What Type of Bid Meets Your Need?

Per Section 41-16-20 of the Code of Alabama, any purchase request or contract for like or similar products and/or services that total $15,000 or more must be competitively bid (with limited exceptions). A purchase request or contract cannot be split up to avoid the $15,000 bid threshold. Review Alabama’s Competitive Bid Law.

Purchasing assists with the issuance of two different types of bids based on situational needs:

  • Invitation for Bid (IFB)
  • Request for Proposals (RFP)

IFB’s are appropriate when specifications are already known and when price is the primary factor for award.  RFP’s are appropriate when the general scope of work is known, however, there is more than one potential solution and pricing is evaluated on the overall best value to the University.  See Purchasing’s Competitive Bid Process webpage for additional information.

What type of bid meets your needs?  Please contact the appropriate Purchasing staff member for bid guidance for your specific situation.

Summer Projects – Are You Prepared?

2018 was filled with accomplishments and success stories all around campus. With FY18 Purchasing spend for goods and services in excess of one hundred million dollars, campus purchased a few things along the way too! Now is the time to begin planning for any purchases that you intend to undertake during the Summer months in preparation for next Fall. When a purchase requires formal bidding, starting early allows ample time to prepare good specifications, address any concerns during the bid process and properly evaluate the bid responses. It also provides time to order materials that have long lead times and allows time at the end of the project to address any issues that may need to be resolved before completion. Beginning early and preparing well will help to make your summer projects a success. Please contact the appropriate buyer in our office to begin discussing what your needs may be for the Summer of 2019 and how we can be a service to you.

Equipment Purchases and Your Departmental Responsibilities

At UA, we purchase equipment routinely throughout the year. Capital equipment is defined as any apparatus, instrument, appliance, item of machinery, or piece of furniture costing $5,000 or more that is moveable. It is a large undertaking to purchase, document, track and report on capital equipment as the University is required. The University not only has to document the purchase, but also track where it is placed and report on the status of the equipment on an annual basis. The first step in this process is to assign the proper account code to your purchase transaction. All account codes for capital equipment purchases should begin with 791 (e.g. 791xxx-xxx). Proper coding allows Property Management to identify equipment that needs to be assigned a property tag and be recorded as an asset in order to ensure property control compliance. Additional information on this process and how your role is so important can be found at Property Management Policies and Procedures. Campus is encouraged to reach out to Property and Inventory Management with any questions regarding property control prior to completing the purchase of capital equipment.

Contract and Grant Accounting Micro Purchase Threshold Update

On July 30, 2018, The University of Alabama (UA) received approval from its cognizant agency for cost, the Department of Health and Human Services, to use the State bid threshold of $15,000 as its federal micro-purchase threshold. Purchases greater than or equal to $10,000 will no longer require additional documentation of competition and, instead, will follow standard policies and procedures related to competition. Other additional requirements for purchases from sponsored project funds (e.g. allowability, consistency, approvals) remain in place. Should you have any questions, please contact Contract and Grant Accounting.

New to Purchasing Items at UA?

Are you a new Faculty or Staff member and need to know how to purchase items at UA?  The Purchasing Department welcomes you to UA and wants to help you transition to your new role as smoothly as possible.  We will be happy to meet with you one on one or in a small group setting to answer any questions you may have.  Additionally, we have made available some helpful information that can guide you through the process on the Purchasing Department’s website.

A variety of training resources that will give you a foundation to begin your career at UA can be found here, Procurement Training Courses.  The Procure-to-Pay class is a great way to start!  Please contact the Purchasing Department at 348-5230 with any questions.

Vehicle Purchases

The Office of Financial Affairs is currently conducting a fleet vehicle study in order to develop a long term strategy for fleet vehicle purchases.  It is anticipated the study will conclude mid-Fall of this year.  Thereafter, guidance and procedures pertaining to fleet vehicle purchases will be provided to campus.  In the meantime, campus is advised to delay all non-essential vehicle purchase requests until the study is completed.  Should your department have an essential need for a vehicle purchase, a justification will need to be provided to Purchasing who will then seek approval from the VP of Financial Affairs.  Please contact Patrick Sexton (psexton@fa.ua.edu) with any questions concerning vehicle purchases.

Vendor Disclosure Statement

In the spring of 2016, the System Office issued new guidance on obtaining conflict of interest disclosure statements from vendors prior to issuing payment. Measures were put in place by Procurement Services to make this process electronic and efficient as possible.  New guidance was recently obtained lowering the primary requirement threshold to $5,000 (down from $15,000).  The following excerpt from Purchasing’s Vendor Disclosure Statement webpage has been updated to reflect the new threshold.

The University of Alabama System will require all agreements executed in the name of The Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama System that exceed $5,000 to have a Disclosure Form on file with a few limited exceptions.  The Vendor Disclosure Statement is required on all professional service agreements regardless of the dollar amount or revenue generated.  The form will be obtained and considered active for a period of no less than 1 year or the length of the contract.

Please visit our updated Vendor Disclosure Statement webpage for more information.

All departments requesting services that require Vendor Disclosure Statements are encouraged to request vendors complete as early in the process as possible which helps expedite both the contracting process and payments.  Please request vendors complete the form using the following link: Vendor Disclosure Statement Form

UA Faculty and Staff Resources Page

Purchasing’s Faculty and Staff Resources webpage focuses on providing all the information necessary to guide and direct requesters through the purchasing process.  The following links are examples found on our resources page that can assist you with your purchasing needs.  Please keep this page in mind should you have any questions about purchasing here at The University.  As always, feel free to give us a call at 348-5230 for direct assistance.

Purchasing Guidelines Commodity Related Links
Purchasing Process Introduction Approved Contracts
Vendor Selection Introduction Buyer Commodities
Utilizing Approved Contracts Catering Information (Risk Mgt.)
Non-Contract Purchases < $15,000 Hardware & Software Acquisition
Non-Contract Purchases > $15,000 Licensing (T-Shirts, Novelties, etc.)
Competitive Bid Info New Employee Relocation Services
Sole Source Requirements Professional Services
Order Placement / Method of Payment Rental Car Self Insurance Certificate
Sam’s Club – UA Membership Info
Scientific Supplies & Equipment

Spring Break Reminders and Deadlines

Spring Break is quickly approaching and hopefully everyone can take a break and recharge their batteries. Before we take a break, there are a few things to consider. If you need Purchasing to send out a bid on your behalf before Spring Break, please provide complete specifications to the appropriate buyer by close of business on Monday, March 5, 2018. This will allow Purchasing time to review the specifications, prepare the bid documents and post prior to Spring Break. Also, any purchase order requests should be received by close of business on Wednesday, March 7, to allow Purchasing time to review and place the orders prior to Spring Break.

Contract Vendor Fair Announcement

On Tuesday, April 3, 2018 we will be hosting a Contract Vendor Fair in the Ferguson Center Ballroom. Many of our current contract vendors will be on hand to showcase the products and services they provide for the University. We invite you to come and meet our representatives face to face and learn more about their products and services. There will also be employees from all areas of Procurement on hand throughout the day. More information will be provided as we get closer to the event. In the meantime, please email Jana Weaver with any questions.