 Approval Signatures

A uniform, minimum signature requirement for approval of all requisitions, P-Card statements, travel reimbursement requests, and personal reimbursement requests has been adopted by the University. See the Approval Requirements for Requisitions. Any purchase commitment or transaction as described above must be approved and signed by authorized individuals in accordance with this policy. The policy allows for delegation of authority where appropriate. The policy does not permit the signing of authorized individuals' names by other individuals.

1.04 Grants, Contracts, Excellence Awards

The purchase of goods and services for grants, contracts, and excellence awards is subject to the same policies and procedures as all other departmental procurement. When award of a major grant or contract that includes any significant purchases that appears imminent, it is suggested that the principal investigator contact the Manager of Academic Procurement in the Office of Purchasing (513-529-9204) to discuss specific needs and requirements. Any additional requirements contingent to a grant or contract, such as Federal requirements may be applicable to the purchase activity and also may require additional processing time as part of any resultant bid notice or request for proposal. All materials and equipment purchased under such grants, contracts, and awards are the property of Miami University unless otherwise agreed to in the contract between the University and the grantor or contractor.

1.05 Regional Campus Purchasing

The Office of Purchasing is responsible for regional campus procurement and the policies and procedures outlined in this handbook are fully applicable to the Miami regional campuses. Procurement Cards for small orders are issued by the appropriate offices at the respective campuses. Emergency Purchase Order authorization must be sought from the Director of Purchasing.

1.06 Student Organization Purchasing

Student organization funds (Account Index Codes ranging from 9300 to 9900) are considered expended when distributed, and expenditures from these funds are not subject to normal bid and contract requirements. To initiate a purchase or payment with student organization funds, a Student Organization Check Request form is prepared by the organization and signed by the organization treasurer and advisor. The form is then presented at the Accounts Payable Office, 107 Roudebush, where the funds are checked and an "S" number authorization slip is provided. The authorization slip is provided to the vendor at the time of purchase, and returned by the vendor to Accounts Payable, with the invoice.

Student organization accounts may not be cited on POs. However, the Office of Purchasing will, upon request, place orders via PO for items of equipment through State Contracts, IUC Agreements, University contracts, or a competitive bid/quotations process.

1.07 Agency Account Purchasing

Agency accounts (Account Index Codes ranging from 9000 to 9299) are not considered University funds, and expenditures from these accounts are not subject to University purchasing procedures.

Where agencies have funds on deposit with the University, the agency is responsible for placing their own orders, using agency letterhead or other suitable forms. All orders must be placed in the official name of the agency, not in the name of the University. Invoices should be addressed to the agency c/o Miami University at the proper University address. Payment is then requested by the agency representative using a Buyway direct pay request

With few exceptions, University Purchase Orders (POs) will not be issued for agency accounts. However, the Office of Purchasing will assist agencies in locating vendors or obtaining materials as requested. When it can be demonstrated that a significant advantage exists for an agency permanently located on campus and having a direct relationship with the University to use a State contract, IUC price agreement, or University contact, a PO may be issued on individual approval of the Director of Purchasing. The University purchasing process may not be used by permanent agencies to purchase any items for resale.

1.08 University Stores

Physical Facilities operates Central Stores where maintenance supplies are stored on campus after being purchased in wholesale quantities. The goods are then distributed from Central Stores and charged to departments. The inventory of maintenance/hardware/cleaning supplies is significant, and departments must use University Stores as the primary source for these items. Maintenance supplies are available from the Storeroom, Cole Service Building. Inventory items are issued by interdepartmental charge. A valid Banner Index code must be provided at the time of sale. Monthly itemized statements showing items issued and amounts charged are furnished to departments, with the corresponding summary charge appearing on the departments' monthly accounting reports.

1.09 Conflict of Interest

Any purchase transaction of the University is a "public contract." With few exceptions, Section 2921.42 of the Ohio Revised Code states:

  • It is improper for any employee of the University to have an interest in the profits or benefits of a contract entered into by the University; and
  • It is prohibited for employees of the University to use their position to "secure authorization of any public contract in which they, a member of their families, or any of their business associates has any interest."

In addition to the legal implications it is important that, as members of a public institution, University employees avoid transactions that might appear to be a conflict, even if technically no conflict exists.

