Table of Contents
Purchase Orders 1
Purchase Order Preparation 2
Blanket Purchase Orders 2
Catalogs/Reference Material 2
Personal Purchases 3
Delegated Purchases 3
Authority to Sign Contracts 3
Bidding Procedures 4
Capital Equipment Items 4
COD Orders 4
Faculty Grants 5
Student Organizations 5
Printing/Design Procedures 5
Computer Related Equipment 6
Copier Purchases 6
Surplus Equipment 6
Purchasing Consortiums 7
Questionable Vendors 7
Financing Prohibited 7
Cell Phone Policy & Procedures 7
Purchasing Card Policy & Procedures 10
The Purchasing Department of The University of the South is charged with the responsibility of performing the purchasing functions in compliance with all current rules and regulations as defined by the University Administration.
The Purchasing Department is located in Carnegie 110. As a service department, we welcome the opportunity to serve you in your purchasing needs. Please feel free to drop by at any time or call at extension 1250.
Some of the functions of the Purchasing Department are:
1. To bid purchases competitively, assist in specification formulation, locate products and vendors and pool purchases by various departments where possible.
2. To negotiate with vendors, follow up on problems, and expedite service;
3. To seek the highest quality at the best pricing;
4. To be sensitive to our environment and purchase environmentally safe products whenever possible and to encourage recycling efforts;
5. To maintain a small inventory of new and used office furniture;
6. To dispose of and/or re-issue surplus property;
7. To monitor purchasing policies and procedures.
Purchase orders are required for all single purchases in excess of $1000. For purchases totaling $5000 or more, the purchase order must be signed by the Purchasing Manager before any commitment is made to the vendor. Purchase orders must be completed prior to the time of purchase and sent to the Purchasing Department for signature.
Except under unavoidable circumstances a purchase order will be processed the day it is received either by mailing it or by faxing the order if requested. While emergency situations do arise, with proper planning, rush purchase orders should be avoided if at all possible.
Some vendors require a hard copy of the order and some will accept a purchase order number only. Even if the vendor does not require a hard copy of the purchase order, the University's policies as stated above apply. If an order has been telephoned, please indicate on the order form if it should be mailed confirming to the vendor, or if it should not be mailed to avoid duplication of orders.
A signed purchase order is a legal document that expresses the University's intent of a contract of sale. Once accepted, establishing an agreement, it is a legally binding contract on both parties. This can become particularly important if a product must be returned or repaired.
Purchase Order Preparation
Purchase order forms are provided by the Purchasing Department at no charge. Please fill out the order form completely and legibly, being sure to fill out the "Invoice and Ship To" line so that goods may be properly delivered. Each department head or designee must sign the purchase order form before it is signed by the Purchasing Manager. It is the responsibility of the department head signing the purchase order to determine if funds are available for the purchase and if the proper account number has been designated.
Please retain the yellow copy of the form for your permanent records. After processing by the Purchasing Department, the blue copy will be returned to you. Retain this copy to compare with the goods received and the invoice from the vendor. When you receive the invoice, you must approve it for payment by signing your name, giving your account number and dating it. Return the approved invoice, along with the blue copy of the purchase order, to the Accounts Payable Department promptly so that vendor terms may be honored and discounts taken.
Accounts Payable checks are written once each week. Invoices should be submitted to Accounts Payable by noon Wednesday for a check to be issued the following Tuesday. Questions on whether invoices have been processed should be directed to Accounts Payable.
The Purchasing Department will attempt to resolve any differences with the vendor should the need arise.
Demonstrations by vendors of equipment or products should be coordinated with the Purchasing Department so that other interested departments may take advantage of such demonstrations.
Vendors sometimes will ask to leave equipment to try out before buying. Please coordinate this with the Purchasing Department, as some vendors use this as a ploy to sell their equipment (particularly on large equipment, such as copiers) since it may be easier to keep their equipment in place than to research other vendors.
Blanket Purchase Orders
Blanket purchase orders may be utilized by some departments for frequent small purchases from one vendor. If blanket orders with a vendor may be helpful to you, consult the Purchasing Department.
In some cases faculty and staff may wish to examine catalog and price materials to determine requirements. The Purchasing Department maintains catalog product information. The office is also available to locate sources and obtain product information on any items not included in these files.
No one is allowed to purchase, in the name of the University, items for personal use. This stipulation shall apply regardless of payment of normal sales and other taxes by the employee, directly to the vendor or to the vendor through the University.
