Section 7.1 - Purchasing Operations
Date: February 2010
Approved: Senior Associate Vice President for Business and Finance
The purchasing function consists of business processes related to the acquisition of goods and services for the University.
Purchases of equipment, materials, commodities, supplies, and services for the University are made competitively where practicable. Performance, quality, suitability, delivery, and service are factors considered in buying. All purchases are made according to the provisions of the Illinois Procurement Code and the Procurement Rules of the Chief Procurement Officer for Public Institutions of Higher Education and other applicable state and federal regulations. The campuses have common practices and procedures for purchasing operations.
Approvals and Authorizations
Purchasing Authority - Departments should submit properly approved purchase requisitions to the Purchasing Division to authorize initiation of the purchasing process according to established procedures. Limited purchasing authority is delegated to campus departments by use of the procurement card. Approval requirements are contained in Section 2.2, Approval of Financial Documents.
Construction - The Office for Capital Programs, Department of Facilities Management (UIC), Office for Planning, Design and Construction (UIS), and Facilities and Services (UIUC) handle construction projects. Any of these campus offices may ask the Purchasing Division to issue competitive bids and/or purchase orders for construction projects.
Departments - When authorized by the Director of Purchases, departments may buy directly from suppliers, using approved procedures and forms. Unions, student centers, and campus bookstores may purchase books, supplies, and other items for resale when purchases are less than the competitive bid limit. This applies to one-time purchases or total annual purchases. Campus libraries purchase books and other items for their collections. The Purchasing Division does not have the authority to make personal purchases for individuals, nor help them in any way with such purchases.
Purchases from other than State Appropriations
Purchases of goods and services with funds other than those provided by the State of Illinois follow the same policies, regulations, and procedures as for state-appropriated funds. Special procedures may be followed when required by the provisions of a grant, contract, or special trust fund.
The Purchasing mission is to support the procurement requirements of the University in a professional, ethical, and timely manner.
The Purchasing Division will utilize technology, streamline processes, and provide value driven services, enabling Purchasing customers to acquire necessary goods and services.
The purchasing function contains several related processes:
- Pre-Requisition Services -Obtain specifications and market information about commodities, equipment, and services to help campus departments in planning, budgeting, and acquisition timing.
- Buying - Identify vendors, negotiate, bid (when required), issue purchase orders, and/or execute contracts, expedite as requested [excluding procurement cards (P-Cards)], issue change orders, and cancel orders.
- Transportation - Ensure efficient and economic routing of goods from the vendor to the University and handle any transportation claims against the carrier that may arise.
Delegations of University Purchasing Authority
Board of Trustees - The Board of Trustees has delegated the responsibility and authority for purchasing to the Comptroller, except where the authority to purchase specific items has been assigned to another officer or committee.
Comptroller - The Comptroller has delegated to the Senior Associate Vice President for Business and Finance the authority to formulate and to publish the general policies and procedures required to carry out the actions of the Board of Trustees and to meet statutory requirements regarding purchasing matters. The Senior Associate Vice President for Business and Finance is also authorized to develop, install, and oversee the operation of appropriate business systems to accomplish the purchasing function.
Senior Associate Vice President for Business and Finance - The Senior Associate Vice President for Business and Finance has University-wide responsibility and authority for the following:
- To develop and issue necessary operational policies and procedures for purchasing.
- To monitor purchasing operations to ensure that procedures meet minimum standards of University policies.
- To develop and maintain business systems as required.
The campus Assistant Vice Presidents for Business and Finance have responsibility and authority for the day-to-day operation of the purchasing activities and the processing of the various purchasing transactions for their campuses.
The campus Assistant Vice Presidents for Business and Finance may delegate to the Directors of Purchases the actual direct supervision of the purchasing processes including the responsibility and authority for the following operations:
- Purchase of commodities, equipment, and services as requested by campus departments.
- Establish and monitor effective internal procedures to efficiently process purchasing documents.
- Coordinate with other administrative departments to provide a timely and accurate purchasing function.
- Provide regular training and instruction to campus personnel who originate, process, complete, or use purchasing documents, data, or files.
- Approve professional services contracts of less than $1,000,000 and purchases of commodities, equipment and general services of less than $1,000,000 that are not subject to Board of Trustees' approval.
- Approve purchases which exceed the dollar levels listed above, but which the Board of Trustees has exempted from its approval.
- Establish procedures to: 1) ensure insurance requirements for vendors, service providers, contractors, and consultants are included in purchasing documents; and 2) route certificates of insurance to Campus Risk Management for review for acceptance, or for corrective action. (See Section 6, Insurance for additional information.)
The Purchasing Division has the following operational responsibilities:
- To purchase commodities, equipment, and services as requested by the various campus departments, at the lowest price consistent with required quality, from suppliers who will deliver purchased items at the specified time and place.
- To conduct preliminary negotiations with suppliers, to locate sources of supply, to obtain price quotations through formal and informal procedures, to select vendors, and to place purchase orders. The Purchasing Division also handles interviews with salespersons.
- To follow-up on purchase orders as requested (except P-Cards) to ensure that the vendor fulfills the purchase agreement on delivery, and that the carrier delivers the shipment promptly and in good condition.
- To handle, directly with the vendor, all correspondence concerning purchases, including price adjustments, the return of defective or incorrect materials, additional shipments to fill shortages, purchase order cancellation, and to present claims for shortages and damages.
- To furnish prices and estimates of cost for materials, equipment, and services to campus departments.
- To suggest changes that will improve product quality, promote better availability, or provide greater economies in purchase or application.
- To maintain or obtain catalogues and other data about vendors, materials, and services for campus departments to use in determining their needs. Such data may include information that is necessary to determine the overall responsibility of a vendor.
- To provide information, training, and assistance to departments participating in the P-Card program and to review compliance of P-Card transactions (when applicable) with established University procedures.
- To encourage the use of business enterprises owned by minority, female, and persons with disabilities as suppliers of goods and services to the University if such action provides value to the University and is not in direct conflict with any other statute, policy, or regulation.
Invitations for Sealed Bid / Request for Proposals
Invitations for Sealed Bid (IFSB), Requests for Proposal (RFP), or quotations are used in purchasing or contracting for competitive items where practical or required by law. The Chief Procurement Officer for Higher Education is authorized to adjust bid limits annually for individual procurements of supplies or services other than professional or artistic services, and procurement of construction.
The IFSB/RFP limits for fiscal year 2013 are as follows: Supplies or Services other than Professional and Artistic Services (including equipment) $53,700; Construction $75,300; and Professional and Artistic Services $20,000. Announcements and advertisements publicize additional bid information and provide the bid due date, time, and place of the bid opening. Announcements must be advertised on the Illinois Higher Education Procurement Bulletin for a minimum of 14 days. All IFSBs/RFPs are publicly opened.
Please send questions regarding this policy manual to OBFSPolicies@uillinois.edu.
Last Updated: July 12, 2012