See the Miami University Policy Library's Conflict of Interest for a statement on conflicts of interest related to purchasing transactions. Direct questions to the Director of Purchasing (513-529-9203).

1.10 Personal Purchases

Ohio Law makes it improper for employees to use their influence to solicit or accept anything of value, or to receive any compensation (defined as money, thing of value, or financial benefit) for their work in the institution other than the remuneration provided by the institution. As such, it is improper for faculty or staff to do any of the following:

Use the University procurement system as a conduit to order, pay for, then reimburse the University for personal purchases;

Order in the name of the University then make personal payment to the vendor for items or services received; or

Solicit University contractors to sell to them, or perform services for them, at prices or fees more favorable than those available to other individuals.

Additionally, University funds may not be used to upgrade or repair personally owned computers or other equipment, even if such items are used by employees in the performance of their job duties.

Several University contracts with microcomputer manufacturers or suppliers do include personal purchases at educational discounts by students, faculty, and staff. Any personal sales authorized in this manner are handled through the University Bookstore, Shriver Center.

1.11 Vendor Presentations

The University receives numerous requests from vendors and manufacturers to allow them to hold demonstrations on campus, typically for the general information of University departments, staff, and/or students. While it is important that departments retain the freedom to meet with vendors, view their products, and learn of new processes and technologies, the University cannot sponsor or favor individual vendors and/or provide sales assistance, except where exclusive contracts have been awarded for the benefit of the University.

1.12 Surplus Property

Section 114.45 of the Ohio Revised Code requires that "all service rendered and property transferred from one institution, department, improvement, or public service industry to another shall be paid for at its full value." The Attorney General's Office has ruled that:

  • The University may not make a gift of any of its assets;
  • The University is prohibited from donating its property not only to private concerns, but also to other state agencies and institutions; and,
  • The University must receive "full value" for any property sold or exchanged.

The method by which property is obtained does not affect the means of disposal. Whether the property is purchased with restricted funds, grant monies, gift monies, or is an outright gift, it is the property of Miami University.

The Office of Purchasing has been designated as the responsible agency for the processing and disposal of items which are no longer needed or usable by Miami University. This centralization is important to insure compliance with applicable State statutes, and also to match the surplus of one University department with the needs of another. Departments should notify the Office of Purchasing whenever items become surplus for possible placement in other areas.

An auction of surplus University property is held at least once a year. In addition the Department of Purchasing can assist with an on-line auction process throughout the year for more significant items. No sale of University property will be made to employees or other individuals except through the auction or other advertised sales.

2.00 Bids and Quotations

2.01 Bid Requirements

The Office of Purchasing has the dual responsibility of supporting the needs and requirements of the requestor, while at the same time fulfilling the requirements of the Ohio Revised Code, University purchasing policy, and generally recognized and published purchasing ethics. As a public institution, it is important that the Office of Purchasing ensure competition at all levels of procurement, and provide an opportunity for any capable vendor or service provider to quote on potential University purchases.

Effective July 1, 1997, the State of Ohio revised the requirements for competitive bidding by State agencies. Under these requirements, "competitive selection" is required for:

  • Any single purchase of goods which exceeds $25,000.
  • Any single purchase of services which exceeds $50,000
  • Any purchase which, when combined with all other expenditures to that vendor in a fiscal year that were not awarded by competitive selection, would exceed $50,000.

The above requirements provide significant latitude for the University to make responsible purchasing decisions without the need for a formal bid process. At the same time, it would be totally inappropriate and poor business practice to allow purchases of up to $25,000 or contracts for services up to $50,000, without some form of competitive selection or a justification/approval process to ensure the purchase is clearly in the best interest of the University. With this in mind, the Vice President for Finance and Business Services has approved the following bid/quotation policy for Miami University:

  • $0-500: Only one quote is required, either written, verbal, or copied from an ad or catalog
  • $500-1,000: Two or more quotes are preferred. Quotes obtained by the requestor are subject to concurrence of responsible buyer.
  • $1,001-4,999: Solicitation from three or more vendors on Price Request (PR) form, or Request for Proposal (RFP) issued by Purchasing Office, preferred. Written quotes are required. Requests for one vendor only are subject to approval of the responsible buyer upon justification by the requestor.
  • $5,000+: Written solicitation from three or more vendors on PR form, or RFP format by Purchasing Office, required. Written bid/quotation responses from vendors to the Purchasing Office are required. Requests for one vendor only are subject to the University policy on waiver of competitive selection/single source procurement, as discussed in section 2.03.
These guidelines apply to all purchases except those being made from State contracts, Inter-University Council of Ohio Purchasing Agreements, or Miami University contracts which have already been awarded as a result of a competitive proposal process.

