Skip to Main Content

Purchasing Responsibilities

I. General Responsibilities

Individuals acting on behalf of the University in the procurement of goods and services have a responsibility to the University and to the suppliers with whom they do business. This responsibility includes complying with the University Code of Conduct and the Conflict of Interest Policy Governing Business Practices.

The responsibility to the University is to apply undivided attention to the best interests of the University. This requires avoiding situations wherein personal gain may be attained from a supplier to the detriment of the University.

The responsibility to the supplier is to provide an atmosphere that is conducive to fair and ethical treatment of all vendors/contractors who are either currently providing goods/services to the University or who express an interest in doing business with the University.

There responsibilities pertain not only to the purchasing agents in the Purchasing Department, but also to other individuals at the University who are in any way involved in the competitive procurement process (e.g., individuals who define specifications, evaluate suppliers, or who otherwise influence the buying decision).

Only those individuals to whom authority has specifically been delegated by the president are authorized to commit University funds for materials, equipment, supplies and services. If you have any uncertainty regarding whether you are so authorized, consult with the Director of Materials Management & CPO.

II. The Purchasing Department

  • The Director of Materials Management & CPO has responsibility for the procurement of all goods and services, either by providing the services for such procurement or by granting functional directions to others delegated the authority to perform such functions.
  • The Purchasing Department has the responsibility for obligating the University through the use of purchase orders to commitments for the procurement for materials, equipment, supplies and services.
  • The Purchasing Department is responsible for the review and approval of new vendors.
  • The Purchasing Department is responsible for making the final determination of supply sources, quantities purchased, delivery schedules, and price negotiations, except where others are so authorized by the president. These decisions will be made in consultation with those originating the requisitions and in conjunction with other Administrative departments, i.e., Finance, Office of General Counsel, as appropriate.
  • The Purchasing Department is responsible for initiating and maintaining effective and professional relationships with suppliers, actual and potential.
  • The Purchasing Department serves as the lead channel through which requests regarding prices and products are handled. The Purchasing Department will conduct all final correspondence with suppliers involving prices or quotations. In cases where the scientific, technical or business expertise required to solicit and qualify a bid or quotation rests with departments other than Purchasing, individuals designated by the Head of Laboratory or Department may correspond with suppliers regarding scientific, technical or business issues in the process of identifying appropriate vendors/sources and obtaining a bid, proposal or quotation. In all cases, the Purchasing Department must be consulted regarding the solicitation and must be provided with copies of relevant correspondence. Close coordination between the departments and Purchasing must occur regarding such solicitations.
  • Purchasing personnel are to seek to obtain and purchase all goods and services at the lowest possible total end cost, considering the guidelines of prices, service, quality, delivery and reliability.
  • The Director of Materials Management & CPO has full authority to question the quality and kind of material or service requested in order to ensure that the policies of the University are followed and that the best interests of the University are served.
  • Purchasing personnel are to inform requisitioners whenever the quantity or specifications of materials requisitioned are inconsistent with sound purchasing practices or market conditions.
  • Purchasing personnel will negotiate the return of rejected equipment or supplies to suppliers. In cases where the scientific, technical or business expertise required to negotiate the return rests with departments other than Purchasing, individuals designated by the Head of Laboratory or Department may correspond with suppliers regarding scientific, technical or business issues related to the return. In all cases, the Purchasing Department must be consulted regarding the return and be provided with copies of relevant correspondence. Close coordination between the departments and Purchasing must occur regarding such returns.
  • The Purchasing Department is responsible for considering the appropriateness of prepayments.
  • The Purchasing Department is responsible for considering the appropriateness of "trial period" or "demo" transactions for equipment.
  • The Purchasing Department reviews and approves, with appropriate consultation with the Finance Office, trade-in arrangements for University equipment.
  • The Purchasing Department is responsible for questioning requests that are beyond the University's "generally accepted" terms and conditions and for consulting with the Office of General Counsel on these issues.

III. Heads of Laboratory and Administrative Departments

Heads of Laboratory and Administrative Departments have the following responsibilities:

  • Ensure departmental personnel observe financial system security guidelines.
  • Require personnel to follow the University's purchasing policies and procedures.
  • Ensure appropriate separation of functions including segregation of on-line requisition entry and approval.
  • Ensure that requisitions are reviewed and approved according to the delegated authority hierarchy and process.
  • Ensure the availability of funds prior to placing requisitions.
  • Ensure that required supporting documentation is submitted and accurate and complies with University policies and procedures.
  • Coordinate and communicate with the Purchasing Department regarding any request for proposal or request for quotation.
  • Provide appropriate supporting scientific, technical or business expertise to assist in the identification of vendors/sources and in the development of requests for proposals or requests for quotations.
  • Challenge unusual or inappropriate transactions, items or vendors.