All requests for materials and services from commercial vendors or individuals must be submitted to the Purchasing Department electronically through the CataMart eProcurement System. The purchase requisition will be processed resulting in the issuance of a purchase order.
- Requisitions will be processed in the order in which they are received. "Rush" requisitions will be processed within 24 hours if so designated on the requisition. "Emergency" requisitions will only be processed if justification for immediate need can be provided.
- All purchases must be initiated by submitting a requisition to the Purchasing Department, and a purchase order number must be assigned by the Purchasing Department before procurement can proceed. When an order must be placed immediately (emergency) a purchase requisition should be submitted electronically and the Purchasing Department notified by telephone of the requisition number for assignment of a purchase order number.
- The University can accept responsibility for payment of a purchase only when correct procedures are followed and a purchase order is issued. Individuals who make purchases by other means may be held responsible for payment of the resulting charges. Purchases approved for payment/reimbursement through a Check Request must follow procedures designated on the Controllers Office web site.
Standing Purchase Orders
Standing purchase orders may be issued for a recurring need for miscellaneous supplies of a minor nature, which are not available under existing contracts. The purchase order shall not exceed $5,000 or three months in duration without approval from the Director of Procurement & AP Services.
- A department requesting a standing purchase order be issued should submit a completed purchase requisition (see Policy: Purchase Requisition). In addition, the purchase requisition must include the names of individuals authorized to make purchases against the purchase order and the period of time covered by the order.
- Requisitions/purchase orders for standing orders to exceed $5000 or three months in duration must be signed by the Director of Procurement & AP Services.
- When a purchase against a standing purchase order is made, the delivery ticket and/or invoice must be signed by an individual authorized on the purchase order and the ticket and/or invoice forwarded to Accounts Payable. All invoices and delivery tickets must reference the purchase order number.
- Standing purchase orders will be closed out when the dollar amount encumbered or the period of time specified is exceeded.
State Purchase Contracts
Western Carolina University is required to purchase needed items provided by North Carolina State Contract from the contracting vendors. It is not permissible to purchase items similar to those on contract and designed to perform the same function from a non-contract source unless the purchase price is less than the term contract price. Documentation of the state contract price must be attached to the purchasing file copy of the purchase order.
- The State Purchase and Contract Division (P&C) enters into annual contracts with outside vendors to acquire favorable prices for many commonly used items.
- The University may access all state contracts on the State Purchase and Contract Division web site. These contracts are updated on a regular basis as changes and new contracts occur.
- All purchase requisitions received by the Purchasing Department are reviewed to determine if the commodities requested are available on state contract before processing. Commodities available on state contract are ordered from the contract vendor unless a lower price is documented.
The Purchasing Department will provide detailed information about the many contract items to any department upon request.
Gasoline and Service Credit Cards
Gasoline credit cards for commercial operated facilities through the University Gas Fleet Card Program and State operated facilities may be obtained for use with University owned vehicles by a University department. The Physical Plant provides credit cards for those vehicles assigned to Western Carolina University through Central Motor Pool. It is not permissible for Gas Fleet cards to be used for any service other than those associated with the operation of State owned vehicles. Gas Fleet cards are not to be used when the necessary services are available from State or University operated facilities. Policies and procedures applicable to purchasing gasoline for use in State vehicles are available from the University Motor Pool.
- Gasoline credit cards may be obtained by submitting a written request for a Gas Fleet Card or State credit card to the University Purchasing Department. The Purchasing Department will obtain the requested card and maintain a file of all credit card numbers and the departments to whom issued.
- Monthly invoices received from the issuer of the credit card should be verified by the using department, a fund number added, signed and forwarded to Accounts Payable for payment.
Compliance with University Policy #67 is required for the purchase of computer equipment and software.