2.02 Bid/Quotation Process

Except for construction and renovation projects, the State does not mandate a specific process for competitive selection. Generally, the competitive selection should consist of:

  • A written solicitation outlining the university's needs, outlining the terms of the purchase, and the award criteria sent to prospective bidders;
  • Written responses received from prospective bidders; and
  • An evaluation made by the requestor and buyer, in writing whenever selecting other than the apparent lowest proposal.

Solicitations may be made in various formats including via a Request for Quote form (RFQ), letterhead format, invitation to bid format, or Request for Proposal (RFP) format. Many of the university's solicitations are done on Sourcing Manager, a web enabled bidding process. The form of solicitation will be determined by the respective purchasing agent in accordance with guidelines established by the Director of Purchasing.

Except for simple price requests on a specific product or list of products, verbal solicitations should be avoided because it is essential that all prospective responders be provided the same information upon which to base their bid and it is easy to forget certain information or change an instruction when the information is given verbally.

Facsimile transmissions (faxes) or electronic communications (emails) are acceptable forms of written solicitations and responses for most competitive selection processes. Faxes are normally not acceptable for sealed bid openings and formal request for proposal processes.

2.03 Waiver of Competitive Selection/Single Source Procurement

Competitive selection requirements may be waived by the Vice President for Finance and Business Services, or their delegate, whenever, in their best judgment:

  • An emergency situation exists, requiring immediate action to avoid damage or destruction to University property or facilities, or to avoid disruption to services vital to the operation of the University; or,
  • It is deemed impractical, impossible, or otherwise of a substantial economic disadvantage to the University to seek such bids; or,
  • The needs of the University are best served by purchase of a specific item or service that is available only from a single source; or,
  • The product is available for purchase by the University from Government Services Administration (GSA) price schedules or other Cooperative Purchase Agreements of which the University is a party, and it is financially advantageous to the University to purchase from such agreements.

Requests for waiver of competitive bidding must be made using the Sole Source Justification Form in Miami Buyway, outlining the rationale for the request in specific terms and accompanied by supporting documentation. Requests above $5,000 but under the $50,000 aggregate will be approved/ disapproved by the Director of Purchasing. Requests over that amount will be referred, with a recommendation by the Director of Purchasing, to the Vice President for Finance and Business Services for approval/disapproval.

Claims that a specified product is the "only one which can be found" are not sufficient justification for a single source purchase as the bid process will either serve to confirm those claims or uncover alternative solutions. Requestors must also be aware that the review, evaluation, and selection of a product without the involvement of Purchasing, followed by the preparation of a requisition with a "single source" justification supporting the selection, is not an acceptable substitute for a competitive selection process conducted by the Office of Purchasing, and will only serve to delay the purchase while such a process is conducted. Requests for more information may be addressed to the Director of Purchasing (513-529-9203).

2.04 Buy Ohio Preference

Sections 125.09 and 125.11 of the Ohio Revised Code require that in the evaluation of bids, the University give preference to products which are "mined, excavated, produced, manufactured, raised, or grown" in the State of Ohio, or products offered by bidders who have a "significant Ohio presence," defined to mean that the bidders:

  • "Have sales offices, divisions, sales outlets, or manufacturing facilities in Ohio or whose facilities demonstrate a significant capital investment in Ohio;
  • Pay required taxes to the state of Ohio; and
  • Are registered and licensed to do business in the state of Ohio with the Office of Secretary of State."

Any bids meeting the above criteria will be given a preference of up to five (5) percent over the lowest price "non-Ohio" bid submitted; except that such preference will not be applied against vendors from bordering states, unless those states have programs favoring their in-state bidders over "Ohio" vendors.

