This guide is designed to explain and facilitate understanding of the Purchasing Department, its function, policy and procedures, and to serve as a tool in acquainting new employees with University purchasing programs.
Central Washington University, as an agency of the State of Washington, is required to make all purchases within the laws and guidelines established by the Office of Financial Management and Department of General Administration. These procedures include, but are not limited to, RCW's, WAC's, State Administrative and Accounting Manual procedures and the Presidents-Central Washington University's Policies manual.
This overview is intended to help employees understand the procedures that must be followed in procuring materials and services for the University's use. There are several key points each employee should remember and follow.
Communication is a key factor in the purchasing process. We want to do all we can to help you obtain your equipment, services and supplies as needed. Please feel free to call on us anytime you have questions or comments.
The Purchasing Department is located on the 2nd floor of Mitchell Hall. The mailing address is:
Central Washington University
Purchasing Department, MS 7480
400 E University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926-7480
The general department phone number is x1002 and our fax number is x1623. The Purchasing Department hours are Monday through Friday between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.
Stuart Thompson, Purchasing Manager
|Karol Barker, PSS email@example.com|
|Karen Galbraith, PSS firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Shellie Snyder, PSSS email@example.com|
The Purchasing Staff:
Communicates State and University purchasing policies and procedures.
Provides expertise in the acquisition of materials, supplies, equipment and services.
Ensures timely acquisitions' of goods and services.
Develops sources of supply.
Reviews requisitions, specifications and suggested sources of supply.
Receives, analyzes and awards competitive bids on requests for goods and services totaling $10,000–$100,000.
Establishes contracts through competitive bid process on items and services used repetitively.
Provides assistance and direction to departments in settling disputes with suppliers arising from purchase transactions.
Provides follow-up services on outstanding orders and resolves any problems that may arise.
Refers information about new and improved products to departments using those products.
Provides sources and pricing information to University departments.
Administers Purchasing Card program.
Coordinates equipment/furniture leasing/rentals/purchase.
Assists departments in returning purchased items.
The Purchasing Department is the campus office responsible for the actions of spending University funds. The Purchasing Department has primary responsibility for signing purchase documents which are legal contracts obligating the University in matters of procurement. The term "purchase documents" includes contracts for the acquisition of all goods and services, whether by purchase, rental agreement or lease. Exceptions to this authority exist in the case of Facilities Management Department (capital improvement projects), University libraries (books and other library materials), the Bookstore (material for resale).
The University is not required to honor oral or unsigned contracts to purchase goods or services.
Departments should not sign contracts unless they have received delegated authority to do so. If you sign a contract when you have no authority, you may become personally liable for the contract provisions.
There are certain contract terms which appear commonly in contracts but are not legal for State of Washington employees to sign. Some of these are as follows: governed by the laws of any state other than Washington, indemnification or hold-harmless clauses, contracts with automatic renewals but no cancellation or termination clause. There are other clauses required by statute: providing for open records and cancellation for lack of appropriation if the contract continues across fiscal years.
If you have been given authority to sign certain contracts, it is your responsibility to learn what acceptable contract language is.
We emphasize the need for departments to plan their supply and equipment needs well in advance. The time required by Purchasing to process your requisition is in addition to the time it takes the requisition to process through the approval cycle within the university. Also, buyers have to comply with all requirements, including competitive bidding, which may lengthen the time needed to complete the process.
The delivery date will, of course, depend upon the supplier's stock and the problems they may encounter in securing delivery from their suppliers, as well as possible production problems.
The requesting of bids is a requirement of the State of Washington and is a recognized and accepted means of insuring effective competition among vendors. The university will generally receive greater discounts and better service through competitive bidding.
When requisitioning items that are used repetitively, specify the largest reasonable quantity and as many items as possible from common sources of supply.
It is the responsibility of the Purchasing Department to control, and analyze vendor bids, quotations, and proposals. The requisitioning department is responsible for defining quantity, quality, specifications, delivery date requirements and all other pertinent information essential to making a proper purchase. The requisitioning department should also suggest sources, when known, especially for unusual or unique items. The requisitioner may be called upon to assist Purchasing in evaluating the bids received relative to a purchase for the department.
Departments are responsible to:
I need to purchase an item or service!! Where do I start?
Departments should avoid frequent small orders. Decrease the frequency and increase the quantity in small repetitive orders. Departments can also use Petty Cash for small orders under $100.00. See the Accounting -- Petty Cash Procedures for more information.
Purchases between $10,000 and up to $100,000 (before trade-in allowance, sales tax and freight charges) are to be competitively solicited and documented via "Request for Quotes" so that a documented record of competition can be established.