The Purchasing Department may give general advice regarding personal purchases but cannot make in-depth studies or detailed inquiries on behalf of employees.
Purchases delegated to departments include:
1. The purchase of library books;
2. Items purchased for re-sale;
3. All Physical Plant Services purchases including repair parts, maintenance and construction materials, and various non-capital items;
4. Certain Athletic Department purchases such as sports supplies and uniforms.
Capital items are not delegated purchases and must follow normal purchasing procedures. See page 4.
Authority to sign contracts
Contracts involving a University commitment must be signed by the Vice-Chancellor, the Provost or, in the case of contracts involving their areas of management, by the Treasurer or the Vice-President for University Relations. Each contract must be reviewed by the Provost prior to signing and must be accompanied by a contract abstract. The contract abstract will be signed by the Provost to verify that proper review of the contract has occurred.
University employees must be careful not to make any advance commitment either verbally or in writing in anticipation that a contract will be signed later. Only the Vice-Chancellor, the Provost, the Treasurer and Vice-President have the authority to commit the University to a contractual agreement.
When requested and if time permits, requests for written quotations may be sent. Quotations are solicited from the widest practical selection of vendors with proven performance in the areas of price, service, quality and delivery. These factors, as well as product availability, proximity and technical competence, will be considered in the award of bids. The award of bids will be a joint decision of the requesting department and the Purchasing Department.
CAPITAL EQUIPMENT ITEMS
Capital equipment purchases (purchases of equipment over $5000) require the signature of both the department head and the Provost or Treasurer before sending to the Purchasing Department. If the amount is significant, the item may be bid.
The University receives goods shipped in many ways; i.e., by truck (common carrier), U.S. Postal Service, United Parcel and local company-owned vehicles. Since the University does not have a central receiving area, orders are generally received directly by the ordering department. For this reason it is imperative that specific instructions for delivery are indicated on the purchase order.
For items too large to be received by the department, or during academic breaks, please consult the Purchasing Department or Physical Plant Services for assistance in delivery.
Please do not accept material if there is visible damage to the packaging. When material received is not acceptable (i.e., damaged, not as ordered, or not ordered at all) notify the Purchasing Department immediately. Never discard packaging materials until you are satisfied that the contents are undamaged and complete. Check packing slips against what is actually in the cartons.
If you are uncomfortable about receiving a shipment and need help, contact the Purchasing Department. Sometimes drivers are uncooperative and we will be glad to help you deal with them.
We strongly discourage C.O.D. orders. Very rarely is cash on hand to pay the carrier particularly since the actual delivery time is unknown. If a company is demanding C.O.D. payment, please contact Purchasing and we will try to negotiate an alternative method of payment.
The Purchasing Department can be helpful to faculty with research grants by screening vendors. Since equipment bought with research grants is generally over $1000 and is usually ultimately the property of the University, a purchase order signed by the Purchasing Manager and Provost is required. While our technical expertise may be limited in many of these areas, we welcome the opportunity to be of assistance whenever possible.
Purchases with funds of student organizations received from the Student Activity Committee must follow the same procedures as purchases by other University departments. Complete information may be obtained from the Purchasing Department and the Office of Student Activities. The Director of Student Activities is also available to assist students with their purchasing needs. Faculty advisors of student organizations must co-sign all purchase orders of $200 or more.
Printing which is completed on campus does not require a purchase order.
These procedures cover the following: any purchase of copies, reproduction using ink or other means, artwork, design, typesetting or other functions performed by those in the graphic arts or printing fields, and video and slide presentations.
All outside printing/design purchase orders exceeding $3000 must be approved by the Office of Print Services or the Office of Communications and signed by the Purchasing Manager prior to placing the job with a printer. Printing orders are sent to the Office of Communications for design approval and they will forward them to the Purchasing Manager. Jobs whose cost will exceed $3000 are subject to bid requirements and are reviewed by the Office of Communications and/or the Office of Print Services with regard to the necessity of bidding each year according to the following information: 1) whether there is a clear picture of what the customer wants; 2) time before the job is needed; 3) when the job was last bid; and 4) how specialized is the job. These requirements are necessary in order to coordinate the printing/design needs of the University, to project a unified University image, and to keep expenditures as low as possible. Please allow time for this process when planning your printing/design jobs.
The following should help clarify the roles of the different offices concerning outside printing/design:
Role of Purchasing: To determine that fair buying practices are used and all parties in the transaction are treated fairly and ethically.
Role of Communications: To review publications of the University to ensure conformity of design and content and project a unified University image. To ensure the quality of the printed product. To assist with the design and writing process.
