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Purchasing Overview

1. GENERAL. As a rule, departments obtain goods and services through the purchasing process governed by State Bureau of Procurement policy and internal procedures within UWL Purchasing.  For most purchases, a purchase requisition  is generated by the department, signed by the Department Chair, Dean, or Director and forwarded to Purchasing for review and approval. This is required for all purchases over $5,000 as well as special handling items that are under this threshold.
 
Dollar Limits, Bid Process, and Exceptions:
  • Purchases of goods or services less than $5,000 require a "best judgment" decision by Purchasing or your department.
  • Purchases of goods or services between $5,000.00 and $49,999.00 require a simplified bid
  • If your purchase is $50,000.00 or greater, Purchasing will prepare an Official Sealed Bid or Request for Proposal (RFP). An RFP is used for soliciting proposals when an award cannot be made based strictly on specifications or price. 
  • Exceptions to the bidding process include: Waivers and Sole Source, Sole Source Academic Support Services (ASSA), PRO-E-4, or Grant Subcontracting when named in the Grant Proposal.
2. TYPES OF ORDERS.
 
  • DIRECT PAYMENT. This is used for those items not requiring a purchase order, such as, memberships, registration fees, services, etc. less than $5,000.
  • PROCUREMENT CARD. This is used for low dollar supplies purchases (less than $5,000) under the conditions described in the  Procurement Card Manual .
  • PURCHASE ORDER. Used for most other purchases including those that require a deposit regardless of amount.
    • BEST JUDGMENT -- Goods and services costing less than $5,000, excluding shipping.  Normal processing time from receipt of a problem-free order to purchase order transmission is two working days.  (PPP 1)
    • SIMPLIFIED BIDDING -- Goods and services costing between $5,000 and $50,000.  Requires obtaining quotations from at least three sources.  (PPP 2)
    • OFFICIAL SEALED BID -- Goods and services costing $50,000 or more.  Procedures and timing are strictly regulated by law.  At a minimum, the processing time will be four weeks, but six weeks is more common. (PPP 3)
    • SPECIAL PROCEDURES -- Not all purchases fit the categories above.  If a state or UW System contract is in effect for the ordered commodity, then the processing will be shortened and simplified.  On the other hand, if there are special considerations, e.g., sole source, evaluation by other than lowest cost, etc., then special procedures will apply. (PPP 8)
3. CONTRACTS. Negotiated at various levels, contracts are developed to ensure the availability of goods and services, to establish vendor relationships, and to obtain favorable pricing.  An advantage of contracts is that they save time in processing higher dollar purchases.  A disadvantage is that they can sometimes limit choice.
 
  • MANDATORY -- The State will negotiate contracts requiring that only certain vendors' products will be purchased for specific commodities.  Examples include paper, furniture, flags, janitorial supplies, financial services, vehicles and related supplies, information technology services, personal computers and software, office supplies and machines like printers/copiers, and hazardous waste management.
  • OPTIONAL -- State negotiated contracts that may be used if desired.  Examples include office furniture and carpeting.
  • UW SYSTEM -- Contracts negotiated by UW System and/or UW-Madison.  All are voluntary usage.  Examples include video & audio electronics, laboratory supplies, etc.
  • UW-LA CROSSE -- Most UWL negotiated contracts are for services, such as motor coach transport and snow removal.
4. PURCHASING RESTRICTIONS. Some commodities are strictly controlled, and they require special procedures and approvals.  Additionally, some purchasing practices are prohibited by statute.
 
  • CONTROLLED COMMODITIES -- Examples include printing, vehicles, heating/air conditioning equipment, and some computer software.
  • SERIAL PURCHASING -- The practice of issuing a series of orders within a ninety day period to the same vendor for the same item or service in order to avoid the appropriate competitive procurement process.  This is a prohibited practice.
  • FRAGMENTED PURCHASING -- The intentional splitting of requisitions for like items or services in order to avoid the appropriate competitive process.  This differs from serial purchasing in that the fragmented purchases usually occur at the same time, and the items may not be identical, though they are related by project or commodity.  This is a prohibited practice.
  • AGENCY CONTRACTING -- An agency employee without delegated purchasing authority making a purchase agreement with a vendor prior to obtaining the appropriate approval.  In such a case, the employee can be required to personally pay for the purchase.  (See PPP 7, Illegal Purchases)
  • PERSONAL GAIN - Wisconsin statutes prohibit state employees from obtaining financial gain or anything of substantive value as a result of their positions as state employees.  Personal gain is extended to include the employee's immediate family and any organizations with which the the employee is associated.  Specific examples of prohibited practices include the following:
    • Using state funds to make purchases of goods or services from yourself, your immediate family, or an associated organization.
    • Converting state property to personal use or gain without legally obtaining the property through normal surplus procedures.

Best Judgment Purchases (Under $5,000)

1. GENERAL. The  Procurement Card  is intended to satisfy most purchasing needs below $5,000.  When a procurement card is not appropriate for purchases less than $5,000 (PPP 12), a  purchase requisition  is submitted to Purchasing.  It will usually be converted without change to an official purchase order unless the item(s) being ordered is available on an existing contract or a special approval is required.  Purchasing assumes that the ordering department is exercising its "best judgment" in choosing the item(s) and vendor.
 
2. CAUTIONS. A published contract for the supplies or services being requested may already exist.  The department may check for published  UW-Madison, UW System , and State (DOA) contracts and for pricing and terms by contacting Purchasing prior to completing a requisition.  Also, some commodities of goods and services may require special approval documentation (Eg. temporary help, vehicle leasing, activities requiring a deposit).
 
