Purchase Process

The following processes and procedures must be followed during the procurement of goods and services for the University.

New Purchases

The following steps are involved in the purchasing process for goods and services over the procurement card limit of $5000.

Purchase Process

  1. Complete and email a Purchase Requisition form to the Purchasing Department for all purchases of goods or services over $5,000 in value.
    • Purchases between $5,000 and $9,999 must be accompanied by three quotes as supporting documentation for the purchase.
    • Purchases over $10,000 must be competitively bid, per the University's bid policy, if they are not approved to sole source as described below.
    • Purchases over $10,000 must be signed by Grants and Contracts prior to initiating the purchasing process
  2. Complete a Sole Source Justification when requesting to purchase goods or services above $5,000 from a single source. The department must include detailed and objective information outlining the rationale for exception to the bid process. To submit a request for approval by Purchasing, departments must complete the Sole Source Justification form and email it to the Purchasing Department along with the above mentioned Purchase Requisition form. Accompanying documents supporting the justification may be included, such as a quote, specifications or reference information.
  3. A Request for Qualification (RFQ) is done prior to requesting a quote or proposal when there is not absolute confidence in the supplier pool that any supplier responding to the Request for Quote (RFQ) or Proposal (RFP) can provide the goods or services needed. This process evaluates suppliers and ensures the minimum requirements of the supplier is confirmed before allowing them to be part of the RFQ or RFP process.
  4. A Request for Quote (RFQ) or Request for Proposal (RFP) is developed by the Purchasing Department, in collaboration with the requesting department.  This includes development of bid documents, specifications, requirements and submission requests. This may entail establishing a selection committee, determining a schedule and developing evaluation criteria and associated documentation.
  5. The Request for Quote (RFQ) or Request for Proposal (RFP) is submitted to the list of qualified suppliers:
    • Request for Quote (RFQ): A quote is requested when the good or service is known and specifications included.
    • Request for Proposal (RFP): A proposal is requested when the outcome of the good or service is known, but the exact specification is not 100% clear and/or there is variability; when there is a need for the supplier to provide a solution.
  6. The Bid Evaluation Process is completed, which varies based on the project or contract and associated evaluation criteria.  A general outline of the evaluation process is below:
    • Upon receipt of supplier quote(s) or proposal(s), documents are distributed to the selection committee
    • Selection committee reviews and evaluates bid submissions utilizing the previously developed evaluation criteria, including results of any necessary sample testing or review
    • Evaluation information is recorded on associated evaluation tools or forms
    • Evaluation results are compiled to determine finalists for post-bid interviews, if necessary, based on total score
    • Post-bid interviews, if needed, are conducted to make a final determination
    • An award is made based on the selection committee evaluations, interviews and final input

    In many circumstances, the award is made the low qualified bidder, provided the bid has been submitted in accordance with RFQ/RFP requirements, meets specifications, meets delivery requirements and does not exceed the funds available.  Some circumstances warrant award to a bidder based on factors such as the bidder’s experience, offerings, schedule, proximity to the project, etc.

    When appropriate and beneficial to the University, the award may be divided between bidders. Reasons for doing so include benefits to cost, performance and schedule.
    If bid amount is greater than requisition estimate, purchasing will contact the department for authorization to proceed.
    The Purchasing Department will be involved in validating the supplier selection to ensure the decision made is the best value for the University.

  7. Supplier Selection: Purchasing will contact participating suppliers regarding the award of the project and/or contract.
  8. Document Review: Once a supplier is selected, all associated documents, terms, contracts, insurance certificates, bonds, etc. are gathered from the supplier for review.
    • The Purchasing Department reviews all insurance, bond and service related information.
    • The department is responsible for completing the Contract Checklist for all terms, agreements and/or contracts.
    • Contract Checklist and associated documents are submitted to Business Services and the Office of General Council for review and feedback, which should ultimately result in a mutual agreement with the supplier. Upon completion of review, documents are signed by Business Services or sent to the Assistant Treasurer or Treasurer for Signature, depending on the contract value.
    • Note: As stated in the Authority to Sign Agreements, no member of the University faculty, staff, or student body is authorized to sign any lease, contract or any other agreement binding the University except the President, the Treasurer and/or the Assistant Treasurer.