Purchase of Used Equipment
When a department has special need for a particular item of used equipment, the proposed purchase should be discussed with the Director of Procurement & AP Services and the request submitted from on-line requisition. This requisition will be processed in the same manner as a request for a new item (see Policy: Purchase Requisition and Policy: Solicitation of Bids and Quotations). A new equipment warranty should be required on all used equipment purchased except those items purchased from State or Federal Surplus Property. When a used item is available on short notice and subject to prior sale, a waiver of competitive bidding may be requested.
Policy on Printing and Copying
University Policy #40 on Printing and Copying must be complied with when acquiring printing, copying and copiers. Printing which falls outside the limits of the Print Shop shall be ordered following normal purchasing procedures.
Purchases from University Book & Supply Store and Print Shop
It is not permissible to routinely purchase office and administrative supplies, or to purchase items available on State Contract from the University Bookstore. All purchases of supplies from the the University Book & Supply Store and the Print Shop must be submitted directly to the appropriate department. The Purchasing Department does not process these requisitions.
Purchases Disallowed from State Appropriated Funds
Purchase of Refreshments, Sundries, Etc.
Refreshments (coffee, donuts, drinks, etc.) may not be purchased with State appropriated funds except when purchased for breaks related to internal or external conferences. Such purchases are subject to cost limits as described in University Travel procedures, Section 10 (please visit the Controller's Office for details). Such purchases may be allowed, however, against certain grants, contract or trust funds, or discretionary accounts, providing the funding agency will not disallow the expenditure.
Purchase of Personal Convenience Items
The purchase of personal convenience items may not be made with State appropriated funds. Purchases may only be made against trust funds. Listed below are items normally considered in this category. Should you have questions concerning any item not listed, contact the Purchasing Department.
- Coffee Makers
- Radios, TV's, etc. (Educational use excepted)
Purchase of Alcoholic Beverages
The purchase of alcoholic beverages may not be made with State appropriated funds or University Trust Funds. Purchases of alcoholic beverages may be made from Development Account number 997XXX if approved by the Vice Chancellor for Advancement and External Affairs. All other purchase requests must be submitted to the Chancellor's Office for consideration.
Use of State Purchasing Power for Private Gain
The purchasing power of the State (University) is not to be used for private advantage or gain. Purchases under contracts made by the State are not to be allowed for personal use out of private funds nor are agencies or institutions to place orders for articles for ownership by employees or other individuals.
Purchases from or through State Employees
Every reasonable effort is made to avoid making purchases from or through employees of State government or any of its agencies or of public school administrative units. Any instances which may develop of doing business with such personnel require prior approval through the Division of Purchase and Contract. A request should be submitted to the University Purchasing Department who will determine if a request for approval should be made to the Purchase and Contract Division.
Lease vs. Purchase of Equipment
The State/University does not generally lease or rent equipment, although there is no specific rule prohibiting this practice. If equipment is to be required on a continuing basis, it is generally more economical to purchase it.
It may be desirable to rent equipment for a specific requirement of short duration. Rental agreements are similar to lease agreements, except that rental agreements are normally for an indefinite period and can be terminated by the rentee after giving notice, usually thirty days, in advance. The initial cost of some equipment is so great and/or the technology is so rapidly changing; it may be more economical to rent or lease the equipment.
When the cost of a piece of equipment exceeds $25,000 and the useful life expectancy is less than five years, a lease/rental versus purchase evaluation should be made. Request for bids/quotations should include both options unless acceptable justification is provided on why this is not feasible.
The Statutes of the State of North Carolina and University Purchasing Procedures require competition for all purchases by State agencies exceeding $5,000, except as may be provided otherwise by statute or term contracts. Where it is not sought or obtained, the reason must be valid and documented.
A purchase requisition must be submitted (see Policy: Purchase Requisition) before formal bids or quotations will be solicited by the University Purchasing Department.
- Purchases with a total dollar value of $5,000 or less do not require competition. Purchasing and University departments will monitor these procurements to guard against abuse and to ensure that the dollar value received is commensurate with the dollar amount expended.
