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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

  1. I need to buy something for my lab or department. How do I do this?
    1. The procedure is to buy equipment, materials and services using a valid University Purchase Order Number (PO#). Authorized employees may place requisitions for goods or service from third party vendors and/or from the University Stockroom using the iProcurement module of the University’s RUFirst (RU Fully Integrated Resource and Services Tool). Upon review and approval of the requisition, the Purchasing Agents then assign a PO# and actually place the order with third party vendors. iProcurement automatically generates a Stockroom Sales Order#.The Purchasing Department utilizes its own corporate credit card. This Procurement credit card is used for vendors that do not accept standard net 30 day payment purchase orders. All goods and services that are to be obtained from such vendors during normal business hours still require a requisition through iProcurement. The purchase of specific and limited categories of goods and services through the Purchasing corporate credit card is at the discretion of the Purchasing Department. Additional information on the use of departmental corporate credit cards is available on expense reimbursements from Finance.
  2. Why can’t I just buy items myself and get reimbursed?
    1. The University’s purchasing and financial systems are designed to ensure compliance with all Federal, State and Local regulations, guidelines and laws governing the procurement of goods and services for a Higher Educational Research institution. The manner in which goods and services are procured and the funding sources that must be allocated for such expenditures are also subject to constant oversight by University and external auditing agencies. The Oracle iProcurement module is a key element in ensuring this compliance.Procurement through the University Centralized Purchasing Department leads to robust pricing and aggressive negotiated discounts for goods and guaranteed service which result in an enhanced return on investment for the University, in addition to controlled shipping charges and the use of the Non for Profit tax exempt status on goods and services procured for University business.
  3. Can I use petty cash for purchases for my lab or department?
    1. Petty cash reimbursements are allowed for specified, limited categories of expenses only and only for expenses totaling $100 or less. For more information on what types of expenses are allowed, see the University’s Expense Reimbursement Policy. The Finance page FAQs may also be useful.Petty cash reimbursement requests must be submitted within 30 days of the purchase.
  4. Can I buy items through the University if I reimburse the University for the costs?
    1. No, due to University and audit requirements, personal purchases are not permitted. As a courtesy to the University and in accordance with the Higher Education Pricing Program offered by Apple, (Apple Price List), Lenovo and Dell, the purchase of one personal computer per year by any RU faculty, student or staff member is allowed through the Purchasing Department. More information about this program is available on line.
  5. How do I access iProcurement? How do I get authorization to use iProcurement?
    1. iProcurement is accessed through the RUFirst system. You will need a userID and password to login to RUFirst.Your Head of Laboratory or Department [HOL/HOD] must complete the authorization approval form. Your HOL/HOD will also set the limit on the dollar amount you are approved to requisition without additional reviews and approval.
  6. Where can I learn how to use iProcurement?
    1. You can schedule individual iProcurement training by calling the Purchasing Department at ext. 8201 or via email:
  7. Do I need a bid or quote? How do I solicit bids or quotes? Can I obtain a quote by myself?
    1. The University requires bids or quotes for goods that exceed a certain dollar amount. For equipment or a special service project, a minimum of three competitive bids are quotes are required for items that cost $10,000 or more. See the Purchasing Department policy “Developing Requests for Proposals, Requests for Quotations and Solicitation Bids” for detailed instructions and requirements for this process.The Purchasing Agents can assist you with soliciting bids or quotes, and can negotiate possible further discount on a quotation that you may have obtained.Never show a competing vendor any pricing or agreements for services to be rendered by another vendor. This practice destabilizes the integrity of the bidding process and violates ethical and legal procedures for the competitive bidding process.
  8. When do I need a Standing Purchase Order or Blanket Purchase Order?
    1. Use a Standing Purchase Order [SPO] when you have a scheduled delivery or repeat/ongoing order and when the frequency and amount of the order are known in advance. SPOs can not be used for equipment or animal purchases. SPOs are good for one fiscal year (July1-June 30) but will expire at the end of the fiscal year in which they are issued regardless of the issue date. Standing orders may be used for liquid nitrogen deliveries, radioisotopes, or chemicals. These are requisitioned as Non-Catalog Requests in iProcurement as Goods and Services, Billed by Quantity.Items that are of an unknown delivery schedule such as oligonucleotides, liquid nitrogen, or service contracts, repairs, subscriptions, publication, copying projects, consultants, or other specialized services are also requisitioned through iProcurement as a Non Catalog request, but you must select Goods and Services billed by Amount. The Service Amount field is the total dollar amount that you must enter for the PO#.Use a Blanket Purchase Order [BPO] when purchasing assorted items or services that are needed on a varied but predictable basis from a known vendor. BPOs can not be used for equipment purchases or animals or chemicals. BPOs are good for one fiscal year but will expire at the end of the fiscal year in which they are issued regardless of the issue date. Requests for BPOs are reviewed by the Purchasing Department
  9. How do I buy equipment?
    1. Capital equipment must be obtained under a purchase order. Equipment valued over $5000 is considered a University-capital fixed asset. You will need to provide competitive bids or sole source justification along with the requisition for any equipment over $10,000.00.See the University Procurement Policies, Instrument/Equipment section, for detailed instructions on instrument and equipment procurement. Contractual arrangements, Trade-In Agreements, and Trial-Equipment Agreements are all covered in this section of the policy.