The law also requires a formal, competitive process such as "Invitation for Bids", "Requests for Proposals" and other formal competition processes for purchases of more than $100,000.
This is the "traditional" ordering method. A Purchase Requisition form is completed by the department and routed to the Budget Office for budget approval. If the expenditure is against a Grant budget the Requisition should be forwarded to Grants and Contracts office for budget approval. The Budget Office or Grants and Contracts office will then forward the Purchase Requisition to the Purchasing Department for processing. Purchasing reviews the requisition, processes the order through the PeopleSoft financial management system and places the order with the supplier. When the order is entered into PeopleSoft, funds are encumbered against the general ledger project number. The encumbrance is relieved when the order is received and paid for.
Blanket Purchase Order
This is similar to a regular purchase order, but is made out as a "Not to Exceed" lump sum per month or year and not as an individual item or items. Blanket Orders are used to process many repeat small item orders from the same supplier. Blanket Purchase orders are also initiated by sending a completed requisition form to the Purchasing Department. This method currently does not encumber funds within the General Ledger.
JP Morgan Chase Procurement Card
This is a University Visa credit card used for "small dollar", non-travel related purchases. It is available to all departments. Individual use is based on the approval of the Supervisor and PBA within each department or division. This method of payment does not encumber funds within the General Ledger. Prospective cardholders must submit a Purchasing Card application signed by their supervisor and PBA and submitted to the Purchasing Department. Once the application is processed, the cardholder must attend a mandatory training session before receiving their card. As a note, the University also offers a Corporate Card for travel related expenses.
University employees may make allowable purchases under $100 and be reimbursed by the Cashiers' office. See the Accounting -- Petty Cash Procedures for allowable types of purchases and a reimbursement form.
Expenditures should be planned sufficiently in advance to allow the Purchasing Office to obtain the best price and/or overall service. Small orders are costly to the University and to vendors. If you are aware that you will be ordering the same items in the future or will have a need for other items from the same vendor, consolidate and order all at once. Often, significant quantity discount savings will be achieved. On occasion, Purchasing may consolidate requisitions on to one order for similar items where quantity price breaks may be reasonably obtained.
Purchase orders are based on the information and specifications shown on the requisition. Care should be taken so that specifications are adequate to allow someone with little or no knowledge of the merchandise to place the order properly. When requesting parts for machines or equipment, a manufacturer and part number or model number of the unit the parts are for should be stated on the requisition.
On the rare occasions when the encumbrance of an order is to be split between multiple accounts, one requisition will suffice, but the breakdown of the split funding needs to be shown. List each account and project number separately with the total amount to be applied to each.
The Purchasing Department recognizes that emergency needs do occur and that special requirements may prevent a department from providing the normal order lead time. An emergency involves threat to life or safety and/or serious damage or destruction to University property. In emergency situations, use your best judgment. If possible, contact Purchasing and we will act quickly and responsively to the needs of your department. Existing vendor relationships may enable speedier response to such situations.
The whole process begins with you. You identify the need and prepare a purchase requisition. The purchase requisition authorizes purchase action by the University Purchasing Department and becomes a purchase order when signed by an authorized member of the Purchasing Department. A contract does not exist between the University and a Vendor until an official purchase order has been issued and accepted. If a quotation has been received from the Vendor, the contract exists when the purchase order is issued in accordance with the terms of the quotation.
A completed requisition contains:
Supplier Phone and Fax Numbers
Item quantity, description and price
Additional information or specifications the supplier may need to process the order
Delivery information (building, room # etc.)
Department name and phone number
Name of person requesting the items
Budget account and project number
Signature of department individual with budget signature authority
Signature of Budget Office verifying funds are available to cover the Purchase Requisition.
When Purchasing receives the requisition, the following takes place. The requisition is reviewed for (1) content (2) price (3) delivery. The requisition is entered into the PeopleSoft system and a purchase order number is generated. The order is faxed, mailed or phoned to the Supplier.
When the supplier receives the order, the order is processed through the supplier's internal systems. The order is filled and shipped to the address listed on the purchase order. An invoice, referencing the purchase order number, is generated and mailed to CWU Accounts Payable when the item is shipped.
Receipt of the Order
Orders shipping to campus via UPS, Fed Ex, DHL or Common carrier or other shipping agencies are delivered to Central Receiving. If your goods are delivered to you by Central Receiving, you will be required to sign for the item as being received. This will serve as verification of receipt of goods and will also serve as authorization for Accounts Payable to pay the vendor. All audio visual equipment is delivered to MTIS for inspection and tagging, and all Computer related items are taken to CSS for inspection and tagging before delivery to the requesting department.
