Department of Chemistry

Purchasing Services Group



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The various procedures followed by the Purchasing group at the University of Oregon are described below, including placing orders, placing Orders over $25,000 (updated 8/2010), repairing equipment, contracting for Personal Services with vendors, usage of the department's Procurement Card and its Prohibited uses, reimbursements for personal purchases of equipment, and the policy for refreshments, entertainment and hosting.

Placing Orders (updated 8/2010)

Orders less than $25,000 for materials or services should follow the following steps. 

NOTE: The dollar limit for this step has recently increased to $25,000; orders less than this amount do not require competitive quotes but it is still recommended to solicit bids from multiple vendors. 

If you want to order a product, contact the vendor(s) and discuss the details of your request.  The vendor will send us a quotation, which you should review.  If the product and pricing are acceptable, fill-out a Requisition and send it with the quote to the Buyer.  The Buyer will place the order with the vendor; when the order has been accepted and given an estimated ship date, the Requisition will be completed and returned to you.  If the vendor offers additional information, such as a revised ship date or cost, this should be shared with all parties.  (back to top)

Orders over $25,000 (updated 8/2010)

For ALL PURCHASES between $25,000 and $100,000 (with shipping or handling charges and import duties included), which includes orders to buy new or used equipment, equipment repair, initiating/renewing equipment service agreements, or paying expenses for conference hosting, we must issue a Purchase Order (PO) and have it pre-authorized.  For these orders, we must solicit written bids from at least three vendors; {there are limited exemptions that allow us to bypass this requirement per the Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR) section 580-062-0020}.  Remember that all lodging and conference hosting agreements also must follow these requirements, in addition to the UO Travel Guidelines.

Part of this solicitation process is to post a short advertisement on the Oregon University System (OUS) website,  This ad will be posted at least a week, in order to give businesses the opportunity to respond to our solicitation.  In the ad we should include a general overview of the equipment with basic specifications, plus your contact information to provide additional specifications or answers.

After reviewing the bids and selecting a vendor, the End User should send a Requisition to the Buyer showing the exact items to be ordered, and include separately a Justification For Selection statement, quotations from all the vendors, and copies of appropriate communications from those vendors.  You may receive multiple bids from any supplier but they don't count toward the three required, even if they're for dissimilar products or variations of the original request. 

Your Justification should state why we are making this purchase, what research was done to locate and solicit bids for the product, and how we selected this vendor; be sure to include relevant technical details as appropriate.  After reviewing the documentation, our proposed purchase order will be submitted to the University’s Purchasing and Contracting Services group (PCS) for their authorization.  After this approval, the order can be placed by the Buyer.  When the vendor acknowledges the order and gives an estimated ship date, the Buyer will complete the Requisition and forward copies of the packet to the End User.

For orders over $100,000, the process is more detailed:  the End User, Principal Investigator (PI) and/or committee can research and solicit vendors informally to collect data that will assist in developing our specifications for the equipment requested.  You should document these specifications and write a set of requirements for the equipment requested, which includes a list of scoring criteria that will be used to rate the vendor responses using a points system.  These documents are forwarded to the department’s Buyer to write an formal Invitation to Bid (ITB) or Request for Proposal (RFP), usually a seven to ten page document, that is sent to Vendors as requested. 

A complete overview of the University’s procedures, including a description of the required steps, the approval process and anticipated time frame can be found at this UO Business Office Formal Procurment Process website, with additional links to the State OAR requirements.  (back to top)

When a Bid Closing date has been determined, an advertisement is written to invite bids or proposals for the order.  After the ad and the ITB/RFP have been approved by the State Department of Justice office (DOJ), the ad is sent to be published in at least two periodicals, and direct invitations can also be sent to vendors requesting their proposals.  Vendors will send their proposals to the department where they are filed unopened until the Closing date; faxed or electronic bids can be accepted only if pre-authorized in the bid packet.

