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Be aware of ethical considerations and potential conflicts of interest. Anyone responsible for any aspect of purchasing on behalf of OSU should complete the Ethics Statement. There are rules and policies pertaining to purchasing and contracting ethics that OSU employees should be aware of and must adhere to when purchasing on behalf of OSU. This includes, but is not limited to purchasing from employees, relatives of OSU employees or members of the employee’s household, personal purchases using OSU Contracts, declaring a potential conflict of interest, accepting honorariums and responsibilities for selection committee members. These rules and policies pertain to all OSU employees for any kind of purchase at any dollar level.

OSU Surplus Property

Check to see if the goods you are seeking are available through OSU Surplus Property. Surplus Property has a wide variety of items available for sale to departments.

$0 - $4,999.99

With the exception of Bureau of Labor and Industries Prevailing Wage Rate related purchases, OSU Departments have a delegated authority for procurements of goods and services up to $5,000. This means for orders which total less than $5,000, you may get quotes and place the order. When feasible, an attempt should be made to get at least three quotes for your purchases, as this will help realize savings on your purchases. However, in some cases it may not be cost-effective to obtain quotes.

$5,000 - $24,999.99

When your total order will be between $5,000 and $24,999.99, you should work with your Business Center staff to process the order. Business Centers will work with you to place your order.

$25,000 - $149,999.99 (RFQ)

If your purchase total is $25,000.00 to $149,999.99, Procurement will handle the solicitation process.

$150,000 and Above or Complex (ITB)

Procurement will work with you to issue an Invitation to Bid (ITB) for procurements that are complex or are $150,000 or over.

Request for Proposal (RFP)

An RFP is issued when we want the vendors to propose a solution which we will evaluate for award, or when we have characteristics or issues we want to consider in the decision to award other than price. As with an ITB, Procurement will work with you to issue an RFP.

Sole Source Procurements and Contracts

Sole Source procurements are only allowed when it can be thoroughly documented that the Vendor holds a unique (no other sources have it) set of skills or expertise that make it impossible for anyone else to do the work or that the goods are not available from another source. For purchases and contracts $25,000 or higher, you will need to complete and submit a Sole Source Request Form along with the Purchase Requisition or Contract to Procurement.

Purchasing $0 - $4,999.99 (Within Your Delegated Authority)

OSU Departments have a delegated authority for procurements of goods and services up to $5,000. This means for orders which total less than $5,000, departments may get quotes and place the order.

The delegation of purchase authority does not mean you should not compete the purchase. Our recommendation is that procurements should be competed whenever feasible. An attempt should be made to get at least three quotes for your purchases. This will help realize savings on your purchases.

Multiple contracts, procurements or requisitions cannot be issued separately in order to circumvent procurement or legal sufficiency rules. Splitting orders is called "fragmenting." Fragmenting is specifically against OSU policy and Oregon Administrative Rules.

When purchasing within your delegated authority, there are several processes we recommend you use:

  1. State of Oregon or OSU Price Agreements
    Your department can issue a PO directly to a vendor who is on State of Oregon or OSU Price Agreements. You must indicate the applicable Price Agreement/Contract number you are using on the PO as reference to the vendor. Information regarding State of Oregon Price Agreements is available from the ORPIN system. For information regarding OSU Price Agreements contact Procurement or go to the Buy ORANGE Portal.

  2. Request for Quotes (RFQ)
    RFQs are the simplest method of competition. RFQs can be made by phone, fax, mail or email. When issuing an RFQ be sure all potential vendors are given the same requirements and specifications with which to prepare a quote. RFQs are used when purchasing a common item which can be easily identified. When issuing an RFQ, the lowest quote must receive the award unless you have specific reasons to reject it (e.g., they did not quote on the identical product you requested or they cannot meet your delivery requirements that were required in the solicitation document.)