3.00 Purchasing Process

3.01 General

A successful procurement program depends upon effective communication - between the requestor and the purchasing agent. The purchasing agent is familiar with the various contracts, and aware of the price practices and discount levels of many vendors. The requestor can best evaluate suitability for intended use, product quality, and level of service. Prior to making any purchasing initiative or vendor contact, the requestor is encouraged to consult with the respective purchasing agent to discuss the best method of handling specific needs.

It is the policy of the University to carefully document all purchase transactions. In addition to any specific requirements for initiating a requisition, it is the responsibility of the requesting department and subsequent approvers to disclose the following business details on any and all purchase documents.

  • Who: The party who is the ultimate end user
  • What: A reasonable item description of items or services purchased
  • When: The date in which the item is purchased or the service is rendered. (i.e. conference date, or project start date)
  • Where: The campus location where the item purchased is delivered or the service is performed
  • Why: A reasonable description of the business purpose and reason for the item to be purchased or the services acquired

3.02 Major Purchases

When a major purchase is being considered, the requestor should contact the Director of Purchasing (513-529-9203), or the purchasing manager/agent assigned to that commodity, and indicate the basic requirements and potential vendors and sources. Purchasing Office staff will research State contract or IUC price agreement vendors, and suggest them as first contacts. The purchasing agent will work with the requestor to further define needs and develop an evaluation process. As soon as the market has been surveyed, and the requestor has a good feel for the level and type of equipment or services that will be required to meet its needs, the bid process may be initiated.

At this point the requestor and the purchasing agent jointly define requirements in detail and write specifications for the needed equipment or items. Proposals will be solicited from at least three vendors/manufacturers asking them to offer equipment or services meeting the requirements and providing firm prices. (Even vendors on State contracts or IUC Price Agreements often offer better prices in response to formal bid requests.) Upon receipt of proposals, the evaluation process continues, measuring the formal proposals against the requestor's requirements and selecting the equipment/services best suited to the requestor's needs.

The major responsibility for evaluation and selection remains with the requestor. The University is not bound to accept the "low" bid, but can accept the most "responsive and responsible" bid, in the interest of the University. In this manner, the legal requirements are satisfied as well as the requestor's needs, and usually better pricing is obtained through increased competition.

With the complexity and high costs of equipment or services, preliminary investigation and evaluation by the requestor in anticipation of a purchase is extremely important. Because of this, there may be the tendency for some requestors to proceed too far into the procurement process on their own by soliciting proposals and prices, conducting a detailed evaluation, making a selection, and expecting the Office of Purchasing to support the decision and automatically issue a Purchase Order (PO). Where the item or service selected is available from several vendors, the purchase may be merely delayed while the Office of Purchasing checks the prices, attempts more favorable quotations, and/or conducts a formal bid solicitation.

In other instances, the purchase simply cannot be completed because competitive bid requirements were not met and a competitive bid process is no longer possible due to the search already being narrowed to a specific item or service available only from one source. When this occurs, everyone is unhappy.

Faculty and staff are cautioned not to solicit quotations or proceed through an evaluation/ decision process on their own. Although the Office of Purchasing is committed to ensuring that the needs and requirements of the requestors are met, it must also ensure that the transaction meets all procedural, legal, and ethical requirements of the Federal government, State and University. Competitive procurement requirements can be waived only under very limited circumstances, and failure to work through the Office of Purchasing will result in unnecessary delays and, potentially, unpleasant or impossible procurement situations.

3.03 Blanket Purchase Orders

When departments are faced with numerous repetitive orders for miscellaneous requirements to a single vendor, or when departments have a requirement for a known quantity of an item or items to be delivered over a period of time, a Blanket Purchase Order (BPO) may be issued. Under this order, a requisition is forwarded to the Office of Purchasing indicating a vendor, item(s) or types of items to be ordered, dollar amount, and the period of time to be covered. After issuance of the order, the using department makes its requests as needed to the vendor, giving the Purchase Order (PO) number each time. Invoices are paid against the order until the set dollar amount is exhausted. Requestors having requirements that they feel would be well served by BPOs should contact the appropriate buyer to discuss this purchasing method.

