Purchasing Procedures | Wittenberg University

Purchasing Procedures

Purchases made on behalf of Wittenberg University must be properly initiated by a Purchasing Card or through a Purchase Requisition (PR) prior to placing any order.

Purchasing Card

Upon request, and with supervisor's approval, purchasing cards may be issued to faculty and staff. Cardholders must adhere to all spending limits, record-keeping requirements and restrictions. Training is mandatory before receipt of card. Most cardholders will be authorized to spend $750/transaction, $5,000/month. PURCHASING CARD FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Purchase Requisition

For purchases in excess of limits on credit cards, departments must submit a Purchase Requisition to the Purchasing Office. In addition to evaluating the purchase, the Purchasing Office will review the departmental account to ensure the availability of funds prior to making any commitment on behalf of Wittenberg. The Purchase Requisition must always contain a complete description of the item(s) requested, the price or estimate for each item, the account number to charge, and the appropriate signature. For all requests up to $5,000, the Purchase Requisition must be signed by a Director or Associate Director. Purchase Requisitions over $10,000 must be approved in advance by the Vice President or Executive Staff member from the area making the request. All Purchase Requisitions in excess of $25,000 must also be approved by the Vice President for Business and Administration. All purchases and/or projects in excess of $250,000 must have Board approval.

All purchases over specified spending authority must be approved in advance via a Wittenberg University Requisition. When you do not know the exact final cost of an order, you may submit a Requisition noting the amount is an estimate or approximate cost. Items received directly by the department for which there is no prior authorization are the financial responsibility of the individual who placed the order. Wittenberg University is not obligated to honor any purchasing commitments made by its faculty or staff if a purchase order has not been issued or a P-Card provided in advance of placing an order with a vendor. After review and final approval of the Requisition, the Purchasing Office will issue a Purchase Order to the most appropriate vendor.

Check Requests

Check Requests may be used to request payment of honoraria and stipends. They may also be used for selected purchases for which the vendor does not accept a credit card. Examples include membership fees, conference registrations, and subscriptions or publications.

Personal Reimbursement

Purchasing Cards and Purchase Requisitions are designed to balance the departmental need for flexibility and convenience with the institution's need for accountability and responsible stewardship of resources. With appropriate planning, there should be few (if any) occasions requiring a faculty or staff member to use personal funds to complete a transaction in behalf of the University. Requests for personal reimbursement will be carefully reviewed.

Blanket Purchase Orders

Blanket Purchase Orders will be used by the Purchasing Office for projects or annual services in which there will be recurring and varying purchases from a particular vendor over a period of time. Use of Blanket Purchase Orders allows the estimated expenses to be encumbered immediately and also reduces paperwork. However, Blanket Purchase Orders may not be used when it may be more cost effective to obtain competitive pricing as needs arise.

Change Order

Changes to any Purchase Order may only be made with the mutual consent of both Wittenberg University and the vendor. The originating department must send an email to Karen Lotz at klotz@wittenberg.edu requesting the change and providing a brief explanation.

Vendor Selection

For purchases exceeding $750, the following steps must be followed to ensure competitive pricing and satisfactory service levels. The department may elect to act on the following guidelines themselves or may request that the Purchasing Office do so:

  • Up to $7,500: Pricing and terms from three vendors must be obtained, verbally or in writing, and be clearly documented.
  • $7,501 - $20,000: Written quotes must be obtained from at least three vendors. In many cases, specifications from the using department should be part of the request for quotes or proposals. The Purchasing Office can assist the department with designing specifications.
  • $20,001 - Up: Written specifications must be drawn. A formal Request for Quote or Proposal should be sent to at least three vendors. A Request for Quote or Proposal may be designed in an open-ended manner allowing for further negotiation with select vendors.
  • Sole-Sourcing: Although care must be taken to avoid so narrowly defining a need that all alternatives are not explored, there may be circumstances in which only one vendor is available to provide the needed goods/service. Such circumstances must be documented on the Purchase Requisition and are subject to review by the Purchasing Office.
  • Partnering: In order to take advantage of vendor expertise and to maximize mutually beneficial relationships, vendor partnerships are encouraged. This is particularly true when quality and/or service levels are of utmost importance. Partnering is acceptable after the competitive status and service level of a vendor has been established using the above guidelines and the University's experience with that vendor. Although partnering eliminates the need to obtain additional competitive pricing every time a purchase is needed, the partnering relationship should be periodically tested using the above guidelines for quotes and proposals. All partnering relationships must be documented and are subject to review by the Purchasing Office.

If a department has asked the Purchasing Office to obtain vendor and cost information, a bid summary and recommendation will be sent to the department. If the department prefers to award an order to other than the recommended bidder, a brief note of explanation must accompany the Purchase Requisition. If the department has obtained all vendor and pricing data themselves, that information must be attached to the Purchase Requisition when it is submitted to the Purchasing Office. All vendor and price decisions are subject to review and action by the Director of Purchasing.

Supplier or Billing Disputes

In the event of a billing or shipping error, the department or initiator should notify the vendor. When discussing the problem with the vendor, be sure to specify the corrections desired. If the office is unable to get satisfactory results, the Purchasing Department is available to assist in arriving at a mutually agreeable resolution.