  • If Purchasing receives a requisition requesting items that are on a contract, the order may be processed as a contract order.  The department will be notified of this action by receipt of a purchase order copy with the contract vendor and contract number printed on it.
  • If Purchasing receives a requisition requesting items that require a special approval, the department contact person will be notified and asked for assistance in getting whatever special documentation is required.  The requisition will be held until this requirement is completed.
3. RESTRICTIONS:  Departments MAY NOT independently place orders with vendors that equal or exceed $5,000.  Invoices received for $5,000 or more that do not reference a purchase order number will not be processed for payment until the procuring department adequately justifies why proper purchasing procedures were not followed.  Insufficient justification may result in the ordering employee becoming personally liable for payment of the invoice  (See PPP 7).  
 
4. CONTACTS:  Purchasing (608.785.8724); Accounts Payable (608.785.8555).
 
5. USAGE. The department prepares a purchase requisition, making sure to have the complete vendor name and address as the "suggested vendor," and processes the requisition through normal approval channels.  Departments should consider requesting a Blanket Order if they anticipate frequent, low-dollar purchases of similar items from the same vendor and procurement card use is not appropriate.
 
6. DOLLAR LIMIT. A Best Judgment Order may not equal or exceed $5,000, not including freight or shipping charges.

PPP 1 - Procedures for Best Judgment Requisitions

1. PROCEDURE. The  purchase requisition, as prepared by the department, is usually converted without change  by Purchasing to an official purchase order, unless the goods or services being ordered are available on an existing contract or a special approval is required.  Therefore, each requisition must contain the following:
 
  • Complete, accurate vendor name and address including zip code.  This is the address to which the order will be mailed.
  • Complete department location, including building name and room number.  This is where the item(s) will be delivered after receipt in Central Receiving.
  • The first and last name of the department person placing the order as well as a telephone number.
  • A complete and detailed description of the goods or services to be purchased, including quantity, unit of packaging, manufacturer's model number, accurate confirmed prices, and any other information necessary for the vendor to accurately process the order.
  • All of the above elements are required or the processing of the requisition may be delayed until the appropriate information is obtained.
2. CHECK ENCLOSED. If it is required by the vendor, and prices are firm (up to date order forms, catalog information, phone quote, etc.), a  purchase requisition may be processed "check enclosed," which eliminates the need to process a later invoice. Please type in the description area of the requisition "CHECK ENCLOSED" and attach two copies of price documentation to the requisition.  A telephone quote with complete name of the vendor contact person, telephone number, date given, and cost (including all shipping) is acceptable documentation.
 
3. TURNAROUND. Every effort will be made to process Best Judgment orders within two working days after the requisition is received in Purchasing. 
 
4. FOLLOW UP. If the department has not received the blue department copy of a purchase order after five (5) working days of it being encumbered, the department should check the status by calling Purchasing at 608.785.8724.
 
5. TRACING ORDERS. Departments should trace their own Best Judgment orders.  Purchasing is available to assist departments whenever necessary.
 
6. PAYMENT. Properly submitted invoices will be paid within 30 days of receipt.  If the department receives the original invoice, it should verify the purchase order number is referenced on the invoice and forward it IMMEDIATELY to Business Services Accounts Payable.
 
A direct payment is an option for those items not requiring a purchase order, such as, memberships, registration fees, services, etc. less than $5,000. Please submit an invoice to pay directly to Accounts Payable.
 
Other options include the use of a Procurement Card (PCard) or Shop@UW to satisfy most purchasing needs below $5,000.  

Exceptions: Special handling for goods or services costing less than $5,000 (Best Judgement)

The list below is of items that may cost less than $5,000 but require the completion of a Purchase Requisition:
  • Americans with Disabilities Act/Assistive Listening Devices Requirements (ALD/ALD Requirements) 
  • Alarm Systems
  • Asbestos Removal
  • Audio Visual Equipment Installation 
  • Biological Safety Cabinets, fume hoods
  • Bus, Charter Services (School buses or motor coach buses)
  • Computer Equipment and Software 
  • Consulting Services
  • Contracts Requiring Signature 
  • Controlled Substances 
  • Copiers
  • Deposit Requests
  • Drones and UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicle) 
  • Ethyl Alcohol
  • Fireworks 
  • Fume Hoods
  • Furniture Items 
  • Gas Cylinders
  • Graphic Equipment
  • Heating/Air-Conditioning/Ventilation Equipment 
  • Importing or Exporting Goods and Services 
  • Insurance Coverage 
  • Leases/Rentals
  • Legal Services 
  • Maintenance/Service Agreements
  • Motor Vehicles  
  • On-Site Freezer/Refrigerator/Cabinet Stock Programs
  • Omnibus Reconciliation Act -- Medicaid/Medicare Funding 
  • Printing Services
  • Radioactive Materials 
  • Remodeling of Campus Facilities (Facilities Planning Management Requirements)
  • Software, License Agreements
  • Stable Isotopes 
  • Telecommunications Equipment 
  • Temporary Help 
  • Trademarks & Logo

Simplified Bid Process

1. POLICY. When the estimated cost of the purchase of a supply, service (except printing), or equipment item(s) is between $5,000 and $50,000, simplified bidding may be performed by departments or will be performed by Purchasing using several different methods of solicitation. Simplified bidding performed by departments will be subject to review by Purchasing, which may elect to solicit additional bids to assure the requirement for competitive bidding has been met. Simplified bidding is not intended to circumvent the appropriate purchasing procedures. Final award will be made by Purchasing.