3.04 Term Contracts

In many instances, volume discounts are available to the University based upon quantities of items or like items to be ordered over time, or volumes of services to be performed. Specifications are written outlining the product(s) or service(s), estimated quantities, and method, frequency, and size of orders. Vendors then bid unit prices based upon these specifications, and a contract is awarded for items to be ordered or services to be performed over time, normally a one-year period. Whenever the items are needed or services required, a Purchase Order (PO) is written to the vendor at the agreed upon price.

State Contracts and IUC Price Agreements are all Consortia contracts. In addition, the Office of Purchasing has numerous University contracts based upon local requirements,. Many are loaded into Miami Buyway as an e-catalog where users can select items on-line as the most preferred and efficient ordering method. Buyers will check existing contracts whenever seeking a source to meet a department's requirement. This is a primary reason users should check with the appropriate buyer prior to investigating sources on their own.

Purchasing agents regularly review purchasing activity in their areas to see if a buying pattern suggests creation of a contract to enable more effective purchasing. Departments having recurring requirements for goods or services that they feel would lend themselves to a contract should contact the responsible buyer or the Director of Purchasing (513-529-9203).

URL DOESN'T WORK: The following IUC Purchasing Group Pricing Agreements, which can be found at http://www.iucpg.com/default.asp?strStaticPage=PriceAgreements&SectionDetail=Vendor#Vehicle, are available:

Price Agreement Index

  • Anti Virus-OSU (Malware) Agreement: UN-068
  • Audio-Visual & Video Equipment: UN-013
  • Benefits Consulting Services: UN-067
  • Bleacher Inspection Services: UN-081
  • Computer Hardware: UN-005
  • OSU Computer Hardware: UN-198
  • Dormitory Mattresses: UN-002
  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP): UN-066
  • Ethyl Alcohol: UN-031
  • Group Dental Benefits: UN-064
  • Group Life & Disability Insurance: UN-069
  • Hewitt Associates: UN-083
  • IT & Telecommunications Staff Augmentation Service: UN-052
  • Laboratory Apparatus, Chemicals & Glassware: UN-040
  • Laboratory, Medical & Scientific Equipment: UN-036
  • Microsoft Reseller: UN-044
  • Miscellaneous Hardware Maintenance: UN-006
  • Miscellaneous Office Supplies: UN-060
  • Moving Services (household): UN-030
  • Office Furniture: UN-05-OSU
  • Pharmacy Benefit Management Services: UN-062
  • Printers, Plotters & Scanners: UN-025
  • Procurement Card Program: UN-061
  • SciQuest E Procurement: UN-046
  • Search Firm Services: UN-003
  • Sightlines: UN-084
  • Vehicle Rental Agreement: UN-070
  • VMware Software and Maintenance: UN-065
  • Vision Services: UN-063

Other Available Price Agreements Index

  • Charter Bus Service -- Wright State University: 600710
  • Payroll Processing Service -- Wright State University: 601409
  • Polybag Agreement (Trash Bags) -- University of Cincinnati: T589-10S
  • Temporary Staffing Service -- Wright State University: 601409

3.05 Purchases Requiring Installation

As new and replacement equipment is purchased for use on campus, the requirements for final delivery, set-up, and installation, and costs thereof, may be overlooked. On occasion, the cost of providing utilities, taking care of environmental needs, making necessary room modifications and installing equipment has substantially exceeded the dollars spent on the actual equipment purchase. Yet, no funds were allocated for such work when the equipment was approved and ordered. As a result, departments and users were faced with long installation delays, as well as major unanticipated expenses that cut into other programs, at either the departmental, school, or divisional level.

Therefore, the Office of Purchasing has been requested by the Office of the Provost, Vice President of Finance and Business Services, and Physical Facilities Department to ensure that prior to ordering any equipment requiring installation, the following three conditions must be met:

  • Any required space utilization approvals must be obtained;
  • Any room, utility, and/or environmental systems modification work must be recognized and planned; and,
  • The total costs of equipment procurement and installation must be recognized and funding identified.

To avoid delays in equipment procurement, departments are urged to make installation planning part of their equipment request and approval process. If a room change of use will be made, or additional utilities or room modifications are required, a Project and Space Utilization Request Form will also have to be initiated by the requesting department.

3.06 Order Follow-Up

For Purchase Orders (POs), the Purchasing Office's responsibility does not end with placing the order. Order follow-up and assistance in resolving vendor problems is provided as required.