Purchasing Card orders, furniture, large pieces of equipment, and orders from some local suppliers are delivered directly to departments. In some circumstances, goods and/or services are received or picked up directly by the department. In this instance, it is important that you send Central Receiving the packing slip or any other documentation which verifies receipt of goods. This documentation must show the Purchase Order number, and must have a department signature with date of receipt.
Upon receipt of goods/services (unless items are damaged or not as ordered, discussed below), the University is responsible for payment in full. Accounts Payable processes payment, but will not do so until there is verification that goods have been received. This applies to regular purchase orders - other methods previously discussed may be an exception to this procedure (e.g.:Purchasing Card or petty cash).
It is the policy of the Purchasing Department to secure competitive bids on goods or services whenever possible. Bids may be solicited verbally or in writing, depending upon the dollar amount of the transactions. Requisitions having a value in excess of $10,000 require a "Record of Competition" be performed. A minimum of three written bids will be solicited from suppliers. Requisitions having a value in excess of $100,000 require a formal bid process to be performed by the Purchasing Office.
Exceptions to the bidding process are made in those situations where no apparent benefit would result to the University. Such exceptions include:
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, 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. Most prepayments should be requested using a Purchase Requisition form, and attaching specific instructions for completing a prepayment request.
In requesting 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. Requestors should also include the mailing address of the company to be paid.
Departments are encouraged to suggest vendors for routine and unusual purchases. The Purchasing Department will consider these suggestions in coming to a decision regarding purchases. Departmental personnel are also encouraged to meet with sales representatives to obtain information about new products or services which may be of use or interest to their departments. There are guidelines which should be followed to serve the best interest of the University when dealing directly with a sales person:
Vendors are selected for their capability to serve the needs of the University by providing quality products in the most economical and efficient manner possible. Past performance and service after the sale are important factors. Vendors doing business with the University for the first time are carefully evaluated by the Purchasing Department.
Factors considered when evaluating a vendor include:
A "Sole Source" purchase means that only one supplier (source), to the best of the requester's knowledge and belief, based upon thorough research, is capable of delivering the required product. There are instances where products are truly "sole-source", but they are few and far between. Similar types of products may exist, but only one supplier, for reasons of expertise, and/or standardization, quality, compatibility with existing equipment, specifications, or availability, is the only source that is acceptable to meet a specific need.
A sole source placement involves situations in which no advantage results to the University by bidding, or when an item can only be obtained from a single source, making bidding impossible. Any requests for sole source award of a purchase order should include, as part of the Purchase Requisition, a written justification as to why a sole source award is necessary and a letter from the manufacturer stating that the item is only available from them or their distributor.
The Washington State Office of State Procurement awards contracts through competition to cover designated state agencies for a period of one or more years. The University has the option of purchasing against these state contracts without the necessity of developing specifications or requesting bids, which means purchase orders may be placed immediately for a faster delivery. Also, because of the volume associated with state purchases, the prices are very competitive.
Central Washington University is not exempt from sales tax, except when items are purchased for resale (where sales tax is collected on the final sale such as for the Bookstore). For purchases made out-of-state where no sales tax is charged, the State of Washington will assess a use tax. Therefore, all purchases shall have applicable sales/use tax applied to their order.
If you wish to modify or cancel a purchase order once it has been issued, you must notify Purchasing in writing (or by phone, and follow up with a written memo or revised requisition). There may be restocking or other charges resulting from the modification or cancelation of purchase orders. These costs will be charged to the departmental budget. Any returns for credit must also be handled by Purchasing.
The Purchasing Department will attempt to expedite all overdue University purchase orders and prompt vendors to ship these orders. You can assist Purchasing by tracking your own purchase orders and notifying Purchasing of overdue shipments. Call Purchasing and we will contact the vendor to determine what is causing the delay and what options are available.
Once you receive a delivery, open it immediately and inspect for concealed or obvious damage, shortages, or mis-shipment. Be sure to compare goods received to the Purchase Order specifications. If you find a mistake or problem with your order, contact the buyer immediately so that steps can be taken to correct the error. If possible, save the packaging for inspection.
If, for any reason, you wish to return a product to the vendor, contact the Purchasing Department within three working days of receipt. In addition, Purchasing will notify Accounts Payable and Central Receiving so that your account can be properly credited.
ALL RETURNS, EXCHANGES, AND DAMAGE CLAIMS MUST BE APPROVED BY THE PURCHASING DEPARTMENT BEFORE GOODS ARE RETURNED TO THE VENDOR.