  3. Direct Purchase
    A direct purchase (non-competitive) can be made when it has been determined that it is not feasible or appropriate to compete the procurement. For example, it is not practical to get competitive quotes for a box of pencils or other simple, inexpensive products. There are three methods for making direct purchases:

    • Purchasing Card - This is the simplest, most efficient method. The order is placed by giving the vendor your Purchasing Card (Departmental VISA) number. This affords the vendor immediate payment and simplifies the Accounts Payable process. There are thorough instructions regarding how to utilize your purchasing card on the OSU Purchasing Card web page or you can contact Accounts Payable at 737-0650, if you have any questions about a Purchasing Card.

    • Purchase Order - A Department can issue a Department Purchase Order or a Banner FIS Purchase Order to send to the vendor at which point they will normally send the item or provide the service.

    • Auto-Pay - When working with an auto-pay vendor, just order the item or service and have the vendor invoice you. Provide the vendor with the proper "Ship To" and "Bill To" addresses and give them your index code to be sure the item or service, and invoice, reaches the proper user. Auto Payments are entered into the Banner FIS system.

Purchasing $5,000 - $24,999.99 (Over Your Departmental Delegated Authority)

If you need something which costs more than your departmental delegated authority, it doesn’t mean the procurement has to be a long, complex process. When your total order will be equal to or greater than $5,000 but less than or equal to $24,999.99, you must work with your Business Center staff to place the order.

Your Business Center will work with you to process orders and make your purchases when they exceed the $4,999.99 threshold of purchase authority.

Purchasing $25,000 to $149,999.99 (RFQ)

If your purchase total is $25,000 to $149,999.99, Procurement will handle the solicitation process which typically will be managed as a Request for Quote (RFQ) or Informal Request for Proposal (IRFP). We suggest you speak to an analyst in Procurement to make them aware of your upcoming purchasing needs. When you are ready, complete a Purchase Requisition form and send it to your Business Center. The Business Center will submit the purchase requisition to Procurement. We may call or email you to verify the details. Procurement will conduct the appropriate solicitation process and place the order as quickly as possible.

When listing your requirements on the Purchase Requisition form be sure to clearly state all your specifications and requirements. Understand that Procurement cannot award a purchase based on specifications or requirements that are not clearly articulated in the solicitation document. Be clear in what it is that you need and the delivery that is required or you may be put in a position to accept low bid/quote or potentially cancelling the solicitation and starting over because the responses did not meet your needs.

Keep in mind that Procurement must meet the needs of all of the University’s departments. Typically, we process projects received on a first-in-first-out basis, but we try to take emergencies into account. When planning for your program, we encourage you to allow sufficient time to process your purchasing requirements to avoid jeopardizing your project deadline.

$150,000 and Above or Complex (ITB)

Procurement will work with you to issue an Invitation To Bid (ITB) for procurements that are complex or are $150,000 or over.

An ITB is issued for procurements that are either:

1. A dollar level which the Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR) requires a formal bid (anything $150,000 or over),

     - OR -

2. Complex enough by nature to require significant terms and conditions or specifications which would preclude the use of a simple RFQ.

ITBs require more time in preparation and administration, and have mandatory advertising requirements. When evaluating responses to ITBs, the award always goes to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder. Unless a low bidder is rejected for not complying with the requirements of the ITB, award must be to the low bidder; therefore, it is important to develop comprehensive specifications and requirements before going out to bid.

Contact Procurement early, as developing an ITB can be time consuming. We will work closely with you to ensure we have adequate specifications and other pertinent information. This will help us in helping you meet your procurement goals.

Request for Proposal (RFP)

The Request for Proposal (RFP) process is the most complex of the procurement processes. An RFP is issued when we want the vendors to propose a solution which we will evaluate for award, or when we have characteristics or issues which we want to consider in the decision to award other than price.

The time it takes to prepare and issue an RFP is substantially longer than an ITB because of the need for extra care and detail in developing the selection criteria, specifications, requirements, scope of work and terms of the RFP. An RFP process allows more flexibility in the evaluation of criteria for award; however, it also requires more diligence and effort to produce a document that clearly identifies your wants, needs and process for award. An evaluation team must be created and organized which adds time to the process as well.