- Request for Quotes (RFQ) will be requested in writing by the Purchasing Department for purchases from $5,000 to $25,000. Vendor responses must be in writing and received in the Purchasing Department by the indicated due date. Even in the case of a waiver of competition, if time permits, a written request for quote will be sent to the sole source vendor. Request for Quotes from $10,000 to $25,000 must be posted to Purchase and Contract's Interactive Purchasing System (IPS) for access by any interested vendor.
- For purchases exceeding $25,000, formal Invitation for Bids (IFB) will be issued in writing and posted to IPS by the Purchasing Department. All vendor responses must be in writing, sealed and received in the Purchasing Department by the indicated due date and time. The Purchasing Agent issuing the IFB in a secure file will maintain bids received prior to the time of opening. At the time and date indicated, all bids will be publicly opened and each bid price read aloud. In addition to the Purchasing Agent, a witness shall be present at the bid opening. The Purchasing Agent and the requesting department will evaluate bids if necessary, to determine those bids meeting the bid specifications. The award will be made to the lowest bidder meeting the bid specifications. If the lowest bid received is not selected, a letter of justification must be provided explaining how each lower bid failed to meet the required specifications.
- Statutes require the solicitation of formal bids by the State Purchase and Contract Division when the total purchase is greater than $250,000. A Purchase and Contract requisition with detailed specifications will be sent to Purchase and Contract in Raleigh. Formal bids solicited by Purchase and Contract requires approximately thirty to forty-five days. Bids will be tabulated and sent to the Purchasing Department for review with the requesting department. All bids are returned to Purchase and Contract with the University's recommendation for award. This recommendation will be submitted to the State Board of Award and a purchase order issued following their approval.
- Printing, which is performed by the University Print Shop, is exempt from the state printing requirements. Direct purchases may not be divided into smaller orders to avoid competition procedures or to circumvent the necessity of the requirement being sent to the Division of Purchase and Contract.
Return of Merchandise to Off-Campus Vendors
Return of merchandise ordered from off-campus vendors is the responsibility of the ordering department. The supplying vendor and University Purchasing Department shall be contacted prior to shipment of merchandise being returned to an off-campus vendor by a
department for any reason.
- Departments desiring to return merchandise to a vendor shall contact the vendor to obtain a return goods authorization and shipping instructions.
- The department shall contact the Purchasing Department providing the following information:
- Vendor name to which the merchandise is being returned
- Purchase order number on which the merchandise was ordered
- Return goods authorization number if provided by vendor
- Reason merchandise is being returned
- The department shall package and properly label the merchandise for shipment.
- Arrangements should be made with the Facilities Warehouse for shipments to be made by carrier transport or taken to the University Bookstore for shipments by UPS.
Solicitation by Sales Representatives
Sales representatives are encouraged to visit departments to keep the departments informed of new items being introduced and to assist departments by providing information on various aspects of their products and services. Receipt of equipment and products for demonstration purposes is permissible provided no obligation is made to the vendor to purchase these items. It is not permissible for a department to receive materials on consignment, pending issuance of a confirming purchase order.
- Vendors requesting that they be allowed to demonstrate a new product line or service must obtain approval from the Purchasing Department if space in a building or parking lot is required. The vendor will be responsible for all expenses incurred in the demonstration. The University will not accept any responsibility for the safety of the vendor's products beyond normal care and safety.
- When demonstrations are requested by a department from a vendor, arrangements should be made between the department and the vendor and require no further approval. All expenses incurred from these demonstrations are the responsibility of the vendor. The University will not accept any responsibility for the safety of the vendor's product beyond normal care and safety.
- The demonstration of products to a department or to an individual in no way obligates the University to purchase or lease the equipment or service. Any purchase requests issued after demonstrations will be handled in accordance with the normal purchasing regulations of the University and the State.
- When a vendor offers equipment for evaluation and the department is willing to have
the equipment installed for evaluation purposes, the department should secure a written
agreement using the following basic guidelines:
- Equipment must be adequately identified and described, giving model and serial numbers.
