Purchasing Policies & Procedures

Functions of Procurement Services

Procurement Services helps all departments of the college procure equipment, furnishings, supplies, and services. NOTE: If your project requires construction or significant services on campus, contact legal counsel and FMS (410-337-6166) prior to soliciting bids.

It functions also:

a) To obtain written or verbal quotations and bids and to place or assist in placing orders for all goods or services exceeding $1,000.

b) To act as an informational resource to the college community regarding sources of supplies and services.

c) To effect savings and economy of the college resources.

d) To track the progress of all orders exceeding $1,000 from the time it is issued until the goods or services are received or services have been performed satisfactorily.

To ensure that the work of each department is effective, it is necessary that each college representative:

A. Anticipate Requirements

Anticipate your requirements sufficiently in advance to permit the purchase of goods and services in an efficient and effective manner.

B. Specifications

Submit clear and concise specifications in every detail. Specifications should permit Procurement Services sufficient latitude of choice that it may contribute either to improvement of quality or to economy.

C. Unauthorized Commitments

Unauthorized commitments may result in reimbursement to the college, suspension of employment or procurement responsibilities or termination of employment.

There are approved exceptions to this policy:

1) Purchase of materials and supplies and services costing less than $1,000 may be authorized by departments provided the price is considered fair and reasonable.

2) Repair of equipment may be authorized by departments when the costs do not exceed $1,000.

3) Breakdown of essential services or programs during the non-duty hours of the- Department of Procurement and Auxiliary Services may be handled by departments. A confirming requisition must then be forwarded to the Procurement Services at the earliest practical time with a full explanation of why the matter had to be handled in an emergency manner.

4) Department of Facilities Management Services construction or renovation projects.

Review Section III entirely for detailed Information regarding procurement requirements.

D. Confidentiality

Keep strictly confidential, all information and quotations submitted by competing vendors.

E. Inspection and Acceptance

All items must be checked and accepted by requesters to ensure that the goods or services meets specifications or conforms to industry standards, within 30 days of receipt so that adjustments can be made. Notify the director of Procurement of any problems. When damaged shipments are received, visible or concealed, the requesting department must note on all copies of the delivery receipt any damages observed; then contact the Procurement office for instructions.

F. Return of Materials

Damaged or incorrect items must not be returned to a vendor without prior approval from the vendor. This can be accomplished by contacting the vendor and obtaining a Return Authorization number (R.A. #). Contact the Shipping and Receiving Department or the director of Procurement if assistance is needed in these matters.

G. Purchases Less Than $1,000

1) Purchases that are routine and do not exceed $1,000, where a vendor has already been established (vendor record on file in the Accounts Payable system), may be placed by the requester. Orders can be placed verbally or by sending the vendor the "Vendor Copy" of the purchase request. Departments are authorized to place these orders without the assistance of the Purchasing Office.

2) Any problems or follow-up resulting from orders of this type are the responsibility of the person or requester initiating the order.

3) The purchase request and all supporting documentation must be forwarded to Purchasing, i.e., Procurement Services, and the Shipping and Receiving Department prior to the Shipping and Receiving Department's delivery of equipment or materials to the requester.

4) Any aggregate order with a value greater than $1,000 must not be procured using a Goucher credit card.

H. Competitive Quotes

1) Purchases under $1,000 do not require multiple quotes; however, the purchase price must be competitive, fair and reasonable.

2) Purchases over $1,000 but not exceeding $5,000 require at least two competitive verbal or written (preferred method) quotes by competing vendors. Refer to the Section on Sole Sources for specific information.

3) The director of Procurement Services may be involved, if necessary, in obtaining additional quotes, depending on the nature of the order.

4) All procurement transactions shall be conducted in a manner to provide to the maximum extent practical, open and free competition. Individuals shall be alert to organizational conflicts of interest as well as noncompetitive practices among contractors that may restrict or eliminate competition or otherwise restrain trade.

I. Competitive Bids or Proposals

Purchases of goods or services over $5,000 require a formal bid or request for proposal process, when practical. The director of Procurement and auxiliary services will be responsible for obtaining formal bids or proposals.

J. Blanket Orders

1) Blanket Orders are to be used when necessary, to take advantage of discounts, to facilitate order processing, and to ensure timely, shipments. In some cases the size of the order may require requests for formal bidding or proposals before Blanket Orders can be prepared.

2) The director of Procurement will be responsible for issuing Blanket Order agreements.

K. Cash Terms and Discounts

Cash discounts are to be taken whenever available. All college personnel should attempt to obtain discounts even when the vendor does not normally provide them.

L. Incentives, Gifts or Gratuities

1) Goucher College prohibits vendors from offering its faculty and staff any kinds of incentives, gifts or gratuities in exchange for conducting business. The college expects its faculty and staff to have no personal interest in suggesting or specifying vendors and that there be no direct incentives or rewards, financial or otherwise, for conducting business with a vendor.

2) Should an office/department of the college believe a vendor or its representatives have acted in an improper or unethical manner, such behavior should be reported to the director of Procurement. Likewise, should a vendor believe it has been asked to render goods and/or services to an office/department in a manner contrary to any agreements it has with the college, or act in a manner it considers to be inappropriate, such behavior should be reported to the director of Procurement.

M. Sole Source

If a specific vendor or brand name product is specified on the purchase request and the originating department requests to have the purchase order awarded on a basis other than a competitive one, sufficient documentation justifying why it is not possible or practical to award the order to any vendor or for any brand name product, other than the one specified must accompany the purchase request.

N. A Purchase Request IS required

1) For most purchases that involve delivery of the order to the Receiving Department.

2) When a supplier requires that a purchase order number be assigned to the order being placed for billing purposes.

3) For purchases of goods over $1,000, especially capital equipment orders, requiring a second quote.

4) For purchases from suppliers who require that a formal purchase order be faxed or mailed before delivery can take place.

5) For any orders for non-capital equipment that are individually valued as an item at less than $1,000, however, the aggregate purchase is over $1,000.

O. A Purchase Request IS NOT required

1) For books & subscriptions. They require a signed copy of order form with an account number, which is submitted to Accounts Payable for processing. A college corporate credit card may also be used for this type of transaction.

2) For purchases of small orders for pickup from local suppliers, an invoice is obtained, which is assigned an account number and submitted to Accounts Payable. A college corporate credit card may also be used for this type of transaction.

3) The preferred method for placing office supply orders is by using the OfficeMax office supply website (www.officemaxsolutions.com). Contact Procurement to establish an account (410-337-6134). Office supply orders are charged to the account holders Goucher credit card.

P. Award of Contract

Awards shall be made to the bidder or offer or whose bid or offer is responsive to the solicitation and is most advantageous to the college, price, quality and other factors considered.

Q. Tax Exempt Purchases

1) The college's tax exempt number is 31001796. The college will not reimburse departments or individuals for taxes paid for equipment or supplies. The following is information published by the Comptroller of Maryland regarding items qualifying for tax exemption:

2) An organization may use its exemption certificate to purchase tangible personal property that will be used in carrying on its work. This includes office supplies and equipment and supplies used in fund-raising activities, but does not include items used to conduct an "unrelated trade or business" as defined by Section 513 of the United States Internal Revenue Code.

3) An exemption certificate is not transferable and applies only to purchases made by the registered organization. It may not be used to purchase items for the personal use of officials, members or employees of the organization, or to purchase items that will be donated to the organization.

NOTE: Some of the items referenced should be considered general guidelines. For more specific information, contact the director of Procurement services at extension 410-337-6134.

Updated December 2020