Upon receiving the departmental copy of the PO, the requestor should carefully review it to ensure that all information is correct. If there is any problem with the PO as written, the requestor should contact the purchasing agent immediately.

Any delivery time promised by the vendor is typed on the PO. If indicated delivery time presents a major problem, or if the delivery date passes without receiving the items and follow-up is required, the requestor should contact the purchasing agent before contacting the vendor.

Occasionally an order must be changed after issuance. It is extremely important from a contract, accounting viewpoint, and for the protection of all parties, that a written PO change be issued to reflect the modified order. Requestors should not initiate, accept, or approve changes to a PO without the purchasing agent s concurrence. Change orders and receiving will be done within Miami Buyway.

Upon delivery, the requestor should perform the following procedures:

  1. Check that all items on the packing slips are accounted for, and that nothing is damaged.
  2. Save all packing slips, even if nothing is amiss.
  3. If there is any damage, save all cartons and packaging.
  4. Contact the buyer promptly regarding any problem(s).
  5. If reviewing the invoice, carefully check the items against the invoice. If there is any discrepancy, notify Accounts Payable to hold payment, and contact the buyer on vendor follow-up procedures.
  6. File the packing slip per document retention policy.

For Procurement Card orders follow-up with the vendor is normally the responsibility of the ordering requestor or department. Requestors should contact the vendor directly regarding delivery status, merchandise problems, or pricing issues. If departments are unable to resolve the problem directly, they should contact the Office of Purchasing for assistance.

3.07 Payment Voucher Requests/Confirming Requisitions

Though most purchases require the issuance of Purchase Orders (POs) or Procurement Card prior to placement of an order or commitment, there are several types of transactions where an invoice is routinely issued prior to a commitment and the payment actually initiates the transaction; or where no PO is issued prior to the shipment of materials or completion of work, even though a contract was approved/entered into by the Office of Purchasing. The following transactions are approved for routine processing on Direct Pay requisitions:

  • Payment of maintenance contract renewals with the manufacturer or specified manufacturer's agent.
  • Payment of ongoing software license and maintenance fees for products originally purchased/leased by a PO.
  • Routine office machine maintenance arranged through the Office of Purchasing.
  • Books and periodicals ordered from publishers or other subscription sources not accustomed to accepting POs.
  • Miscellaneous small orders for publications, reprints, information, etc. from other universities, government agencies, etc., not accustomed to accepting POs.
  • Reimbursement for small incidental purchases made for the department which could not be handled by any other routine procedure.
  • Other routine transaction types approved in advance by the Director of Purchasing.

Confirming Direct Pay Request requisitions for purchases or contracts which were not approved in advance by the Vice President for Finance and Business Services, nor by the Director of Purchasing, will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis for acceptance as an obligation of Miami University. Such requisitions are subject to rejection where the transaction violates state or local policy or where the materials or services were already available less expensively from existing contracts.

3.08 Prepayments

State statutes generally prohibit the University from making payment prior to receipt of merchandise or rendering of service. Routine prepayments are limited to subscriptions, small book orders, payment for membership or any renewal and conference/seminar registration fees. Other prepayments will be authorized only when absolutely required to complete a transaction that is clearly advantageous to the University. Routine pre payments are preferred to be handled and processed with the departmental Procurement Card.

When using the Procurement Card for - prepayment, "proof of price" must be provided. This may be an order form, letter from the vendor, copy of an advertisement, copy of a catalog page, or a price list. Requestors should ensure that proof of price is current, and includes any shipping charges.

3.09 Purchasing Cards

Purchasing Cards are intended for department use to conduct small dollar procurement needs. Specifically, the purchasing card is the preferred method for pre-payment, conference registration, airline ticket purchases and business use hotel room charges. The card may also be used for on-line purchases (be sure the site is secure).

To obtain a card, the cardholder will have to complete a purchasing card application. If the cardholder is other than the department chair/director, it requires the approval of the chair/director. All applications are subject to approval by the Director of Purchasing prior to issuance. At the time the card is issued and received, the cardholder will complete a purchasing card agreement. See the P-Card policy for more details, or the P-Card page for commonly-used resources.

4.00 Specific Purchasing Transactions

Special guidelines must be followed in performing certain purchasing transactions. These transactions and the appropriate procedures are described below.