When the Bid period closes, the sealed proposals are opened and the Buyer verifies that all documents are included and signed in the proper format.  The results are tabulated and the complete packet is forwarded to the committee to score the bids based on the judging criteria described in the ITB/RFP.  After a winning proposal has been determined, the department’s recommendation is forwarded to PCS and DOJ for their authorization to award the order.  After this approval, a Notice of Award sent to all the vendors, and the winning vendor is sent the Purchase Order and a complete contract for signature.  (back to top)

This process can take 4 to 10 weeks plus the time of the open Bid/Proposal period, which can be an additional 1 to 4 weeks.  And if there is an appeal to our decision, the order will not be awarded until the appeal has been reviewed and a final legal conclusion has been determined.  It is very important to follow each step in this process accurately and impartially, which includes retaining documentation of all communications between the involved parties, with the goal of not showing favoritism toward any party.  And frequently a contract will be generated to include all the elements of the purchase, including specifications, acceptance qualifications and payment schedules.  This contract process could add another 4 weeks to the timeframe.  Each stage of this process can take less time, but we must allow a reasonable period for each party to perform their steps. 

There are exceptions to these OAR rules, including Single Seller (sole source), Brand Name goods, Copyrighted materials and other specialized categories.  The complete list and other bid requirements can be found at this State OAR rules website (in section #580-062-0020, soon to be updated to #571-040-xxxx).  A justification statement for any of these exemptions must accompany the original order, and be authorized by qualified University personnel or DOJ prior to the purchase.

This process is meant to be fair and impartial to all parties, and with published requirements and predetermined judging criteria, it is actually easier to select a winning bid.  If you have any questions, please contact us(back to top)

Repairing Equipment (updated 2/2006)

If you have equipment to be repaired, we should issue a Purchase Order prior to the event, even if we only have an estimate of the anticipated charges.  If the vendor will diagnosis the problem for a flat fee or hourly rate, we'll enter that figure as "not to exceed $xxx without authorization"; this will allow us to have a record of the transaction and require the vendor to contact us with a more exact estimate of the charges, prior to performing any work.  This is also applicable for service calls to campus.

Prior to sending the equipment out or initiating a service call, please send us a requisition with the unit's description, model number, serial number and a simple statement of the problem; if it is a recorded UO asset, please provide that asset number with its description, and the building/room location of the unit.  Include the contact information for the vendor with an itemized estimate of their charges (preferably a written quotation), even if it only shows their labor rate with travel or related expenses as appropriate.  We'll issue the PO and can modify it later if necessary.  And before you ship the item to the vendor, be sure to include the item's model and serial number on your requisition so we have a record that UO property has left campus; also get prior approval from the vendor to return it (Return Authorization number), then retain the outgoing shipment tracking number for future reference.

Also remember that if the repair (or even the estimate) is over $5,000, we'll need prior approval from UO Purchasing and Contract Services; (see the description of those requirements above).  If there are components that could put us over that limit, it's better to have pre-approval on the order even if the labor estimate is below $5k.  If you want the equipment's original manufacturer to repair the equipment, we can apply an OAR exemption to the order; otherwise we'll need bids from three vendors, same as any purchase over $5k. (back to top)

Personal Service Contracts

ALL SERVICES offered to the institution by non-OUS (Oregon University System) employees must be PRE-AUTHORIZED using Professional Services Contract (PSC) agreements.  These must be submitted and authorized PRIOR to allowing the contractor to perform any services, per State of Oregon guidelines.  The forms are available at this link

You can use a PSC Short Form when the value of the service will be $5,000 or less, if you know the exact cost and only one payment will be made to the contractor.  (Additional requirements are shown at the Forms link).  Otherwise, you must use a Long Form and have it pre-authorized by the UO Purchasing and Contracts Services group.  (back to top)

Procurement Card Usage

The Department has an institution Visa Card, and can be used by Faculty or Staff after appropriate training and authorization on its guidelines.  If you're interested, come to our office and sign an Authorization Request, and be sure to allow a couple days for final approval.  The detailed policy is shown at the Business Office's Procurement Card website(back to top)

In summary, Authorized Card Users are required to:

  1. Check the procurement card in and out via written documentation, which is kept on file with the Card Custodian (Buyer). 