  • Mandatory State Bulletins, when applicable, must be used unless prior approval is obtained through Purchasing. The State, UW-Madison, and UW System have non-mandatory contracts available for department convenience and savings.
  • When the cost of a transaction is estimated to be more than $50,000, official sealed bids may be required. Please contact Purchasing for instructions. (See PPP 3.)

2. CAUTIONS. All UWL personnel involved in soliciting bids are responsible for compliance with the laws and regulations related to this activity.

  • Ethics/Conflict of Interest. For Classified Staff refer to Classified Employee Work Guidelines and Chapter ER-Pers 24 of the Wisconsin Administrative Rules. Faculty and Academic Staff refer to Wisconsin Administrative Code, UWS Chapter 8.
  • Confidentiality of bids. UW personnel must be careful not to give one supplier an advantage over another by inadvertently sharing one supplier's prices, terms, or other bid information with another prior to the purchase order being released.
  • Only information needed to clarify a specification and necessary for a supplier to prepare his/her own bid may be given out and made available to all contacts.
  • Suppliers may ask to be notified of the bid results after the award is made. Departments are not authorized to release this information until after the purchase order has been released.
  • Insurance. Insurance coverage will be required from the successful bidder for service, installation, inside delivery and other work performed on campus. It is imperative that this requirement be made known to the supplier as part of the bid specification. Contact Purchasing for assistance in this area.

3. CONTACT. For additional information on simplified bid processing, contact Purchasing at 608.785.8724 or purchasing@uwlax.edu.


4. USAGE. Simplified bidding is used by Purchasing and may be used by departmental personnel with the approval of their dean/department administrators when the estimated cost of the purchase is between $5,000 and $50,000. Price quotes should be obtained from three or more vendors who are normally expected to carry or provide the supply, service, or equipment. Repetitive/frequent requisitions from the same department for the same supply, service, or equipment will be consolidated by Purchasing, and the appropriate purchasing procedures will be followed.

  • Three supplier contacts for competitive pricing is a minimum. The maximum realistic number of bids should be governed by the cost and definition of the product being purchased. The use of only three contacts should not be used to restrict competition, and we encourage more than three quotes to maximize competition.
  • Whenever possible, minority businesses, sheltered workshops and small businesses should be included among the contacts.
  • When other university departments or other government agencies are considered viable vendors, they should be contacted prior to making contact with outside vendors.
  • Contacts or price quotes may be gotten through the following methods: current price lists, advertisements, telephone or verbal quotes, facsimile quotations, written bids, or previous quotes on file (see Sec. 4.5.3 below). No matter which method is used, contacts for price quotes must be documented.
  • When comparing bids/quotes, the following elements must be considered: price (discount), conformity with original specifications, delivery date (if specified), freight charges, and special preferences (minority business, etc.). If the bids are not carefully reviewed, the department may receive inferior products or a decrease in competition resulting in higher prices.
    • Alternate Bids. If suppliers submit bids for products or services different from that specified, a determination must be made as to whether or not the alternate item is an equal substitution. The supplier must provide sufficient product information for the user to completely evaluate the alternate item. An inaccurate evaluation by the university may result in the purchase of inferior products or services. This situation is unfair to those suppliers who submit bids meeting or exceeding the original specifications.
    • Unclear Specifications. If a specification is unclear, a supplier may submit a bid for a product or service that is lower or unnecessarily higher in quality. With a more clearly understood specification, the supplier will be able to bid closer to the stated specification at a competitive price. (See PPP 3.)
    • Using previous quotes on file: Under certain conditions the results of a bid may be used more than once. If the awarded bidder from a recent round of bidding will agree to hold to the same pricing, and if this pricing is still to the university's advantage, then bidding does not need to be repeated and the previous (recent) round of bidding takes the place of competitive bidding for the new purchase.

Procedures For the Simplified Bid Process:

1. Prepare written specifications before soliciting bids. Elements that may be included are:

  • Quantity wanted; packaging information (e.g., 12 each 60-oz. containers/case).
  • Physical description; i.e. dimensions, size, color, weight, grade, finish; composition; performance requirements.
  • Trade or brand name; manufacturer part number, model number, and catalog number. Note: Brand names are not normally specified, except as an example of the product desired. Departments must be prepared to justify specific brands as the only products acceptable.
  • For installation and/or service contracts: insurance requirements, nature of service, location, time limits.
  • Delivery deadline if applicable; delivery location(s); type of delivery, i.e. dock delivery, installed.
  • Request for freight costs if not already included in the bid price.
  • Method of award, specify line item or lot total.

2. Contact potential bidders. Departments are encouraged to solicit bids from Minority Business Enterprises (MBE) and Sheltered Workshops. Contact Purchasing for guidance on determining awards involving these types of vendors.

3. Obtain price quotations by one or a combination of the following methods. In all methods, collect the following information: supplier/company name and order address; first and last name of person giving the quote; date and/or number of current price list used; date of quote; unit price, extended price, and lot total where designated; freight costs if not included in the price; payment terms (i.e., net 30, 2% 10/N30); delivery date or calendar days until delivery from when supplier receives your order [e.g., 3 weeks after receipt of order (ARO)] and designation of Minority Business and/or Sheltered Workshop.