4.01 Air Travel Tickets

There are several factors involved in the purchase of airline tickets. The Travel Policy (section 6.00) contains a detailed discussion of the policies and procedures regarding such purchases.

4.02 Business Cards, Envelopes, Letterhead

The University has adopted a standardized format to be used for business cards, envelope return addresses, and letterhead stationery. Use of this format is mandatory for all departments. The Department of IT Services, Print Center provides for the production and distribution of business cards by online ordering system. See Business and Letterhead for purchasing instructions.

4.03 Consulting, Professional Services

Contracts for most consulting and professional services are subject to the same procurement policies and considerations as those of any other purchase, including the requirement for competitive selection. When contracting with individuals, rather than firms, IRS regulations require an "independent contractor versus employee" evaluation. See the Non-Employee Payment Policy (section 4.00) for details.

4.05 Microcomputers, Peripherals

Standards and specifications for microcomputers, computing equipment and peripherals must be coordinated and approved through the Vice President for Information Technology, who is responsible for the oversight and management of the university's IT assets. IT Equipment is defined as desktop computers, laptop computers, servers, storage devices, network and communications devices, research computers or workstations, displays, printers, electronic multimedia devices, personal mobile devices and any other equipment designated by the Vice President for Information Technology. Without prior approval by the Vice President for Information Technology, acquisition of IT assets by departments as defined herein are unauthorized.

The University maintains and coordinates contracts and agreements for the purchase of approved and supported hardware and peripherals that result in exceptional discounts and improved overall support. Certain makes and models of computers and associated hardware have been adopted as standards for use at the University. Request for Purchase Order requisitions will be reviewed by the IT Department for standards and specification review and approval prior to issuance of a purchase order by the Purchasing office. If you have questions, please contact Pat Powers (513-529-6061).

Credit cards may not be used for the purchase of desktop computers, laptops, servers, monitors/displays, printers, and network equipment. These items must be selected via the web page cited above, or otherwise described via requisition sent to the Vice President for Information Technology or his designee.

4.06 Office Furnishings

The Office of Purchasing follows a set of informal standards in the selection and purchase of office furnishings that has been supported by the University Administration over many years of use. These standards are guided by functionality, appearance, durability, cost, and individual duties while being mindful of and respecting individual roles and surrounding architecture and environment. Requestors desiring more information on these standards are encouraged to contact the Furniture Buyer in the Office of Purchasing (513-529-6132) or the Space Planner/Interior Designers in the Office of the University Architect (513-529-1676 or 513-529-2361).

Through various Price Agreements the University obtains exceptional discounts on quality office furnishings. Common items in basic colors and upholstery are available in ten days to two weeks after placement of order. Other items are manufactured to order with lead times of 60 to 120 days. It is important that departments plan for furnishing requirements in advance of the needs to allow for contract lead times.

For emergency needs, the Physical Facilities Department maintains a small inventory of used office furnishings. Should some unforeseen need arise; requestors may contact the Office of Trucking Services (513-529-7035) for information on availability.

4.08 Physical Facilities Purchases

All work on University facilities and building equipment, including maintenance, repairs, remodeling, minor and major construction, and decorating must be accomplished through the Physical Facilities Department.

Separate procedures and forms for purchase requisitions have been developed for use within and between the Physical Facilities Department. If your department is contemplating any purchase that results in changing, altering or decorating university property, please contact the Physical Facilities Department (513-529-7000).

4.09 Printing and Publications

In addition to normal procurement policy and regulation, contracts for printing and publications are restricted by Section 3345.10 of the Ohio Revised Code to contractors having manufacturing facilities in the State of Ohio. This applies to both procurement card and Purchase Order (PO) transactions.

Departments having requirements for printing and publications should work through the IT Printing Manager (513-529-6062), or the Director of University Communications (513-529-7597), as appropriate, for assistance with specifications and vendor selection. For assistance with office forms, requestors may contact the Printing Buyer in the Office of Purchasing (513-529-6132).

Once specifications are determined, a Request for Purchase Order requisition and specifications should be forwarded to the Printing Buyer for bids or quotes and issuance of a PO.

If the printing contract includes mailing materials, such as postcards, envelopes or self mailers, or if mailing services are to be included as part of the printing contract, the department should work with University Mail Services for design approval or authorization for use of mail permits, as applicable.