  2. Assure the security of the procurement card and account number when in Card User’s possession.

  3. Make purchases (below the $5,000 limit) in compliance with UO Procurement Card Policy and Procedures.

  4. Collect and submit to Card Custodian the documentation required for each transaction.

  5. Inform the Card Custodian of transaction disputes and administrative changes (i.e. when you will no longer act as an authorized Card User for the department).

  6. Inform the Card Custodian, Program Administrator and US Bank immediately (within 24 hours) regarding lost or stolen cards.

  7. Resolve problems with purchases and returns.  (back to top)

Prohibited Uses

Use of the procurement card is PROHIBITED for the following items, as specified in the Oregon Administrative Rules.  Also note the newly updated sanctions policy that covers the actions mandated for violations of the card usage guidelines (back to top)

  1. Travel (except deposits for conference hotel reservations, rental car reservations, airline, bus and train fares, which are allowable).

  2. Hosting Groups and Guests

  3. Entertainment

  4. Food purchases or at restaurants.  (These may be charged on the Travel and Entertainment Card.  Contact Carolyn Wooley at 346-3158 for additional information).

  5. Gas, if it is associated with travel; however, it MAY be used to purchase gas for operating equipment.

  6. Equipment over $5,000, due to asset inventory requirements

  7. Moving Costs of new employees

  8. Maintenance and repairs

  9. Fees and Services performed by others.  (1099 reportable)

  10. Awards and Prizes, Guest speakers or employee recognition

  11. Utilities and Maintenance – Non-Employee

  12. Equipment Rental and Leases (includes conference tables and exhibition displays)

  13. Housing Rentals – Non-Employee

  14. Storage Rentals/Fees – Non-Employee

  15. Storage of Household Goods – Non-Employee

  16. Duplicating and Copying

  17. Printing and Publishing

  18. Advertising

  19. Film Developing

  20. Flower Purchases

  21. Gifts

  22. Personal Purchases

  23. Alcohol

A more detailed overview of the institution's requirements are shown at the Business Office website or its Procurement Card policy description.  Also, click here to read a recent memo that describes our requirements, in addition to having some institution links.  (back to top)

Reimbursing personal purchases of Equipment

The University will NOT reimburse individuals for purchases of items such as computers, printers, software and electronics, which can include many types of lab equipment

When an individual uses personal funds to make a purchase, the item’s ownership and warranty is assigned to that individual.  But many companies do NOT transfer warranties for these types of items from owner to owner, so if the department were to buy the item from the individual via reimbursement, ownership would transfer to the institution but NOT the warranty.  This is a tremendous loss to the University, as warranty protection represents substantial value.

To ensure that the warranty stays with the University, we recommend that you request a Purchase Order or use your department’s Procurement Card.  This enhances our position if the equipment fails or is a "lemon", as the University has coverage and recourse for suitable action during the warranty period.  (back to top)

For specific questions regarding reimbursement policies, call Carolyn Wooley at 541-346-3158 or send email to  The complete text of this message is shown at BAO Policy on Warranties and Reimbursements, and additional policies are shown at BAO Policies.

Refreshments, Entertainment and Hosting (added 12/2005)

Refreshments, snacks and beverages may be purchased for meetings and events.  Please fill-out the Refreshments form, then print it and have it authorized before you submit it with the Requisition form.  You will be prompted for the following information: 

  1. Business purpose of the meeting;

  2. Name of the person who approved the purchase;

  3. Approximate number of people attending the meeting;

  4. Date and location of the meeting. 

The full policy is described at the link

Use account code 28611 "Refreshments-Inter Departmental Meetings".   (back to top)

The requirements for hosting guests of the institution and paying their expenses are slightly different:

An employee may serve as a host for non-employee guests of the institution, paying for meals, refreshments and transportation.  Official guests of the institution must be non-employees and might include recruitment candidates, visiting dignitaries, potential donors, or guest speakers.  Receipts must be itemized and gratuities are generally limited to 15%. 

Please fill-out the Refreshments form, then print it and have it authorized before you submit it with the receipts.  You will be prompted for the following information: 

  1. Business purpose;

  2. Name of the authorized departmental person who approved the purchase;

  3. List of attendees;

  4. Date and location.

The full policy is described at the link

Use account code 28612 "Hosting Groups and Guests".   (back to top)

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