  • Telephone. Contact the suppliers directly. It is important the suppliers understand you are taking COMPETITIVE BIDS and not placing an order. Provide all suppliers with the exact same specifications and information, and request they get back to you by a specific date with their quotation. The nature of the procurement and the urgency of your need will determine this deadline. Be sure to allow sufficient time for special situations where a site inspection may be necessary, e.g., service contracts. In the event you need to alter the specifications because of a change in needs, error in the specification, etc., it will be necessary to re-contact all suppliers. Remember, competitive bids are confidential until the purchase order is issued.
  • Facsimile (FAX). Prepare a list of your needs and the specification and transmit it to the supplier. It is important to include in a prominent position, the phrase "REQUEST FOR BID" so the supplier does not think it is an order.
  • Written Request for Bid. Similar to a facsimile quotation except the document is emailed to the suppliers.
  • Price Lists. Prices may be taken from current price lists or advertisements. These lists MUST be current and appropriate for the commodity area. It is best to check with the supplier by phone or facsimile to confirm the pricing. In many cases, there may be an additional discount for a quantity purchase or an educational institution discount. This is particularly true for computer equipment.

In the event the supplier does not respond by the stated deadline, this should be documented. This "no response" may be used to meet the requirement of three or more solicitations.

4. Analyze bid results. The recommended award shall be made to the lowest responsible bidder meeting all the specifications.

  • Minority Business Enterprises receive a 5% price preference and Sheltered Workshops receive a 2% price preference in competitive bidding. Contact Purchasing for guidance in making these determinations.
  • When the recommended award is made to other than the lowest bidder, a justification must be provided for each bid that is lower than the recommended award. Examples include: the low bid is for an alternate item of inferior quality (be specific), the low bid cannot meet the required delivery deadline, other deviations from the bid specification, or interstate reciprocity considerations. Contact Purchasing for assistance in this area.
  • If there are tied bids or if there is some confusion, contact Purchasing for assistance.

5. Upon reviewing simplified bidding results, Purchasing may elect to solicit additional bids. Purchasing will be the agent of record on the purchase order; it is their responsibility to see that the requirement for competitive bidding has been met.

When the estimated cost of the purchase of a supply, service (except printing), or equipment item(s) is between $5,000 and $50,000, simplified bidding Simplified bidding performed by departments will be subject to review by Purchasing, which may elect to solicit additional bids to assure the requirement for competitive bidding has been met. When comparing bids/quotes, the following elements must be considered: price (discount), conformity with original specifications, delivery date (if specified), freight charges, and special preferences (minority business, etc.). If the bids are not carefully reviewed, the department may receive inferior products or a decrease in competition resulting in higher prices.

Simplified bidding is not intended to circumvent the appropriate purchasing procedures. Final award will be made by Purchasing. Requests for items falling within this price range must be submitted to Purchasing on a Purchase Requisition with a minimum of 3 quotes attached for reference.

Procedures and timing are strictly regulated by law and processing time varies depending on commodity.  Please contact Purchasing at 8724 for information regarding high dollar purchases.

NUMBEREFFECTIVEPOLICY AND PROCEDURE
PPP1 11/01/96 Best Judgment Purchasing
PPP2 11/01/96 Simplified Bid Process
PPP3   Official Sealed Bids and Specifications Writing
PPP4 07/08/96 New or Renewal Subscriptions
PPP5   Printing and Printing Related Purchases
PPP6 11/01/96 Blanket Purchase Orders
PPP7 New Illegal Purchases
PPP8   Non-Competitive Purchasing
PPP9   Change and Cancellation Orders
PPP10   Return Materials Authorization (RMA) Process

SPECIAL PROCEDURES:

BLANKET PURCHASE ORDERS -- Upon departmental request and if use of a procurement card is not appropriate, Purchasing will issue blanket purchase orders to vendors for small, repetitive purchases of the same commodity.  An example would be a blanket order with a local plumbing supplier for repair parts.  Purchasing will not approve blanket purchase orders for office supplies, as they are to be obtained through Campus Stores.

EMERGENCY ORDERS -- An emergency can be justification for suspending the rules on competitive procurement.  An emergency is strictly defined by procurement regulations as something that threatens public health, safety, or welfare and in which the following conditions exist: 1) it was unforeseen; 2) it calls for immediate action; 3) it cannot be responded to using normal procurement processes.  Failure to plan ahead does not constitute an emergency.

SAMPLES -- The standard procurement rules apply to the purchase of any sample, demo, or loaner equipment.  Departments must be careful not to be making an "agency contract" with a vendor when accepting a sample, demo, or loaner, as the accepting individual can be held financially responsible for the purchase.

Blanket Purchase Orders

1. POLICY. A blanket order is issued to establish an account with external vendors or with other Wisconsin state agencies for the purpose of making small, repetitive purchases of similar supplies or services.  The intent of the blanket order is to reduce the need for multiple purchase orders to the same vendor, thus reducing the numbers of transactions and making the purchases easier and more timely.
 
2. CAUTION. A blanket order is potentially the easiest purchasing instrument to abuse, as individual purchases against the blanket order do not receive Purchasing scrutiny before they are made.  Departments should order only goods or services with a blanket purchase order covered by the class code for which it was issued.  In other words, a blanket order to an audio store for recording tape should not be used to buy speakers.  Items ordered that are not included in the general description of the blanket order may be considered an illegal purchase (See PPP 7, Illegal Purchases).  Purchasing periodically reviews blanket order releases to determine if the usage limit is being followed.  Inappropriate use of blanket orders may result in discontinuation of blanket order privileges for the department.
 
3. CONTACTS. Questions regarding establishing and changing blanket orders should go to Purchasing at 608.785.8724.  Questions regarding invoice approval or billing should go to Accounts Payable at 608.785.8555.
 