- All shipping charges are to be paid by the vendor.
- Insurance, if any, is the responsibility of the vendor. The University assumes no liability for the equipment. The University may agree to exercise normal operational care and to avoid abuse of the equipment.
- At the end of the evaluation period, the vendor will be responsible for crating and shipping by a carrier of the vendor's choice.
- The evaluation of equipment for a vendor does not give the vendor permission to use the name of the University in any advertisement or as an endorsement.
- The University is under no obligation to purchase the equipment.
Complaint to Vendor
- When University faculty or staff has a problem or complaint concerning a vendor's product or services, they should attempt to resolve the problem directly with the vendor.
- When informal efforts are unsuccessful in resolving the problem, all the appropriate supporting documentation should be gathered and an official Complaint to Vendor Form (form coming soon)completed. This should contain names, dates, and results (or lack of results) of all efforts to obtain resolution of the problem.
- The Complaint to Vendor Form should be forwarded to the Purchasing Department.
- The appropriate purchasing agent will review the complaint and attempt to resolve the problems with the vendor.
- If the purchasing agent is unable to satisfactorily resolve the problem, a copy of the complaint will be forward to the vendor, a copy sent to the State Division of Purchase and Contract, and a copy filed in the Purchasing Department.
- If the vendor does not respond appropriately, the State Division of Purchase and Contract
will attempt to resolve the problem through procedures available under North Carolina
State Law. In most cases, the State can intervene to negotiate a settlement.
When circumstance warrant, the State may debar a particular vendor from future business with the State. In the case of a vendor who has a State Term Contract; the State may revoke or otherwise amend that contract accordingly.
When notified by the North Carolina Division of Purchase and Contract or Federal Government that a vendor has be debarred from doing business with that government entity, WCU Purchasing Agents are notified by the Director of Purchasing and purchases
from these vendors are suspended until notified that the debarment has been rescinded.
Historically Underutilized Business Utilization Policy
Western Carolina University has with intent practiced non-discrimination and promoted patronization of historically underutilized businesses in its procurement process. The University has a commitment to continue this practice and to enhance opportunities for HUB vendors to do business with the University in accordance with Executive Order No. 77.
Evidence of the University's commitment to do business with HUB vendors is reflected in the participation of these vendors in University purchases. The University has actively developed a HUB vendor file and includes these vendors in bid requests when qualified. HUB vendors on State term contracts are used when they are the sole contract vendor, or in the case of multiple vendors, they offer equal or greater benefit to the University than other contract vendors. All new vendors are mailed vendor registration forms, which ask them to designate if they are a HUB business. Those who respond affirmatively are added to the HUB vendor file.
Because of the demographics of the area, local HUB businesses available for utilization by Western Carolina University are limited. The Purchasing Department will seek to identify and patronize HUB vendors locally and those outside the immediate area.
The University will seek additional HUB vendors from the following sources:
- Asheville Area Black Pages
- City of Asheville Certified Minority Businesses list.
- State of North Carolina Special Interest Vendor listing.
- Solicitation of participation by HUB vendors in supplying University needs to be included in all procurement advertising and on all bid request forms.
- Request from HUB vendors to be added to our vendor file.
It is the intent of Western Carolina University and the University Purchasing Department
to continue to increase the percentage of HUB vendors in our vendor file and to maintain
a commitment to their utilization. University departmental personnel will be made
aware of this
commitment and the importance of using HUB businesses by including this emphasis as an important part of periodic purchasing seminars and workshops held throughout campus. The Director of Purchasing is the University coordinator responsible for the HUB Utilization Plan.
University Term Contracts
When the frequency of order and volume of purchases of the same or similar items reach a level at which it may be beneficial to the University to establish a term contract, a contract should be established through the bid process. University purchasing agents will monitor their assigned commodities to identify items for which term contracts may be appropriate.