Supplementary information issued with bids

  • Insurance Requirements: Limits differ depending on the scope of work performed, but all companies and/or individuals performing work or services on University property must carry insurance coverage satisfactory to the University. Suppliers that cannot provide acceptable insurance will not receive the award of the project or contract.  Insurance certificates are filed, verified and monitored by Purchasing prior to the issue of a Purchase Order or Contract and during the contract term.
  • Bonds: Required on construction or maintenance projects of $50,000 or more. All bonds are validated and filed in the Purchasing Department and are the responsibility of the Purchasing Agent. Bid bonds are returned to the appropriate supplier after approved completion of the project.  Bid Bonds are typically 5% of the supplier’s bid and Performance and Labor/Material Bonds are typically 100% of the supplier’s total bid.  All bonds must be from bonding companies licensed to do business in the State of Michigan.
  • General Conditions or Terms and Conditions: University General Conditions or Contract Terms and Conditions are issued with all RFQ and RFPs.
  • Affirmative Action Program documentation is issued with all bids over $50,000. A signature page must be returned with the quote or proposal.

Issuing the vendor commitment

Upon completion of the bid process or sole source approval, a commitment is issued to the supplier. There are three different types of commitments, or "payment vehicles," described below, that may be issued to the vendor.  The commitment used with the vendor is determined by Purchasing and/or Business Services. 

  • Purchase Order (PO): A document communicating the commitment for one or more specific good(s) and/or service(s), quantity and cost(s) to the supplier. This is specifically for one receipt of a good or service.  The Purchasing Department will issue this document to the vendor.
  • Vendor Contract (VC): A document communicating the commitment for one or more good(s) and/or service(s) that may be shipped, received, delivered and/or invoiced at multiple points in time or over an extended period of time. The term “vendor contract” is a PeopleSoft term that essentially means blanket purchase order or service contract and is used in lieu of a purchase order when there is any level of variability in the purchase and/or receipt of the goods and/or services.  The Purchasing Department will issue this document to the vendor.
  • Independent Contract (IC):  An Independent Contract is used when a vendor fits a specific type of criteria, which does not require a purchase order or vendor contract.  The IC document is available under Business Services Forms and must be completed by the requesting department and submitted through Business Services.  

procurement standards for federal awards

All purchases made by the University with federal funds must comply with the Federal Office of Management and Budget - Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, & Audit Requirements for Federal Awards; Title 2, Subtitle A, Chapter II, Part 200 – Procurement Standards Sections 200.317 through 200.326. The complete policy can be found at the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations website. All purchases related to federal funds are documented and tracked internally by the University.

Procurement Process for Federal Awards

Requirements are set forth by the Federal government for all of the following steps in procuring goods or services using federal awards.  For specific information on requirements and guidelines, review the Overview to Procurement Using Federal Awards.  In addition, the Purchasing Department can guide you through the process to ensure all regulations are followed.

  • University Purchase Process:  Initiate purchase using the process outlined above, submitting a Purchase Requisition.
  • Procurement Methods and Bid Policy:  Utilize the guideline for University and Federal Procurement requirements to determine requirements specific to your procurement.
  • Procurement Requirements
  • Vendor Requirements
  • Contract Award
  • Contract Language
  • Contract Administration

Contract Renewals or Re-Bids

  • Existing contracts are reviewed monthly to identify the contracts that expire in the next three months.
  • For expiring contracts, if renewals are available the department is notified.
    1. The department is responsible for determining whether or not to renew the contract for another term, which is typically one year.
    2. The department may decide to let the contract expire and not renew or re-bid.
    3. Lastly, the department can decide to let the contract expire and re-bid. If this is the chosen option, the bid process is followed as outlined above.
  • For expiring contracts, if renewals are not available the department is notified that a re-bid will be required. Unless the product and/or service is no longer needed, the bid process is followed as outlined above.
  • Purchasing communicates the request for a renewal to the supplier.
  • Any new contracts, terms and documents are processed through a document review as outlined above.
  • The Purchasing Department processes a new contract as needed.

Payment Process

The vendor will invoice against a purchase order or blanket purchase order once the good has been shipped or service has been provided. Below is the payment process for purchase order and blanket purchase order.

  • Purchase Order payment process:
    1. Invoices for purchase orders are received by the Accounts Payable department.
    2. AP verifies a three-way match between the Purchase Order, the invoice and the receipt. Once this has been confirmed, AP will process the vendor payment.
    3. In the case a three-way match is not established, AP will contact the Department for investigation.
  • Blanket Purchase Order payment process:
    1. Invoices from the Vendor are submitted directly to the Department for payment.
    2. The Department is responsible for ensuring the good or service was delivered or performed, and invoice charges are correct.
    3. Fill out a generic voucher and submit it to Accounts Payables @ acctspay-dept@wmich.edu for payment along with a copy of the invoice.
    4. Email Purchasing @ WMU-Purchasing@wmich.edu when making "final" payment so Blanket Purchase Order can be closed.