4. PROCEDURES. Departments may request a blanket purchase order by completing a  purchase requisition  and routing it through normal approval channels.
  • Departments should determine the beginning and ending dates of the blanket order.  Otherwise, the order will be automatically closed at the end of the fiscal year (June 30).  Estimate the encumbrance dollar amount to cover expected expenditures during the time period of the blanket order.
  • Departments may place an order against a blanket order upon receiving the department copy of the blanket order.  Give the vendor the complete eight character blanket order number.  Remind the vendor that three copies of the invoice, referencing the blanket order number, must be sent to Accounts Payable, 1725 State Street, La Crosse, WI  54601.
  • Departments may need to add or delete a supply or service item(s) on an existing blanket order (See PPP 9, Change & Cancellation Orders).  When returning or exchanging items, see PPP 10, Return Materials Authorization (RMA) Process, for the correct procedures.
  • Departments will receive roll-over forms during the fourth quarter of the fiscal year for blanket orders that are expiring on June 30.  Departments may renew expiring blanket orders without having to type new requisitions by "editing" each form for a new time period and encumbrance.  If these forms are not returned to Purchasing before the fiscal year ends, the blanket order will not roll-over, and departments will have to use the requisitioning process to create new blanket orders.
5. USAGE and LIMITS. A blanket order is issued for the purchase of either supplies or services as defined by the selected class code.  No single transaction against a blanket order may exceed $5,000.00.  A blanket order:
  • Is not issued for printing except for allowable items under $50 per transaction (refer to PPP 5--Printing & Printing Related Purchases).
  • May be issued for a maximum of 12 months.  Do not place an order after the expiration date.
  • Start date may be back-dated by two weeks from the requisition date, or to the beginning of the current month, whichever is longer.

Illegal Purchases

1. POLICY. It is the responsibility of each person to comply with Wisconsin Statutes and Administrative Codes when expending public funds (regardless of the source of the funding) deposited with the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse.
 
Wis. Stats. 16.77(2) states whenever a person "...contracts for the purchase of supplies, materials, equipment or contractual services contrary to ss. 16.705 to 16.82 or rules promulgated ... the contract is void, and any officer or subordinate is liable for the cost thereof, and if such supply, material, equipment or contractual services so unlawfully purchased have been paid for out of public moneys, the amount thereof may be recovered in the name of the state in an action filed by the attorney general against the officer or subordinate ...".  See attached list of items exempt from this policy (e.g., preprinted educational materials, travel costs).
 
2. CONTACTS. Purchasing, 608.785.8724.
 
3. PROCEDURES. Purchasing will take the following actions for the following illegal purchases:
  • Serial purchases identified by Purchasing will be stopped and brought to the attention of the appropriate Dean/Director.  Transactions involving extenuating circumstances, which show no intent to evade the bidding process, may be considered for further processing upon the agreement of the Dean/Director and the Director of Purchasing.
  • Fragmented purchase requisitions will be combined and processed using the appropriate competitive process.  Fragmenting of purchases results in an increased workload for the Department, Dean, Accounting, Computer Center, and Purchasing.
  • A Return Materials Authorization (RMA) form modifying the original purchase order in any way is illegal.  Modification to a purchase order may only be made by an official change order issued by Purchasing.  For proper use of the RMA, see PPP 10.
4. USAGE. Any person deemed responsible for initiating an illegal purchase (responsibility will be determined by Department/Dean and/or Purchasing) is personally accountable for a satisfactory resolution.  Resolution options are:
  • To submit a personally composed and signed letter/memo which includes:
    • Description of the goods or services purchased.
    • Circumstances which led to the illegal purchase.
    • Justification for lack of prior Purchasing approval.
    • Statement of actions being taken to prevent repetition of the situation.
    • Department head and Dean/Director signatures indicating review and approval.
  • To return goods to the vendor for full credit.  The person may be required to pay restocking or other charges, if any.
  • To pay for the goods or services personally from own funds, NOT from public funds.

Surplus Property Disposal

1. POLICY. In accordance with Department of Administration policy, Campus Stores has been delegated sole authority to dispose of surplus property for UW-La Crosse.  Campus Stores may further delegate disposition authority for specific items or for general disposal activities.
 
2. DEFINITIONS.
  • State Property -- All materials, supplies, and equipment of a state agency, regardless of value.  This does not include real property.
  • Surplus Property - State property that is in excess of department needs, no longer in use by the department, technically or mechanically obsolete, no longer functional, or has no intrinsic value (junk).  This does not include real property.
  • Surplus Property Transaction -- A single transaction is identified as a separate and distinct Surplus Property Transaction Form (L-1814) with a distinctive date.
3. CAUTIONS. All sales of state property to organizations outside the University of Wisconsin System or to individuals must be approved by Campus Stores.  University departments are NOT authorized to dispose of state property without Campus Stores approval.
 
4. CONTACTS. Departments should call Campus Stores at 608.785.8643 with any questions regarding surplus disposal, or to request copies of the Surplus Property Transaction Form (L-1814).
 
