370.2 Purchasing Policies and Procedures

Created by: Dana Trebing on 10/15/2004
Category: 3 - Finance and Administration; 70 - Purchasing/Supplies
Originator: Director of Administrative Services
Current File: 370.2
Adoption Date: 10/01/2004
Reviewed for Currency: 10/01/2004
Replaces File: 370.2
Date of Origin: 11/24/1986
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370.2 Purchasing Policies and Procedures


A. Background

University purchasing philosophy and the organization of the purchasing function is set forth in File 370.1 of this manual. That entry specifies that the Director of Purchasing has the responsibility for University purchasing and is to provide appropriate specific purchasing policies and procedures necessary to cause the function to operate in an effective manner.


B. Policy

Individuals given purchasing authority as specified in File 370.1 are responsible for item specification, supplier contact, bidding and price negotiation, and purchase order origination, where necessary, for all purchases consistent with the guidelines indicated below.


C. Guidelines

1. There are two primary means of purchasing materials for the University, purchasing card (Pro-Card) and purchase orders.  Purchase orders should be utilized when Pro-Card use is restricted by the University, or when the card is not accepted by the supplier.

2. In the event that a purchase order is required, the purchaser will ensure that a purchase requisition is properly prepared, approved and processed for each purchase prior to the item being delivered or service being rendered.  The purchase order is a legal document which constitutes a contract between the University and a supplier.  The purchase orders will be generated in the Purchasing Department as specified by the requisition form.

3. A properly prepared purchase requisition should include adequate specification, catalog/part number of product, account number(s) to which the expense will be charged and signature of the budget unit head.  Supplier quote(s), documentation of verbal quote(s), and single/sole source justification where required, should be attached to the purchase requisition.

4. In the event of a need for an immediate purchase and the use of the Pro-Card is prohibited, the purchaser will contact the Purchasing Department for assistance.  No oral purchase order should be given prior to this contact.

5. Other than the exceptions noted later, the following thresholds apply to obatining competitive quotations:

  • Up to $4,999 -- The designated purchaser or the Purchasing Department will negotiate with at least one approved source, or use the established preferred supplier.
  • $5,000 to $9,999 -- The designated purchaser or the Purchasing Department will obtain competitive quotations from at least three suppliers, or document the reason why it was impossible to obtain three quotations.
  • $10,000 and above -- The Purchasing Department will obtain at least three formal competitive written quotations.  Unsuccessful bidders will be notified of Furman's decision.

6. Exceptions to the bidding requirements stipulated in paragraph five:

  • Capital Purchases -- The purchase of any single piece of property or equipment valued at $3,000 or more with a useful life of at least 3 years is considered a capital purchase.  All capital purchases will be processed through the Purchasing Department to ensure proper recording, tracking, and accounting of the University property.
  • Leases -- All lease agreements regardless of dollar amount must be approved by the Purchasing Department prior to being finalized and signed by the Vice President for Finance and Administration.  This will ensure the expense is carried in the appropriate account and the lease is consistent with the policies and goals of the University.
  • Computer/Multimedia Equipment and Software -- The purchase of computer or multimedia equipment and software will require approval from the Director of Computing and Information Services Department or assigned employees to provide for the University's systems compatibility and maintenance expense.  This policy includes purchasing supporting standalone systems.
  • Single/Sole Source Purchase -- The bidding process may not be appropriate for one-of-a-kind purchases or for purchases made under a single source arrangement.  Documentation explaining why bids were not taken should be attached to the purchase requisition. Purchases falling under the single source arrangement should be bid every three years at a minimum.  Documentation of the competitive bid process should be submitted accordingly.

7. Preferred Suppliers are selected by the Purchasing Department for low cost, repetitively purchased items, such as office supplies, office chairs, and janitorial supplies.  The University also participates in E&I, ACS and other buying consortium contracts.  Departments are encouraged to utilize Preferred Suppliers and consortium contracts to obtain the best possible prices.

8. The purchase of safety and protective equipment should be coordinated between the purchaser's department head and the environmental health and safety coordinator. Emphasis will be placed on the inherent safety considerations used in the design and durability of each item. All machines and equipment purchased should be in conformance with federal and state Occupational Safety and Health regulations.

9. The arrangement of services modifying University building or structures on or off Furman campus will require approval from Furman's Facilities Services to ensure building codes are adhered to, risk insurance is provided for, and maintenance expense is kept at a minimum.

10. Departments are encouraged to purchase recycled and other environmentally preferable products whenever possible.

12. All other things being equal, the purchaser should do business with alumni, local businesses, and other individuals and businesses which support Furman.

13. The Budget Unit Head will maintain accurate records of departmental purchases to assure that expenditures remain within approved budgets.