An RFP is used when we are unsure of the exact item or service we want or are wanting to do some "shopping" between brands or types. Procurement will work with you to develop an RFP which will result in obtaining a product or service which gives you the best mix of characteristics and cost as defined by your needs.

An RFP typically has 3 main categories to be evaluated:

  1. The first category that must be evaluated is the required specifications. These can be seen as the “needs” of the University. If any proposal does not clearly meet all of the required specifications, it will be immediately rejected; therefore, it is important that we work diligently up front to identify the required specifications correctly. The required specifications will also be evaluated based on how well they meet the specifications.

  2. Second, there are the “preferred specifications” or “wants” of the University. The proposer’s responses to these specifications described in the RFP are evaluated and points are awarded accordingly.

  3. The last category evaluated in an RFP process is cost. The points awarded for cost may be equal to, greater-than, or less-than the point value of all the required or preferred specifications in the RFP.

The evaluation process can be lengthy as it may require presentations, testing, best and final offers, or other evaluation processes.

The award of an RFP takes more time than ITBs or RFQs. The extra time is to allow the proposers time to submit protests of award, and the subsequent disposition of any such protests.

Although it takes extra time and effort developing, administering and awarding an RFP, the result is a product or service that is specifically suited to the department’s need at a competitive price.

When submitting a request to issue an RFP to Procurement you will need to do the following:

  • As soon as you have the budget and approval to move forward with soliciting for a purchase or contract, contact a Procurement staff person or the general email address to notify someone that the request is under development. In some cases Procurement can obtain sample RFP’s or specifications from colleagues or other universities’ procurement staff. We can provide you with an RFP template so you can get a more clear understanding of what the document includes and what the process entails.

  • Submit a completed and appropriately signed Departmental Requisition. This will indicate you have the index number ready and budget authority is granted.

  • Include a comprehensive description of the goods or services you are seeking, any required specifications, and a list of your mandatory requirements and desirable evaluation criteria. Procurement will work with you to develop additional specifications or evaluation criteria if needed. Often, we will need to meet with you in person to review these items.

  • If you would like Procurement to obtain proposals from specific vendors be sure to attach their complete contact information. Procurement must obtain proposals from a minimum of three vendors. If you do not know three vendors, list your preferred vendors and Procurement will search for others. Procurement will advertise the RFP on the Business and Bid Opportunities web page as well.

To submit a request fax it to 737-2170, email it to our general email address, or put it in campus mail. Please do not send two copies of your order such as an original and a faxed copy. This will only increase the risk of duplicating an order.

Sole Source Procurements and Contracts

One of the biggest challenges is justifying Sole Source Procurements. The challenge is based on a common misunderstanding of the correct use of sole source procurements. KEEP IN MIND SOLE SOURCE PROCUREMENTS CANNOT BE USED TO AVOID COMPETITION.

Sole Source procurements or Contracts $25,000 or higher are only allowed when it can be thoroughly documented that the Vendor holds a unique (no other sources have it) set of skills or expertise that make it impossible for anyone else to do the Work or that the goods are not available from another source.

For purchases and Contracts $25,000 or higher, complete and submit a Sole Source Request Form along with the Purchase Requisition or Contract to Procurement. We will review and determine if it is a valid sole source. If it is determined to be valid, the Sole Source Request will be advertised on the Business and Bid Opportunities website for 7 days. Other vendors or contractors then have the opportunity to protest our placement of the sole source procurement contract.

A compelling sole source request makes a clear and convincing link between the program requirements and why the sole source is the only vendor or contractor capable of meeting those requirements. Simple statements regarding "compatibility" or other ambiguous reasoning may result in increased time to approve a sole source request. It may also result in converting the sole source to a competitive solicitation process.

Be prepared to answer questions from the Procurement team when you submit a sole source request. We are here to protect OSU from negative audit reports and litigation if another company demonstrates that they could provide the same equipment or service for a lower price. Sole source procurements or contracts will be avoided except when no reasonably available alternative source exists.

If it is determined not to be a valid Sole Source, then Procurement will work with you to develop and issue a competitive solicitation.

Sole Source Request Form