5. DEPARTMENT PROCEDURES. UW-La Crosse departments must fill out a Surplus Property Transaction Form (L-1814) listing the surplus item(s) and send it to Campus Stores, Physical Plant.
  • Campus Stores will coordinate with the department for property removal.
  • Generally, Campus Stores will determine the selling price of surplus property.  Campus Stores will consult with department personnel in pricing specialized items.
  • Departments disposing of equipment and supplies will receive the net proceeds of the sale after deduction of the Campus Stores handling expenses (paragraph 9).  The credit will be made directly to the funding source indicated by the department on the Surplus Property Transaction Form or credited to the department's Stores account, if desired.
  • All sales to individuals and to organizations that cannot provide a Wisconsin Sales Tax Exemption number are subject to state and county sales taxes.
  • Property may be donated to non-profit or other tax-supported organizations with the approval of Campus Stores.  This preference should be indicated on the "Additional Comments" section of the Surplus Property Transaction form.
6. DIRECT DISPOSAL. Surplus property is first made available to other UW-La Crosse departments by announcement in the Campus Connection or by electronic bulletin board.  After surplus property has been made available to UW-La Crosse departments, other UW System institutions, and other state agencies, it is made available to the general public.
 
7. EQUIPMENT TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER DEPARTMENT. The contributing department must complete a Surplus Property Transaction form. In the "Condition Codes" section indicate "T" and record the building and room number to which the property was transferred.
 
8. EQUIPMENT TRADE-IN. Departments may elect to trade-in equipment as part of a new equipment purchase.  The department must complete a Surplus Property Transaction Form describing the equipment that is being traded in.  In the "Condition Codes" section indicate "TR," and in the "Comments" section include the bid number or purchase order number, and the due date for the new equipment.  The completed form should be sent to Campus Stores, Physical Plant.
 
9. SALES PROCEEDS DISPOSITION. Campus Stores will deduct a handling fee from surplus property sales proceeds to cover disposal expenses and will return the remainder to the contributing department.  The disposal handling fee is $50 per transaction, minimum, plus 10% of proceeds above $50.  Transaction proceeds less than $50 will be totally applied to disposal expenses.
 
10. TRANSPORTATION SERVICES. Campus Stores will pick up surplus property from UW-La Crosse departments.  Arrangements for pick up of surplus items can be made by calling 608.785.8643.
11. REPORTING AND RECORDS. Campus Stores will report surplus property transactions to DOA and maintain required records in accordance with PRO-F-3, State Procurement Manual.
 
12. PROHIBITED AND CONTROLLED PRACTICES. The following practices are specifically prohibited or controlled by State of Wisconsin regulations:
  • Donations of state property to private individuals, for-profit organizations, or state employees are prohibited.
  • Sales to state employees are prohibited unless the items are sold at announced public sales or auctions.
  • There are special restrictions on the disposal of certain major appliances, including air conditioners, clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers, freezers, microwave ovens, ovens, refrigerators, and stoves.  Contact Campus Stores for further information.
  • State data shall be removed from all electronic media, such as computer hard drives, prior to disposal.  For computers, this includes all data files and program applications other than the computer operating system, i.e., DOS and Windows.
13. REFERENCE. PRO-F-3, State Procurement Manual, Surplus Property Disposal - Nonvehicles, August 1, 1996.
 
Not all purchases fit the categories above.  If a state, UW System or UWL contract is in effect for the ordered commodity, then the processing is shortened and simplified.  On the other hand, if there are special considerations, e.g., a deposit is required, there is a sole source situation, the evaluation was done by other than lowest cost, etc., special procedures will apply.
 
If it is required by the vendor, and prices are firm (up to date order forms, catalog information, phone quote, invoice, etc.), a Purchase Requisition may be processed "check enclosed," which eliminates the need to process a later invoice. 
 
In addition, blanket purchase orders are recommended for small, repetitive purchases of the same commodity from the same supplier.
Unless the goods or services being ordered are available on an existing contract or a special approval is required, the Purchase Requisition, as prepared by the department, is usually converted without change by Purchasing to an official Purchase Order.  Therefore, each requisition must contain the following:
 
  • Complete, accurate vendor name and address including zip code.  The order will be mailed to this address.
  • Complete department location, including building name and room number.  This is where the item(s) will be delivered after receipt in Central Receiving.
  • First and last name of the department person placing the order as well as a telephone number should there be questions or problems.
  • A complete and detailed description of the goods or services to be purchased, including quantity, unit of packaging, manufacturer's model number, accurate confirmed prices, and any other information necessary for the vendor to accurately process the order.

All of the above elements are required or the processing of the requisition may be delayed until the appropriate information is obtained.

What if it has a contract?
  • A contract for the supplies or services needed may already exist.  The department may check for contracts and for pricing and terms by contacting Purchasing prior to completing a requisition.  Also, some commodities of goods and services may require special approval documentation (e.g. temporary help, vehicle leasing).
What if a deposit is needed?
  • Departments need to submit requests for deposits on Purchase Requisitions.  The full anticipated amount should be listed and the immediate need amount clearly identified for payment.  A Purchase Order will be created and a check will be sent to the vendor for the deposit.  Once final payment is needed, the invoice must be submitted to Accounts Payable for processing.
What if I already have the invoice?
  • Departments MAY NOT independently place orders with vendors that equal or exceed $5,000. Invoices received for $5,000 or more that do not reference a purchase order number will not be processed for payment until the procuring department adequately justifies why proper purchasing procedures were not followed.  Insufficient justification may result in the ordering employee becoming personally liable for payment of the invoice.  Please contact the Purchasing immediately.
What if it is computer related?
  • University Procurement Cards may not be used to purchase computer hardware and accessories. Procurement cards cannot be used at Apple Stores, Apple.com or Best Buy.
  • Hardware
    • Before placing a purchase request review UWL's computer lifecycle management process(PDF). All campus technology hardware purchases should be made through the Campus Technology Purchasing page. By using this site you ensure your hardware is supported by ITS.
  • Please see Ordering Computer Technology at UWL for additional information.
  • Software purchases $1,500 or less
    • University procurement cards may be used to purchase most computer software $1,500 or less.  For assistance prior to purchase, please contact your ITS Eagle Help Desk Dedicated Support Specialist. 
  • Software purchases more than $1,500
    • Contact your ITS Eagle Help Desk Dedicated Support Specialist who will develop the order.  An email will be sent from the ITS Business Manager requesting necessary approvals and funding.  An order confirmation from ITS will be sent after the order is placed.
  • Computer peripherals

Departments can purchase other software developed by Adobe, Autodesk, IBM SPSS, Microsoft, Nuance and more at reduced prices from the Wisconsin Integrated Software Catalog (WISC) at www.wisc.edu/wisc.