Role of Print Services: To send out specifications to printers, screen vendor questions, tabulate bids and send results to the successful and unsuccessful bidders. To lend technical assistance to the above as needed.
Role of Department: To obtain sufficient information to ensure a printing job will be completed on time within budget constraints while maintaining quality.
COMPUTER RELATED EQUIPMENT
All computer hardware, computer software and peripherals must be purchased through ITS and all purchases must be processed through the Banner purchasing module.
The request form must be signed by the department head and the Associate Provost before sending to the Purchasing office
Copier purchases must be coordinated through the Director of Print Services. The Director’s signature is required on these purchase orders, and the procedure for purchasing capital equipment applies.
Purchase of Surplus Equipment
Surplus office equipment, as well as various other types of equipment, can be procured through a number of sources. If you are interested in purchasing used equipment, please consult the Purchasing Department. Quality items can often be purchased for a fraction of their original cost.
Disposition of Surplus Equipment
Occasionally the University must dispose of property that is no longer needed. When trading in the property is not the best option, and after determining that the property cannot be utilized by another University department, the Purchasing Manager is authorized to sell excess property.
The Purchasing Department is the only department authorized to dispose of surplus University property, including surplus vehicles, except with the prior approval of the Provost, and prior notification to Purchasing. The Purchasing Manager is responsible for the transfer of vehicle titles and other ownership documents of University equipment.
If you have surplus office equipment to be disposed of, notify the Purchasing Department. A form is available on the Public Information server in the University Services folder to describe the item to be surplused. If another department can utilize this item, it may normally do so at no charge and your department will not be credited. In certain instances credit may be given for items surplused by departments.
Sale of Surplus Equipment
Surplus equipment that cannot be utilized by another department, may be let for bid and all employees, as well as the general public, given the opportunity to bid on such items. All bids remain confidential. Notification of such surplus sales will be by e-mail, notices posted by each time clock as well as advertising in local newspapers. All inquiries on surplus equipment should be directed to the Purchasing Department.
Educational & Institutional Cooperative Service
Associated Colleges of the South
Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association
Horizon Resource Group
The University is a member of the above purchasing consortiums that allow a group of schools to pool their buying power. Discounts available are sometimes greater than the University can obtain on their own. Contact the Purchasing Manager for more information.
You may receive telephone calls from vendors with impressive sounding names claiming to sell brand name supplies (particularly copier and computer supplies) at cut-rate prices. Please refer all such calls to the Purchasing Department so that we may check their authenticity before making an obligation to questionable vendors.
The University’s normal policy is to pay cash for all purchases and not to use lease-purchase or other financing methods.
CELL PHONE POLICY
The University recognizes that certain job functions require that an employee be accessible when away from the office or during times outside scheduled working hours. For this reason, the University will provide cell phones to select employees.
Criteria for Assignment of Cell Phones
University cell phones may be assigned to employees provided at least one of the following two criteria is met. Simple convenience is not a criterion for cell phone need. It is the responsibility of the dean, director, or department chair to make the above determination as to whether a university cell phone is warranted and the type of cell phone plan that is required. If the employee in question is at a job level commensurate with a dean, director, or department chair, then their immediate supervisor shall make the determination.
a. The job function of the employee requires considerable time outside of their assigned office or work area and it is important to the University that they are accessible during those times,
b. The job function of the employee requires them to be accessible outside of scheduled or normal working hours.
Guidelines of Cell Plans
a. All university provided cell phones are to be acquired through Sallie Green in the Treasurer’s Office. No department is authorized to acquire university cell phones independently.
b. When receiving the university cell phone, the employee and approving party (dean, director, or chair) is required to sign a "statement of receipt and responsibility for the University cellular phone."
c. The University recognizes that cell phone needs will vary by employee, therefore several plans are available from which the department can choose.
d. It will be the responsibility of the dean, director, or department chair to approve the plan that best meets the employee's needs at the most economical price to the University.
e. The chosen plan should be monitored and adjusted as appropriate should needs change and also to ensure the University is participating in the most efficient plan (i.e. not paying for too many unused minutes or excessive personal minutes).
f. Any such changes must be approved by the appropriate dean, director, or department chair.
g. Upon agreement of the appropriate plan, Sallie Green will contact the cellular phone carrier and provide the appropriate billing information.