Shipping Address

The central receiving address for all Wittenberg University deliveries:

Wittenberg University
Department Contact, Department Name
225 N. Fountain Avenue
Springfield, OH 45504

Contract Signatures

A properly authorized Purchase Order constitutes a contract which is binding on both Wittenberg and the supplier. Some vendors may also require contracts or agreements. Such documents may only be signed by the Vice President for Business and Administration or his designee.

Conflict of Interest

Transactions on behalf of Wittenberg are to be conducted on a highly ethical basis. Purchasing decisions must not be influenced by the self-interest on the part of any employee. In order that conflicts, or the appearance of conflicts, are avoided, Wittenberg employees who have authority to initiate or approve Purchase Requisitions must disclose to the Vice President for Business and Administration any outside relationships for review and final determination. Examples include: additional employment elsewhere, business or personal relationships with vendors, or a family member's employment.

In addition, it will be necessary for all Board members, members of the Executive Staff and selected administrative personnel to complete a Conflict of Interest questionnaire periodically through the independent audit engagement. The results of this questionnaire will be reported independently by the auditors to the Audit Committee.

All University employees must exercise caution in accepting gifts from vendor(s). The acceptance of occasional and/or complimentary tokens of appreciation does not necessarily constitute a conflict of interest. Examples of such items may include a complementary calendar, a Christmas fruit basket or box of candy, a publication, writing implement or business-related lunch. However, in all cases, prudent judgment must be used in deciding whether to accept any gift. The acceptance of a gift must in no way impact, or appear to impact, the nature of the business relationship between the University and the vendor. If in doubt, it is best to decline the gift.

Personal Purchases

The Purchasing Office will not approve any transaction for purchases of a personal nature for a faculty or staff member. Requisitions which appear to be of a personal nature will be questioned and will be returned to the originating department if deemed inappropriate. Wittenberg business is conducted on a tax exempt basis. Any person using this tax exempt status for personal business transactions violates the law.

Use of Fiscal Year

When the fiscal year closing of June 30 approaches, purchases will be subject to consistent and appropriate review in terms of account charges. Goods and services will be charged to the budget year in which it was physically received at the University. In the event a buying pattern is established that is necessary to support our program efforts, but for which the Rule of Receipt may not be appropriate, the Rule of Consistency will apply. The Rule of Consistency considers annual buying patterns as well as the year for which the purchased items are to be put in actual use.

Technology Purchases

Departments are to contact Information Technology Services when considering the purchase of any audio visual or computing equipment.

Ethical Principals

Wittenberg supports the purchasing standards established by the National Association of Educational Procurement:

  • Give first consideration to the objectives and policies of my institution.
  • Strive to obtain the maximum value for each dollar of expenditure.
  • Decline personal gifts or gratuities.
  • Grant all competitive suppliers equal consideration insofar as state or federal statute and institutional policy permit.
  • Conduct business with potential and current suppliers in an atmosphere of good faith, devoid of intentional misrepresentation.
  • Demand honesty in sales representation whether offered through the medium of a verbal or written statement, an advertisement, or a sample of the product.
  • Receive consent of originator of proprietary ideas and designs before using them for competitive purchasing purposes.
  • Make every reasonable effort to negotiate an equitable and mutually agreeable settlement of any controversy with a supplier; and/or be willing to submit any major controversies to arbitration or other third party review, insofar as the established policies of my institution permit.
  • Cooperate with trade, industrial and professional associations, and with governmental and private agencies for the purposes of promoting and developing sound business methods.
  • Accord a prompt and courteous reception, insofar as conditions permit, to all who call on legitimate business missions.
  • Foster fair, ethical and legal trade practices.
  • Counsel and cooperate with National Association of Educational Buyers members and promote a spirit of unity and a keen interest in professional growth among them.

Spending Authority

Department Heads and Program Directors are authorized to purchase goods/services up to the amount established by the Business Office and not in excess of the maximum limits approved by the Board of Directors. Regardless of funding source, the University Purchasing policies and Procedures apply to all transactions for which payment from Wittenberg University is expected by the vendor or individual. Additional requirements may also be imposed per the terms and conditions of various federal programs and grants.

For small purchases and/or for travel (hotel, airlines, car rental and restaurants), a University Purchasing Card may be used at the time the purchase is made. Splitting a transaction in order to bypass individual spending authority is prohibited.

Only the Purchasing Office can authorize purchases above the dollar limits placed on Purchasing Cards. Purchases in excess of these limits (typically $750) may be requested through the Purchasing Office, using a Purchase Requisition.

Purchase Requisitions are internal requests for goods/services. These cannot be used to place an order with a vendor. Although departments are allocated funds in their budgets, this allocation is only an authority to requisition, not to purchase.

The Purchasing Office has the authority to evaluate all Purchase Requisitions on the basis of appropriateness of purchase, availability of funds, vendor selections, cost, service level, etc. Only Purchase Orders prepared and issued by the Purchasing Office may be used to place an order with a vendor.

Failure by an individual or department to adhere to all purchasing policies and procedures may result in loss of authority to initiate Purchase Requisitions. Also, personal financial responsibility may result if purchases are made disregarding University policy.

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