4.10 Rentals and Leasing

All IT-related rentals and leases require prior review and approval by the Vice President for Information Technology, who is charged with the oversight and management of the university's IT purchases. Such agreements should be forwarded to the Vice President for Information Technology or their designee, who will coordinate with the Purchasing Department for the bidding and contracting process as required.

Any rental or lease agreements are subject to the same guidelines as the purchase of goods or services, including the requirement to seek competitive bids or proposals. The total of all payments to be made over the life of the lease or rental shall be the purchase amount for the purpose of applying competitive bid requirements. Questions regarding rental or lease agreements should be addressed to the Director of Purchasing (513-529-9203).

4.11 Software, Information Databases

The University maintains and coordinates contracts and agreements for the purchase of approved and supported software that result in exceptional discounts and improved overall support. Most packaged microcomputer software from major publishers is available, under various education discounts for University use. Software agreements may include provisions for individual sales, some requiring the consolidation of orders for volume discounts, and some as site licenses. Any packaged software from major publishers, and all software from other publishers selling for over $100 should be checked first ordered via the web page at http://www.muohio.edu/itpurchases/ and processed by a Request for Purchase Order requisition and forwarded to IT Services for review and approval, prior to the issuance of a Purchase Order via the Office of Purchasing. Software from small publishers with a sales price under $100 may be ordered on Procurement Cards.

The purchase, rental, or lease of software, information databases, application systems, IT consultants, and IT contracts (e.g., for web services, application or database programmers, etc.) must be coordinated and approved through the Vice President for Information Technology. Without prior approval by the Vice President for Information Technology, purchases by departments are unauthorized.

Requests for needs of this nature shall be made through the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology, who will assist the requestor in determining the scope and specifications to meet the need. Any IT related applications to be developed must be reviewed for compatibility and appropriateness in the University's IT network infrastructure, as well as being reviewed by the Office of the Information Security Officer. The purchase, rental, or contracting of services for developing applications and/or databases are otherwise subject to the requirement to seek out competitive bids or proposals, conducted by the Purchasing Department.

Requestors desiring more information on these subjects may direct their questions to Pat Powers (513-529-6061).

4.12 Telephone Equipment, Cellular Phones, Pagers

Purchases of telephones and other telecommunications equipment and services must be made through the Vice President for Information Technology, Office of Telecommunications, to ensure compatibility with the University telephone system. Interested parties should contact the Manager of Telecommunications or the Assistant Manager of Telecommunications for Operations, both at 529-3511, for assistance. Without prior approval by IT Services Office of Telecommunications, purchases of telecommunications equipment by departments are unauthorized.

IT Services Office of Telecommunications maintains agreements and contracts for cellular telephone and radio pager rentals at significant discounts. All requests for these services are to be made to IT Services Office of Telecommunications, which will arrange for the individual pager rentals and set up the proper billing through the University telephone system. Further information may be obtained by contacting IT Services Office of Telecommunication.

4.13 Used Equipment

Occasionally departments find that their needs can be well served by the purchase of used or "demo" equipment. The purchase of used equipment follows the same policies and procedures as that of new equipment, including the requirement for competitive bidding when applicable due to the amount of the purchase. Used equipment may also be purchased from individuals, subject to conflict of interest restrictions (as described in section 1.09) and proof of ownership. All purchases of used equipment are subject to review and approval by the Office of Purchasing prior to any commitment.

4.14 Emergencies

The Office of Purchasing is prepared to assist and work with requestors to obtain required materials or services when true emergencies exist or expedited procedures are otherwise required. The Director of Purchasing may waive certain policies or procedures within its control if conditions warrant. Whatever the cause of the emergency, departments must work through the Office of Purchasing, explaining the circumstances, and requesting assistance to arrive at a viable solution. Departments cannot make transactions without authority and later justify them as an emergency. The Director of Purchasing is under no obligation to assume responsibility for transactions made without authority by after-the-fact approval.

When the situation requires, and bidding restrictions are not a concern, the Office of Purchasing can issue a standard Purchase Order (PO) immediately upon presentation of a properly signed requisition. However, requestors must remember that an error on their part does not automatically constitute an emergency on the part of the Office of Purchasing.