Bidding Procedures and Policies
Fairfield University Purchasing Department is committed to serving the University community with the timely and cost effective procurement of services. This is accomplished through product knowledge, competitive bidding negotiation of special agreements and contracts, and monitoring vendor performance. All of these serve to maximize the University purchasing power.
The primary objective of the Purchasing Department is to purchase goods and services at the acceptable quality, quantity, at the right price, from the appropriate source in the most efficient manner.
Responsibilities Associated with these Objectives are:
- To develop and maintain sources of supply for all goods and services meeting the University needs.
- To maintain and promote compatible business relationships with vendors and the community in general.
- To foster harmonious working relations between the Purchasing Department and other University departments
- To recommend to potential university customers/users any new products and/or services that may aid the customer/user in the performance of their duties.
- To acquaint relevant University customers/users of market conditions and impact prices and/or availability of the goods and services they purchase.
- To periodically review University purchasers to assure user needs are optimally met by the goods and services purchased.
- To insure all purchases are made in accordance with prevailing statutes regulations, policies and procedures.
Selection of Vendors
Vendors are selected for their capability to serve the needs of the University by providing quality products in the most economical and efficient manner possible. Past performance is an important factor.
Group Purchasing and Consortium Affiliations
The Purchasing department is a member of several Consortium University purchasing groups; we also have the ability to purchase goods and services from existing state contracts and contracts that are established with major companies. This helps us to obtain products and services on short notice and stay within the guidelines of the bidding process (discussed below). Through these groups, bidding is done and is based on a larger volume so this becomes cost effective for us when we are purchasing smaller volume purchases.
- A sole source purchase is one where goods or services required can only be obtained from a single source vendor. This situation makes it impossible to obtain competitive bids and it should be avoided whenever possible. However since Consortium affiliations are established this will help the University in achieving its goal which is obtain the best price.
- The selection of a vendor shall be made on a competitive basis whenever possible. However, it is recognized that there are circumstances where one source may have exclusive capability to provide certain goods or services. These may include vendor experience, specialized facilities, technical competence, or occasionally, usually in cases of emergency purchases, availability. This procedure does not apply to utilities or construction contractors.
- When a sole source specification is submitted, the Director of Purchasing may require support documentation from the requisitioning department as to why it is essential that it should be purchased in preference to another item.
Purchases of goods and services with an estimated total value of $2,500 or greater will require competitive bidding. When competitive bids are required the Purchasing department will request the bids and handle all aspects of the bid process. The vendors that are chosen for any and all bids will be selected by having successfully provided previous service to the University and any new companies will be pre-qualified by the Purchasing department.
Requests for Bids, Quotations or Proposals
Competitive quotations, bids or proposals are solicited by the Purchasing department in accordance with the guidelines listed below. Purchasing should be notified before soliciting quotations, bids or proposals. In the bid or proposal, all information should accompany the requisition. It is however, in the best interest of the University to assure that all vendors are treated in a fair and impartial manner, and to avoid favoritism and/or conflicts of interest. This makes it essential that the Purchasing department be the main contact with all vendor representatives.
Guidelines for Vendor Contact:
- Purchasing will review with the requesting department the particular product or service needed. Purchasing can also assist in developing a procurement plan for the department.
- The department should plan to discuss their needs with multiple vendors when time permits. This can be achieved with the help and guidance of the Purchasing department. Information gathering may reveal alternatives or other important data related to the planned purchase.
- All vendors should be given like information of the need so each will have an equal opportunity to compete. Not providing equal information can be construed as showing favoritism or misrepresentation. It should be recognized that responsible business relationships can be maintained only on a structure of honesty and fairness.
- Discuss all aspects of the need i.e.: what happens after the department owns the purchase. Consider the life cycle approach which includes: length of warranty, cost of maintenance, supplies, training, and repair costs after warranty, and/or response time if required for repair. The cost of the equipment or goods may be insignificant compared to these "hidden" costs over the life of the product.
Competitive bidding will be secured in accordance with the following guidelines:
For purchases totaling $2,500 or more, a minimum of three written quotations will be solicited. All bids will be submitted to and opened by the Purchasing department on the due date, or not more than three days after the bid is due. The Director of Purchasing will review the bids and the awarding of the bid will take place after reviewing all outcomes with the requesting department. Bids, if the occasion arises, will have a final review as well by the Vice President for Finance and Administration. The bid may be awarded not necessarily on price alone, but on availability of product and the time frame that is required based on the needs of the requesting department. For bids that require architectural drawings, these drawings must be presented and included with the appropriate bids. The solicitations of three bids are needed unless one of the following conditions exists:
- When, in the judgment of the Director of Purchasing or Department Head, insufficient time exists to obtain written quotations from three or more sources but sufficient time does exist to obtain verbal quotations. In such cases, written confirmations will be requested.
- When prompt delivery is the most important factor or when an emergency exists.
- When fewer than three sources are available and it is so documented that this is the case.
- When the choice of vendor is based on previous competitive bids and experiences with this vendor, and substantiated by periodic quotations. This will be done only by the Director of Purchasing.
- If National, State, and Consortium group purchasing contracts are in place in the Purchasing department for the products or equipment that is being purchased.