  10. What are the guidelines for making purchases with Federal Funds?
    1. All purchases with Federal Funds are subject to compliance with all Federal standards and requirements. Detailed information on these requirements can be found in the Procurement Policy under “Contracts/Subcontracts Using Federal Funds” as well as the section on “Terms and Conditions Applicable to Purchase Orders Issued under U.S. Government Contracts and Grants.”
  11. What are the guidelines for purchasing contracts/subcontracts with Federal Funds?
    1. For full details and guidelines see the Purchasing Policy on “Terms and Conditions Applicable to Purchase Orders issued Under U.S. Government Contracts and Grants.”
  12. Can I make a prepayment or deposit on an order?
    1. Generally it is not necessary or appropriate to pre-pay for goods or services when using a purchase order, however sometimes prepayment may be required by the supplier as part of the supplier’s standard quoted terms and conditions. The Purchasing Agent will assist in processing the prepayment with the supplier.
  13. Where do I get a check request form?
    1. This form is available on line.
  14. How do I requisition animals?
    1. Use the Non-Catalog request option in iProcurement. Select the “animals” category to ensure the request is processed appropriately. Animal requisitions must be submitted before 3:00 p.m. Wednesday for deliveries expected the following week. Late requisitions can be submitted by 3:00 p.m. Thursday with a late fee of $25.00 per requisition. An approved IACUC protocol number covering the animals to be purchased must be noted on the purchase order. An animal template is required for this type of order and is part of all animal category based requisitions.
  15. How do I requisition radioactive materials? How do I order chemicals?
    1. Use the HP Assist program found on the Laboratory Safety & Environmental Health website to requisition radioactive materials. If you need assistance with HP Assist, contact LS&EH at ext. 8324.Requisitions for radioactive materials placed through iProcurement will not be processed. The user will be directed to re-enter the information using HP Assist.Chemicals placed as a requisition from RU Market Place or Non Catalog Request that have the category of Chemicals-Chemical Reagents or Miscellaneous Gas products for chemicals such as sodium chloride, alcohol, liquid nitrogen, CO2, etc., require a chemical template to be filled out as part of the requisition process. The template is necessary for the inventory-based module of ChemAssist.
  16. How do I hire consultants?
    1. Most employees are not authorized to bind the University under contract, this includes contracts with consultants. Please check with Purchasing if you want to hire consulting services from an established company. Human Resources must also be contacted to ensure individual consultants comply with IRS-based terms and conditions. Please check with Human Resources if you want to hire an individual on a consulting basis.The Procurement Department should negotiate consulting contracts with all large vendors or corporations. Requests for other consulting services may be entered into iProcurement. Attach a copy of the contract to the requisition.
  17. How do I order Dry Ice?
    1. Complete the Dry Ice form and fax it to the Purchasing Department at ext. 7905. Be sure to include the amount and type of dry ice that you need, and email Purchasing at to confirm receipt of your form.
  18. How do I obtain 100% Ethanol for my lab?
    1. To order Alcohol (100% Ethanol); fill out the special form available from the Stockroom. Once the form is complete, enter a requisition in iProcurement. End users must maintain usage records.
  19. I want to order biohazardous materials. Am I allowed to?
    1. University policy, vendor conditions, and city, state and federal regulations may prohibit work with certain biohazardous agents on campus. Check with the University Biosafety Officer to see if your Laboratory is approved for work with the biohazardous material you want to order.Currently the University is not authorized for work with Select Agents. Contact LS&EH if your work requires Select Agents.
  20. How do I return goods purchased with a purchase order?
    1. Contact to request assistance on the nature of the return. A Purchasing Agent will arrange with the vendor for return authorization.Generally, items purchased with a valid University PO# may be returned between 15-30 days upon initial purchase of the item. However, suppliers may reserve the right to decline issuing Return Materials Authorization (RMA). If the item was requisitioned in error, the end user may be required to pay (in addition to all shipping, handling, permit duties and tariff fees) a restocking fee (usually a percentage of the item or order total dollar amount, typically 10-25%). If the item was sent in error by the vendor, the Purchasing Agent will request that the vendor provide either a replacement or full credit for the order.Keep the materials properly stored until return and keep all of the original shipping material.Unopened items obtained from the Stockroom may be returned with a Stockroom Materials Return Form.