In the event an item needs to be returned to the supplier, here are the steps to follow:
1. Call the supplier and arrange for the return
2. Prepare item for return
3. Route package to Central Receiving
If package is less than 10 lbs, place with outgoing mail and it will be taken to Central Receiving during the next inter-office mail pickup.
If the package weighs over 10 lbs, call Central Receiving at extension 1657 to arrange for pickup. Things to keep in mind:
Only the highest ethical principles are to be employed by all persons involved in the procurement process. It is the responsibility of each member of the university staff and of the Purchasing Department to take all appropriate steps to assure that the university does not knowingly enter into a purchase commitment which could result in a real or apparent conflict of interest situation. A conflict of interest exists when some factor (e.g. financial or personal interest in a vendor) interferes or appears to interfere with a purchaser's ability to be completely impartial and loyal to the university's interests.
Everyone has received them: suspicious sounding sales pitches, phone calls about renewal orders you've never placed, invoices for goods never ordered, and other phone scams from not-so-credible companies. So, to help the University community stay aware of questionable vendors, the Purchasing department has come up with a list of tips to help prevent departments from being swindled:
The majority of transactions relating to purchasing are of a confidential nature and should be treated as such, especially with regard to our suppliers. It is unethical as well as damaging to the University's reputation to allow information about one vendor's quotation to pass to another vendor. This includes indirect methods such as overheard telephone calls, documentation left on desks during vendor interviews and conversations within hearing of vendors in other offices. An awareness of this sort of situation should be created so that it may be avoided.
It is the policy of the Purchasing Department, as well as other related personnel of the University, to decline personal gifts or gratuities in connection with the purchasing function. Purchasing Department staff in any of its locations may not accept personal gifts or gratuities from any current or potential supplier of goods or services to the University.
Law prohibits the University from the purchase of goods or services for the personal use of any employee. The only purpose for which the University may expend its funds is for the benefit and support of the University, and its mandated purposes. Law prohibits the University from paying for individual memberships in scientific or other societies, or to pay for subscriptions to professional magazines for the personal benefit of an employee. State resources cannot be used to receive or deliver personal packages. When placing personal orders, do not use Central Receiving's address or departmental physical address.
Regulations prohibit buying goods or services from a university employee unless the cost is less than that from any other source identified in an appropriate diligent search. Should the cost be less, no purchase can be made until approved by the Purchasing Manager. Consulting contracts with university employees are generally not appropriate and must be reviewed closely. Employees should normally be paid through the payroll system.
Central Washington University regulates and controls the use of the University's name and property in advertising conducted by suppliers who have provided products or services to the University. All requests by suppliers, faculty and staff for use of the University's name or other identifying marks in their advertising materials must be forwarded to Business Services and Contracts for approval first.
Under a variety of circumstances, outside organizations are required to provide evidence of commercial general liability insurance and to name the University as an additional insured to the organization's insurance policy in order to be permitted to conduct business on University property. All such arrangements require a written contract or agreement with the University. The Purchasing Department works with Business Services and Contracts to ensure that proper insurance requirements are in place before any on-site work begins. Prior to the commencement of any work or service for the University, evidence of appropriate insurance coverage must be submitted by the vendor to the Purchasing Office.
Generally, purchase orders are not issued for travel expenses. Exceptions may be made for student group travel or special coordination of workshops, conferences, or seminars where there are 5 hotel rooms per night or more.
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 Central Washington University.
The Office of Surplus and Asset Management has been designated as the responsible department for the processing and disposal of items which are no longer needed or usable by Central Washington 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 Surplus and Asset Management department whenever items become surplus for possible placement in other areas.
The sale of surplus University property is normally held 6 to 8 times yearly and is the primary means of property disposal. Surplus property will be solicited by the Surplus and Asset Management department prior to the sale times. Departments having unique surplus items with limited markets should contact the Surplus and Asset Management department to arrange special solicitations. No sale of University property will be made to employees or other individuals except through public Surplus Sales.
Once a purchase order containing a new asset or assets is processed by the Purchasing Department a copy is provided to the Asset Inventory Technician. When the item(s) are received the Technician tags the new property; records its description and location and transfers the information onto the PeopleSoft system.
The end of a Fiscal Year (FY) is on June 30th of each year, thus the expenditure of funds for each FY must be made before this date. A schedule for processing requisitions will be sent in early March establishing a schedule of deadlines to assist you in planning your expenditures and to avoid confusion over which fiscal year purchase orders will be charged against. Please note and observe the deadlines to assure that your requisitions will be processed against the correct FY.
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This is a reminder that CWU launched a new process in October to help departments save money on a va