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.

Order Placement and Method of Payment Options

With all of these new systems and electronic processes in place, how do I place my order and pay for it?
Does that question speak to you? As the procurement process continues to become more automated and transparent, it is important to remember that only the systems used have changed, and not the actual fundamental method for which transactions should be completed and paid.

The following outlines the four primary Order Placement and Method of Payment options (in order of preferred method):

Transaction TypePlacement MethodPayment Method
Orders placed with Catalog Vendors in the buyBAMA marketplace using a University P-CardbuyBAMAP-Card
Orders placed outside of buyBAMA using a University P-CardIn-Store or through vendor websitesP-Card
Orders placed through buyBAMA using a University issued Purchase OrderbuyBAMAInvoice to Accounts Payable
"Other" goods or services that do not fit purchase order process and/or vendors do not accept P-CardVariesConcur
Invoice Payment Request

Still confused about what to do?
Please always remember the following resource: UA’s Expenditure Matrix.

The Expenditure Matrix assists campus partners in identifying the appropriate method of payment for common expenditures based on commodity type. The Expenditure Matrix is the recommended first stop if you aren’t sure exactly how to complete your transaction.

We understand that the procurement process can be overwhelming at times. We highly recommend taking the time to review UA’s Purchasing Guidelines page which provides a detailed and instructional viewpoint of the procurement process from vendor selection to payment. And, as always, never hesitate to contact the Purchasing Department by phone at 348-5230 for direct assistance with your question.

Preparing for Year End FY17

Year end for Fiscal Year 2017 is just around the corner. Fall semester will begin soon and thoughts will turn to, “what do we need to buy and what projects do we need to complete before year end?” Please remember to plan ahead and get your FY17 year-end purchases started early. If you are ordering supplies, upgrading a classroom or renovating a space, please allow plenty of time for Purchasing to address your needs. The deadline for submitting requests for purchase orders in FY17 is the close of business on Monday, September 25, 2017. Our staff will be happy to assist you with your needs for upcoming purchases and projects.

If you have orders that involve new furniture, please make sure to submit your request to Furnishings & Design no later than August 15, 2017. This will allow time to evaluate the project, obtain quotes and process your order.

Purchasing Contract Update:
Gulf Coast Office Products, current holder of our crimson and white shaker contract, was recently purchased by Staples. Moving forward, all shaker purchases will need to be directed to Staples through Elayne Neubert, elayne.neubert@staples.com. All other information in the contract will remain the same. If you have any questions please contact Jana Weaver, jweaver@fa.ua.edu.

New to Purchasing at UA? Here are a few tips…

  • Procurement Services offers a Procure-to-Pay training class monthly which informs participants of the basic procurement process from vendor selection through final payment. Interested campus partners can register for the class through Skillport.
  • Campus partners new to purchasing will likely need buyBAMA access in order to utilize the University’s electronic procurement system. Faculty or staff members who will need access can request through the buyBAMA page of the Purchasing website.
  • Should you have any questions related to the purchasing process, please feel free to contact Purchasing at 348-5230. Our Purchasing staff is always available to assist you!