Reimbursement for Personal Calls
a. University provided cell phones are intended to be used for official university business.
b. It is recognized, however, that it is impractical to limit the use of university cell phones to 100% business use. For example, employees cannot always control incoming phone calls, the determination of whether a specific call is business-related or personal can be open to interpretation based upon specific facts and circumstances, and most calling plans also provide for free or unlimited calls during specific times of the day or week.
c. Therefore, personal use is not prohibited, but the University expects employees to exercise prudent judgment in keeping personal calls kept to a minimum.
d. Because personal use is inevitable in most cases, and it is not always practical to reimburse on a call by call basis, the University will require that any employee with a university cell phone reimburse to the University fifty percent (one half) of all charges in excess of the standard plan amount each month to reflect all personal use for that month.
e. Reimbursement should occur no less than once every three months. For all months that an employee does not exceed the standard monthly plan amount, there is no reimbursement due the University. For this reason it is imperative that the dean, director, or department chair review the appropriateness of each cell plan on a regular basis to ensure that the majority of minutes utilized for a given plan are business and that personal minutes within a plan are primarily incidental.
Reimbursement When Using a Personal Cell Phone
a. Should it be determined that a cell phone is warranted but usage is expected to be minimal or low, the employee may choose to obtain a personal cell phone. In this circumstance or any other circumstance whereby an employee utilizes a personal cell phone to conduct university business, the employee will be reimbursed for all business calls that are transacted on the personal cell phone.
b. The method utilized to calculate a reimbursement for business use of personal cell phones as follows:
1. Divide the total monthly bill less all long distance, roaming, and tax (tax may never be reimbursed) charges by the total number of minutes used that month to derive at a minute charge.
2. Multiply the minute charge by the number of University business minutes.
3. If applicable and ascertainable, add any specific roaming or long distance charges attributable to the University business calls.
4. Do not include tax. (No tax may be reimbursed)
5. Attach a copy of the cell phone bill highlighting the University business calls. Document the business nature of those calls.
6. Attach the University form 19. Show the calculation of how the requested reimbursement was determined somewhere within the documentation.
7. Submit reimbursement requests no less than every three months.
Removal of Cell Phones
A University cell phone is the property of the University and as such may be removed from the employee's possession at any time. Abuse of university cell phone privileges, upon the discretion of the dean, director, department chair, or immediate supervisor will result in loss of university cell phone privileges.
Cell Phone Safety While Driving
As a driver, your first responsibility is to pay attention to the road. When driving on University business, or driving while conducting business on behalf of The University of the South, the following applies:
If a cell phone call must be made while driving, follow these basic dos and don’ts:
§ Never initiate a call while driving
§ Allow voicemail to handle your calls and return them when safe.
§ If you need to place or receive a call, pull off the road to a safe location and stop the vehicle before using your phone.
It’s Your Call – Put Cell Phone Safety First
PURCHASING CARD PROCEDURES
The purchasing card provides University personnel with a cost-effective and convenient method of purchasing, thereby reducing the volume of individual payments processed by the University to vendors and employees. Reports on cardholder activity enable the University to capture information necessary to manage University purchasing activities.
Use of the Purchasing card:
§ Reduces the payment processing time and expense.
§ Streamlines the purchasing process.
§ Enhances the purchasing options available to departments.
§ Provides an alternative to personal reimbursement.
The goals in establishing this program included: allowing departments to acquire goods and supplies in a timely manner, increasing vendor satisfaction (less bookkeeping, faster payment, eliminating blanket purchase orders and reducing the number of vendor checks issued).
Requests for Purchasing Cards
A Request for Purchasing Card Form must be completed and approved by the supervisor and returned to the Purchasing Card Administrator.
The University of the South’s Purchasing Card program utilizes internal management controls. The internal management controls are inherent to the University’s policies and procedures.
The responsibility for card control ultimately rests with you as a purchasing card user. The policies are designed to protect both you and the University. It is considered a privilege to participate in this program and it is expected that these policies will be followed.
Personal use of the Purchasing Card is not allowed. All purchases made on the card should be for official University business. Misuse of the card will result in revocation of the card and disciplinary action.
Responsibilities of Cardholders
Remember: The University of the South is tax exempt and the number is printed on the card, however you must remind all vendors of this status.
Obtain a receipt for every purchase. When statement arrives, receipts must be attached in transaction order. A travel and business expense report must also be attached providing the following information.
§ Business Purpose (who, where, number in party, etc.)
Prior to submitting to the Accounts Payable Office, cardholder and the cardholder’s supervisor signatures are required. Cardholders must submit statements by the 10th of each month to the Accounts Payable Office with proper documentation and signatures attached.