DocuSign Vendor Disclosure Statement Process Improvement

In the past, only the vendor could start the DocuSign vendor disclosure statement form (“VDS form”) process.  The primary issue with the past process was that campus partners had no way of knowing when the VDS form had completed which delayed order placement, contracting, or payment.  Effective March 1st, campus partners will start the VDS form process.  By campus partners starting the process, they will receive a completed copy by email from DocuSign when the VDS form has been completed.  The individual who starts the process will need to know the name and email address of the vendor representative that will complete the form.  Additional information about this new process can be found at http://purchasing.ua.edu/vendor-disclosure-statement/.  With input from our campus partners, we are excited to implement this new, more efficient process.

Now is the time to Plan for Upcoming Purchases

This semester has been underway for a couple of weeks now and hopefully everyone is back in their “normal” routine…as normal as it can be during this time.  Please begin thinking about items you need to order for projects you are planning this summer.  In about 12 weeks the spring semester will be over, and thoughts will turn to these summer projects.  By planning ahead, you can avoid any unanticipated lead times or speed bumps along the way.  Purchasing manages over 200 approved, standing contracts that cover a wide variety of products and services.  Also, if the items you need have to be competitively bid, planning ahead will allow enough time for that process which normally takes 3 to 4 weeks.  Please contact the appropriate Senior Buyer to assist with any questions you have about upcoming purchases. Please refer to our Purchasing Guidelines for additional information.

Holiday Break Planning

Please remember that we have an earlier than normal start to the Holiday break this year.  The last day of business operations is Friday, December 18th which is fast approaching.  In order to allow time for bids to go out before the Holiday break, please submit your bid requests to Purchasing no later than Friday, December 4th.  All Purchase order and sole source requests should be submitted no later than Friday, December 11th to allow time for review, processing and approval prior to the Holiday break.  Please contact Purchasing at 348-5230 or uapurchasing@ua.edu with any questions.

Purchase and Payment Approval Form Tips

By this point, most everyone is familiar with the current spending restrictions put in place by campus leadership and the associated Purchase and Payment Approval Form requirement.  Please see tips and information below which will help ensure an efficient and successful purchase or payment request process:

  • Multiple Approval Forms – There are multiple approval forms in order to accommodate approval authority thresholds and final approving authority. Please review the information found at the following webpage to ensure you submit the correct Purchase and Payment Approval Form for your situation:  http://purchasing.ua.edu/2020/04/13/purchasing-and-payment-request-form/.  A re-submittal will be required if the incorrect form is submitted.
  • Purchases Externally Funded by a Contract or Grant – As per the directive from campus leadership, purchases that are externally funded by a contract or grant are an exception to the approval form requirement and do not require a Purchase and Payment Request Approval Form.
  • Expenditure Approval vs Purchasing Compliance Approval – The Purchase and Payment Approval Form is for expenditure review only and should not be misconstrued as Purchasing compliance approval.  All University Purchasing policies and guidelines remain in effect during this time and should be followed before order placement.  If the approval form is approved by Purchasing with comments such as “Pending Purchasing compliance review,” please be sure to reach out to the appropriate Senior Buyer for compliance review.
  • Supporting Documentation – Please include the approved form with your supporting documentation for purchase order requests, payment requests or expense reconciliation.

When is the Right Time to Engage Purchasing?

Purchasing encourages campus partners to research products and services to determine what best suits their needs.  If the preferred product or service is not available from an Approved Contract Vendor and is anticipated to exceed the State competitive bid threshold of $15,000, it is very important to engage Purchasing before getting too far down the road.  Purchasing can assist with determining if a competitive bid will be required or if the purchase qualifies as a sole source.  This determination needs to be made early in the process to ensure Purchasing compliance as well as preventing any accidental commitments to vendors that cannot be fulfilled due to compliance obligations.  Please refer to our Purchasing Guidelines and Competitive Bid Process webpages for associated information.  As always, please contact Purchasing at uapurchasing@ua.edu or 348-5230 with any questions.

Thank you!

We have been faced with challenging times since Spring Break.  The Purchasing staff is here to help you through these ongoing challenges.  We want to thank our campus partners for your willingness to analyze your needs and prioritize your purchases during this time of uncertainty.  Purchasing is continuing to assist with orders, provide guidance, and bid essential purchases as needed.  Please take this time to look at and plan for future needs and projects.  This will allow you to be ahead of the game when normal returns.  Most of all, thank you for being good partners and stay safe.

I’m Not Sure Who to Contact?

If you’re unsure of which Senior Buyer you need to contact regarding a particular purchase, you can visit Purchasing’s Senior Buyer Commodities list within our staff directory.  Each Senior Buyer is listed along with their assigned commodities.  If this information does not quickly identify who to contact due to the commodity being unique or unusual, please contact any Senior Buyer or uapurchasing@ua.edu for assistance.

