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 ( 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.

Which Buyer Should I Contact?

As a research driven institution, the University has very unique and wide ranging footprint of Purchasing needs.  To assist with those diverse needs, the UA Purchasing Department assigns areas of specialization to each of its 10 Senior Buyers who manage commodity related purchases.  If you are unsure of which Senior Buyer can assist with your purchasing need, please visit our Buyer Commodities webpage which currently lists 91 commodity categories and their associated Senior Buyer.  The list includes a keyword search field and is sortable by buyer names.  As always, feel free to contact us by phone at 348-5230 if we can assist in any way.

Important Reminder for Vehicle Purchases

One of the biggest challenges with meeting vehicle purchase needs is the reduction of inventory for current year model vehicles as the year progresses. The chances of finding your desired vehicle in stock typically reduces after February of each year. For vehicles that are not found in stock, production lead times are also more favorable early in the year before manufacturers begin to turn their attention to the next year model production. Now is the time to plan for and request vehicles to meet your annual needs.

Purchasing Process

The purchasing process can seem a little confusing at times. The method in which a department uses to purchase will often vary depending on the good or service needed. The flowchart linked below is intended to identify the appropriate method of order placement and payment based on the type and value of goods or services.
UA Purchasing Process Flowchart

Please visit our Purchasing Guidelines webpage for an expanded and detailed explanation of the UA purchasing process.

Vehicle Purchasing Tips

Did you know that UA’s fiscal year coincides with most vehicle manufacturer’s production cycles? One of the biggest challenges with meeting vehicle purchase needs is the reduction of inventory for current year model vehicles as the fiscal year progresses. The best chance to find your desired vehicle in stock is October through February of each cycle. For vehicles that are not found in stock, production lead times are also more favorable early in the fiscal year before manufacturers begin to turn their attention to the next year model production. Now is the time to plan for and request vehicles to meet your FY18 needs.

Contract and Grant Accounting and Purchasing Updates

Starting October 1st, Contract and Grant Accounting (CGA), with the help of Procurement, will require documentation of more than one rate quote for any purchase greater than or equal to $10,000 and charged to sponsored project funds. This change will ensure the University complies with Federal regulations found in 2 CFR 200 without impacting purchases charged to funds not managed by CGA. POs/p-card transactions submitted to CGA for approval will be rejected if documentation of price comparison (at time of purchase) for similar items or services totaling $10,000 or more is not present. This documentation may be as simple as a screen shot from two suppliers’ websites. All purchases will still be subject to the University’s policies and procedures as well as the State of Alabama Bid Law which requires purchases of $15,000 or more should be competitively bid. As the lower, $10,000, threshold is only applied to charges to sponsored project funds, any journal entries moving charges to a sponsored project also will require documentation of a price comparison conducted at the time of purchase. For example, the purchase of an item over $10,000 charged to a department fund that you later want to move to a sponsored project will require the appropriate documentation or the move will not be allowed. Sole source would also be acceptable as long as approved by Purchasing. Should you have any questions, please contact Contract and Grant Accounting.