Questions about WISC and the reduced cost licensing program? Please contact the DoIT help desk at the University of Wisconsin-Madison at 608.264.4357. 

Account Number:   The 4 digit code sometimes referred to as classification or “class” code that identifies revenue and expenses into categories like supplies (3100), capital equipment (4604), etc. This is our chart of accounts

Agreement:   A legally binding contract that states terms and conditions of a procurement between two or more parties. 

Auction Sales:   Process used to offer surplus property to the general public by open competition, which may be conducted by fax or sealed bid.

Back Orders:   When a stock item that is ordered is temporarily out of stock a back order is automatically created.

Badger State Industries Program:   Policy on procurement of BSI materials and services to establish mandatory bulletin release procedures.

Best Judgment Order:   A purchase order of $5,000 or less (excluding freight) that is created from a requisition for only that particular purchase.  Best judgment orders may not be used for blanket orders, maintenance agreements, printing services, radioactive materials or gas cylinders as well as other items listed on page 2 of the Purchase Requisition.

Blanker Purchase Order:   A purchase order issued to establish an account with a vendor or state agency to obtain miscellaneous supplies or services (e.g., laboratory supplies, repair parts) during a specified period of time.

Cancellation Order:   An order issued to cancel an existing purchase order when none of the items ordered are needed.

Certified Minority Business Enterprise:   A business certified by the Wisconsin Department of Development under s.560.036(2), Wis. Stats.

Change Order:   An order issued to change or modify an existing Purchase Order.

Check with Order:   Payment is mailed by Accounts Payable to the vendor following the Purchase Order.  This is generally prior to supplies or services being received.

Commercial Invoice:   A document communicating the seller's understanding of the nature of the agreement between the seller and buyer.  This document is used by service companies as a source of information about conditions of sale and transportation, and by foreign customs officer to establish duty.

Competitive Process:   A minimum of three qualified vendors are solicited to submit bids on a procurement on which they normally would be expected to bid.

Contract:   An established legally binding agreement between the University/State of Wisconsin and one or more vendors in which the vendor agrees to provide certain supplies or services at a specified price or at a discount from price list for a set period of time.

Contract Compliance Affirmative Action Program:   Committing the vendor to a program designed to achieve a balanced work force within a reasonable period of time.  It contains, at a minimum, a policy statement, work force analysis, program goals, internal monitoring system, and dissemination of the plan.

Contract Blanket Order:   A Blanket Purchase Order supported by a UW-Madison or UW System Contract, a State Procurement Bulletin, or a Governor's Waiver.

Contractor:   A vendor with whom the University/State has entered into a contract or negotiated an agreement.

Credit Memo:   Issued by a vendor to offset all or part of an invoice.

Direct Charge:   A payment for goods or services that are exempt from the normal purchasing procedures and can be paid directly through Accounts Payable. 

Emergency Purchase:   A purchase of goods or services needed to respond to an emergency.  An emergency situation is something which threatens public health, safety or welfare and in which all the following conditions exist: 1) was unforeseen; 2) calls for immediate action; 3) cannot be responded to using established procurement methods.  An emergency situation may also exist as the result of a proclamation by the Governor, under Wis. Stats. S.166.03(1)(b)1. PRINTING CANNOT BE PURCHASED USING EMERGENCY PURCHASING PROCEDURES.

Encumbrance:   An encumbrance is a restriction placed on the use of funds designating the funds for a specific future payment for goods or services.  This is done to ensure that there will be sufficient cash available to pay for the obligation.  An encumbrance is automatically created in WISDM as a result of a Purchase Order (PO).  Once an invoice is received by Accounts Payable and the payment is made, the encumbrance will be reduced by the amount paid.  Budget – Expenses – Encumbrances = Funds Available.

Exchange:   The return of all or part of a purchase to a vendor or manufacturer in exchange for replacement goods (e.g., defective or incorrect merchandise, error during the ordering process, or product not meeting departmental needs).

Exchange for Partial Credit:   An exchange except the replacement goods are of a lesser value than the original order or of the same value but in a quantity smaller than the original order.  The vendor will usually issue a credit memo.

Fragmenting of Purchases:   The intentional splitting of requisitions for like items or services in order to avoid the appropriate competitive process.  This differs from serial purchasing in that the fragmented purchases usually occur at the same time, and the items may not be identical, though they are related by project or commodity.  This is a prohibited practice.

Funding String:   This identifies a UWL financial account in WISDM.  It is the fund (3-digits), program (1-digit), and department (6-digits).  Sometimes this includes the account (4-digit) like 3100 for supplies as well.

Graphic Equipment:   Photocopiers (70 copies/minute or more) and floor-standing presses.

Illegal Purchase:   Any procurement action taken to obligate the University for goods or services without going through required purchasing procedures.