Purchase or Payment Request Approval Forms Submittal Guidance – Updated on 10/1

Effective 10/1, the Purchase or Payment Approval Form is no longer required for purchases or payments $20,000 or less.  The spending restrictions eliminating non-essential or discretionary spending will remain in full effect.  Please be sure to include a detailed business purpose with your Expense Reports and Invoices that explain why the good or service purchased is essential. Purchases or payments of $20,000 or less may be audited to confirm compliance with the spending restrictions described above.

As directed by Matthew Fajack and Dr. Kevin Whitaker, the University is continuing to eliminate all non-essential or discretionary spending until further notice.  All purchase and payment requests over $20,000 (updated 10/1) except those funded by research contracts or grants are required to go through additional levels of approval using DocuSign Purchasing and Payment Request forms.  There are multiple approval forms in order to accommodate approval authority thresholds and final approving authority.  Campus was previously advised to contact a Purchasing Senior Buyer for the appropriate approval form link since the forms were being routinely updated to address the needs of both campus leadership and campus users.   We are now in a position to communicate the different scenarios and approval form links which should help alleviate submittals on the incorrect form.  Please see scenarios and approval form links below.  Please continue to contact Procurement Services with any questions regarding the approval forms.

Purchase or Payment Request Approval Forms:

Tips to ensure a fast review of your approval form submittal:

  • Please provide a description that someone not familiar with your product or service will be able to easily understand.
  • Please provide a detailed explanation for the “why is this expenditure essential” question during this time of restricted spending.
  • Please attach any documentation in the attachment section that may be helpful to reviewers (e.g. associated contract, email correspondence, invoice, etc.)
  • The approval form is for expenditure review only and should not be misconstrued as Purchasing compliance approval. All University Purchasing policies and guidelines remain in effect during this time and should be followed before order placement.
  • Please include the approved form with your supporting documentation for payment or reconciliation.

COVID-19 Purchasing Information and Best Practices

  • Deliveries to Campus (Updated on 8/3/20)
    • When the University moved to limited business operations in late March, most deliveries to campus from UPS and FedEx were redirected to UA Central Receiving. As of Monday, August 3rd, the University has begun to transition to all UPS and FedEx deliveries being made to campus buildings in the same manner as normal business operations. If possible, please make arrangements for accepting deliveries at your building in order to alleviate delivery delays. If buildings are not accessible, packages will be redirected to UA Central Receiving. Please contact Lane Cox in Purchasing at lncox@ua.edu or 348-8697 with any questions regarding UPS and FedEx deliveries to your building.
  • Purchasing Guidelines
    • As directed by Matthew Fajack and Dr. Kevin Whitaker, the University is continuing to eliminate all non-essential or discretionary spending until further notice.  All purchase and payment requests over $20,000 (Updated 10/1/20) except those funded by research contracts or grants are required to go through additional levels of approval using DocuSign Purchasing and Payment Request forms.  Please refer to Purchase or Payment Request Approval Forms Submittal Guidance for additional information.
    • When essential purchases are required, all typical UA Purchasing Guidelines should continue to be followed during this time.  See summary below:
      • Vendor Selection
        • Use approved contract vendors whenever possible. A list of all current contract vendors with both Purchasing buyer and vendor contact information can be found on the Approved Contracts webpage.
      • Purchases Over $15,000 Not Available from Contract Vendor
      • Order Placement
        • Use P-Card whenever accepted
        • Purchase Orders through buyBAMA can be used when appropriate. Approvals and issuance to vendors will occur electronically as normal.
      • Payment
        • Use P-Card whenever accepted for essential purchases only.
        • Invoices against purchase orders will continue to be processed during this time, although delays should be expected. Please advise vendors to submit invoices against purchase orders by email to acctspay@ua.edu to help expedite payment.
        • Invoices to be paid through Concur should be submitted as normal.
        • Businesss purposes for all payment methods should support the essential nature of the expenditure.
  • Questions

2020 Contract Vendor Fair – Cancelled

The 2020 Contract Vendor Fair will be held Tuesday, May 19, 2020 in the Ferguson Center Ballroom from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM. Lunch will be provided and many of our current Contract Vendors will be on hand to showcase the products and services they provide for the University. For additional information, including participating vendors, please view our Vendor Fair Website. Add the date to your calendar now. We look forward to seeing you there! If you have any questions please email Jana Weaver.

Add the Contract Vendor Fair to your Outlook Calendar

Receiving for your Purchase Order

The University of Alabama’s preferred method of payment, when appropriate, is the use of the University’s P-card.  However, in some cases there is a need to issue a Purchase Order for a non-catalog item through BuyBama.  Please remember when issuing a purchase order, you will be required to complete Receiving through BuyBama once the order arrives.  It is very important that all packages received be opened immediately and inspected to ensure the items are correct and in good condition.  Receiving should be completed immediately upon satisfactory receipt and inspection of the items ordered so the University can meet our obligation of prompt payment.  Payment for these items cannot be released until you have completed the Receiving process.  Please see this link for additional information and guidance when completing Receiving.