  21. How do I pay/order equipment repairs?
    1. Submit a requisition via the iProcurement system. Select “Non-Catalog Request”, select: “Goods and Services Billed by Amount.” If the repair is urgent, click the Urgent Box within the requisition and you may also note in the “Notes to Buyer” section you need a PO# immediately. PO#s will be sent by phone or email. Alternatively, you may check in iProcurement under the “Requisitions” tab and highlight your requisition and scroll over to the column designated as “Order;” this is the PO#.If the equipment must be sent out for repair, contact the vendor for shipping information and return information. When you submit the requisition, include the serial and model number of the equipment. The Laboratory Safety Officer or Laboratory Safety & Environmental Health must also provide clearance that the equipment is free of any hazardous materials contamination before it can be shipped.More detailed information and instructions can be found in the Repairs section in the Procurement Policies document.
  22. How do I ship materials from the University?
    1. University shipping services are for business related materials only.Materials to be mailed should be marked with a PTAEO to cover postage and taken to the University Mail Room.Materials to be sent by FedEx may be brought to the Mail Room during business hours or to the Founder’s Hall Security Desk after hours. The air bill must be fully completed, including the PTAEO to cover the FedEx charges.UPS shipments should be taken to the 64th Street Receiving area during their business hours. You will have to complete documentation at 64th Street Receiving, including providing a PTAEO or Return Authorization number to cover the UPS costs.Consult with LS&EH regarding the guidelines governing the shipment of chemicals and packages containing hazardous materials such as dry ice. Additional hazardous material shipping information may be found under the Shipping Hazardous Materials Policy.
  23. Can I get my order delivered next day?
    1. Steps should be taken to avoid any last minute orders which require additional shipping costs. However, the Purchasing Department will do its best to accommodate all last-minute requests. Overnight delivery requests should be submitted by 11 a.m. on working business days. Laboratories or Departments that have a pattern of last minute requests will be flagged for review.
  24. How do I get my materials/items after they arrive at Receiving?
    1. Once your materials arrive and have been appropriately documented as received, as a courtesy, you will be contacted by the Receiving Department that your package is ready for pickup at the 64th Street Receiving call window via an email from Receiving. It is incumbent upon the end user to retrieve their materials from Receiving in a timely manner. If there are many items that need to be received or there are large sized-items to be retrieved, the end user may contact Custodial Services (Ext. 7314) for assistance. The Receiving Department does not deliver goods.
  25. Can I buy a computer for personal use through the University?
    1. As a courtesy to the community and in accordance with the Higher Education Pricing Program offered by Apple, (Apple Price List) Lenovo (formerly IBM), and Dell, the purchase of one personal computer per year by any RU faculty, student or staff member is allowed through the Purchasing Department. Personal purchases of any other commodities are not permitted.
  26. I am expecting an important delivery of a package. Will I be notified when it arrives?
    1. You may alert: with instructions to notify you when your package arrives.
  27. I have a contract for a specific good or service as part of a special project; can I sign off on the contract with the supplier?
    1. You should forward a copy of the contract to Purchasing for review and Purchasing in turn, will correspond with the University General Counsel Office for legal review and comment. It is very important that the University not assume any excessive liability within the terms and conditions of the contract. The Terms and Conditions must also be acceptable to the University. Once the review of the contract has been completed by Purchasing, General Counsel and all other appropriate University Departments, either the Head of Laboratory/Department (HOL/HOD), or the Director of Materials Management/CPO of other duly designated officer of the University may sign off on the contract.
  28. Can I accept gifts from a vendor?
    1. Gifts or gratuities of any kind from any vendor in exchange for business or guarantee of business or consideration for any future business are prohibited. Vendors who are relatives of RU employees are ineligible for consideration by that employee for doing business with the University as this is a conflict of interest.
  29. How do I cancel PO #?
    1. Requisitions that have received a PO need to be cancelled in writing.
  30. Can I contact the vendor and make changes to a PO?
    1. In most cases, NO. You must contact: to communicate and coordinate any and all changes to an order. If you are contacted by the vendor and an item on the PO is discontinued or there is a technical replacement, then you may make a change with the vendor, but you MUST notify of any changes to the PO under these circumstances. All unauthorized changes are not allowed and any change not communicated to Purchasing may result in a delay of the receipt of the item, and may also create a delay in the University Procure to Pay Process which can have an adverse effect on the University credit rating. Any technical issues with an item received on a PO may be communicated directly to the vendor, and arrangements for replacements are allowable, but the end user and/or vendor must notify such changes due to a technical issue to: End users must completely communicate the nature of the issue and the PO# within their communication alert to the University Purchasing Department.
  31. How do I check on the status of an order?
    1. All order status inquires on a PO or RU Storeroom Sales Order or iProcurement requisitioning procedures may be directed to: for expeditious processing.