Invoice:   A request or bill for payment of item(s) shipped and/or services rendered with a detailed accounting of all charges and total amount due.

Junk Property:   Surplus property that has no intrinsic value and is disposed for minimum price or in lieu of transportation cost for removal from a UW-La Crosse site.

Maintenance Agreement:   A contract for repair or service of specified equipment, building equipment (i.e., elevators, furnaces) or non-consumable supply items.

Market Sensitive Equipment:   Equipment that has an established after market of brokers and dealers, and price is dependent on timing of the sale.  Example: desktop computers.

Minimum Requirements:   Basic needs identified by the department user.

Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Policy:   Minority Business enterprises are encouraged to respond to the state's procurement needs.  All efforts are made to identify and eliminate any procedural or technical impediments to full participation of minority business enterprises in state procurement.

Office Equipment:   University-owned equipment typically found in an office like microcomputers, typewriters, calculators, laboratory fixtures, etc.

Office Furniture:   University-owned furniture typically found in an office.  For example, desks, tables, chairs, file cabinets, etc..

Office Supplies:   Supply items typically used in an office and which are consumed (or lose their identity) in use.  Office supplies also may include durable, low cost items also used in offices, like staplers, calculators, etc..

Pro Forma Invoice:   An invoice provided by a supplier prior to shipment informing the buyer of the types and quantities of commodities being sent, value, and important specifications (weight, size etc.).

Public Funds:   All moneys deposited with the University regardless of source (e.g., state and federal funds, grants, contracts, donations).

Published Contract:   The terms, conditions, and pricing document published as a result of the award of a contract.

Purchase Order:  A Purchase Order (PO) is a form filled out by Purchasing after the receipt of a Purchase Requisition. Once complete, a copy is sent to the vendor that authorizes the supplier to deliver the goods or services identified on the PO. A copy is sent to the department as well. In WISDM, as a result of the PO creation, an encumbrance will be listed until payment is made.  This is the signed written acceptance of the offer from the vendor.  A Purchase Order serves as a legal and binding contract between both parties.

Purchase Requisition:  A Purchase Requisition is a form filled out by an employee, signed by the WISDM Manager, and submitted to Purchasing to request their department obtain certain goods or services. The form includes information about the nature and amount of the items to be acquired, and when they are needed. As a result, a Purchase Order (PO) is created by Purchasing and sent to the vendor with a copy to the department.

Real Property:   Land, buildings or any improvements to land.

Recent Quote On File:   Recent, e.g. three months, is determined by the professional judgment of the purchasing agent responsible for releasing the purchase order.  Considerations include, but are not limited to, the commodity(ies) being purchased and prevailing economic conditions.

Reciprocity Law:   To establish a listing of in-state preference practices of other states.

Recycling Program:   To define the procedures that agencies must follow in purchasing products with recycled content.

Serial Purchasing:   An illegal practice in which an individual/project orders directly or issues a series of requisitions to the same vendor for the same commodity or service without the benefit of simplified or sealed bidding.  This is also called split purchasing.

Services:   The furnishing of labor, incidental parts and materials by a vendor; not involving the delivery of a piece of equipment or a supply item.

Sheltered Work Center Program:   A charitable organization or nonprofit institution which is licensed under s. 104.07, and incorporated with the state or a unit of county government which is licensed under s. 104.07, and which is operated for the purpose of carrying out a program of rehabilitation for severely handicapped individuals and for providing the individuals with remunerative employment or other occupational rehabilitating activity of an educational or therapeutic nature, and which is engaged in the production of materials, supplies or equipment or the performance of contractual services in connection with which not less that 75% of the total hours of direct labor are performed by severely handicapped individuals.

Signatory Authority:   Authority delegated by the Department of Administration allowing specified individuals to legally bind the university as related to procurements. Current signature authority can be found here.

Simplified Bidding:   A method used when the estimated cost of a transaction is more than $1,500 and less than $50,000 to obtain at least three competitive price quotes.

Small Business:   A business which has had less than $1.5 million in gross annual sales in the most recent calendar or fiscal year. In general, minority businesses are considered to be small businesses.

Software License:   A written contract between the university and a provider of computer software.  The license usually describes the terms for how the software is legally used and copied and includes non-disclosure language.  The license may cover the types of software evaluation or development needed in return for grants (donations) of computer equipment.

Split Purchases:   The practice of issuing a series of orders to the same vendor for the same item or service in order to avoid the appropriate competitive procurement process.  This is a prohibited practice.

State Property:   All materials, supplies, and equipment of a state agency, regardless of value (not real property).

Supplies:   Customarily, items consumed or expended in the course of being used.  This does not include construction, services, capital equipment, and printing.

Surplus Property:   State property that is in excess of department needs, no longer in use by the department, technically or mechanically obsolete, no longer functioning, or has no intrinsic value (junk). This does not include real property.

Temporary Help:   Professional or nonprofessional services contracted for to supplement state employee efforts, on a temporary basis, such as clerical, word processing, data processing, labor, maintenance or support services.

UDDS:   An accounting acronym for Unit, Division, Department, Sub-Department used to designate a particular organizational unit within the UW System.  This is called Department in WISDM, our general ledger.

Vendor:   A supplier of goods or services.

Waiver:   A process with adequate prior justification which allows a purchase to be made without competitive bidding.

Purchasing contact

Amanda King Profile of Amanda King
Purchasing Director
118 Graff Main Hall
aking@uwlax.edu
608.785.8724
Specialty areas: Division of Student Affairs