Purchasing Handbook

1.00 Procurement Authority and Regulations

1.01 Procurement Authority

The procurement of supplies, materials, equipment, and services necessary for the operation of the University is the responsibility of the Office of Strategic Procurement. This responsibility has been delegated to the Chief Procurement Officer by the Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services and the Treasurer, in accordance with Resolution 84-59 of the Board of Trustees of Miami University.
No individual has the authority to enter into a contract for the purchase of goods or services, or otherwise obligate Miami University to purchase indebtedness, without at least one of the following:

  • A resolution of the Board of Trustees; or,
  • A specific delegation by the Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services in writing and on file with the Secretary of the University; or,
  • A Purchase Order (PO) or other contract instrument issued by or under the direction of the Chief Procurement Officer.

Negotiations conducted or commitments made without such authority do not obligate the University, but are the personal responsibility of the individual making the commitment.

Expenditures from all accounts, regardless of its source, are considered University funds and shall be administered in accordance with applicable University policy.

1.02 Methods of Procurement

Purchases for goods and services may be initiated by one of four methods: a Buyway Catalog, a Purchase Order, a Contract, or by Purchasing Card.

Buyway provides easy access to multiple supplier catalogs with University-negotiated pricing, and a comprehensive workflow tool for electronic purchase approvals.

A PO or contract is issued prior to any commitment made for the purchase of goods or providing of services, and is presented to the vendor or service provider at the time the purchase is made or contract is arranged. The Office of Strategic Procurement will not issue POs or contracts after the fact to cover commitments.

Purchasing Cards are intended for departmental use to conduct small dollar procurement needs and are to be used in accordance with P-Card Policy and Procedures

In addition, it is specifically discouraged for employees to process requisitions for personal reimbursement of university supplies and/or services unless under the most extreme circumstances.

1.03 Methods of Payment

Invoice – The preferred method to request payment is via an invoice submitted from the vendor, individual, or service provider and that is made with reference to a PO or Contract. Invoice payment requests where there is no Purchase Order in place or created before services has been rendered, or created after the fact will be denied. The “No PO No Pay” policy compliance will be monitored.

Prepayment – State statutes generally prohibit the University from making payment prior to receipt of merchandise or rendering of service. Routine prepayments are limited to those defined by the P-Card Policy and Procedures. When using the P-Card for prepayment, “proof of price” must be provided. This may be an order form, letter from the vendor, copy of an advertisement, copy of a catalog page, or a price list. Requestors should ensure that proof of price is current, and includes any shipping charges. Other prepayments will be authorized when required to complete a transaction that is clearly advantageous to the University. See direct pay and pro-forma invoice.

Pro-Forma Invoice – There may be instances when a pre-payment is required and a pro-forma invoice is issued. The circumstances requiring pre-payment via pro-forma invoice may include for example, the purchase of equipment or software, travel bookings, and construction projects. The use of a pro-forma invoice should be in conjunction with a PO or Contract and defined by the payment terms and conditions. Final authority to approve a pro-forma invoice will be made on a case-by-case basis with concurrence from the Office of Strategic Procurement.

Direct Pay – The following transactions are approved for processing on Direct Pay requisitions:

  1. Invoices submitted by a supplier against a contract entered into and approved by the Office of Strategic Procurement where there is no confirming PO
  2. Invoices submitted without a PO or contractual commitment and the payment initiates the authorization for work to proceed
    • These types of transactions will be reviewed and approved on a case-by case basis by the Office of Strategic Procurement
  3. Invoices submitted by a supplier who cannot accept a PO
    • Books and periodicals ordered from publishers or other subscription sources that cannot accept POs
    • Miscellaneous small orders up to $1500 for publications, reprints, information, etc. from other universities, government agencies, etc., that cannot accept POs
  4. Other transaction types approved in advance by the Chief Procurement Officer

Confirming Direct Pay Request requisitions for purchases or contracts that were not approved in advance by the Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services or by the Chief Procurement Officer will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis for acceptance as an obligation of Miami University. Such requisitions are subject to rejection where the transaction violates state or local policy or where the materials or services were available from existing contracts.

1.04 Miami Buyway

Buyway is a University-wide e-procurement system adminstered by the Office of Strategic Procurement. Buyway is provided by SciQuest/Jaggaer, and is fully integrated with Banner. Miami Buyway is an online marketplace for purchasing goods and services at Miami University. Miami Buyway combines the use of Internet technology with procurement best practices to simplify the purchasing process and reduce costs.
Buyway is used to submit requisitions, issue POs and change orders, pay invoices, and request other payments. It consists of various tools to facilitate these processes including adding attachments, and providing catalogs and forms for specific use.

  • Attachments – substantiating documentation, as applicable, must be included with requests i.e. quotes, insurance certifications, worker’s compensation.
  • Forms – there are forms pre-built in Buyway to assist the end user or requester with various tasks, such as making an IT purchase request, routing a contract for signature, setting up a new vendor, or requesting a PO change.
  • Catalogs – vendor catalogs are set-up in Buyway for the end user or requester to use for selecting goods or services to purchase. These catalogs represent negotiated pricing through a competitive bid process, and are underwritten by a contract that Miami University is party to.

Instructions on how to use Miami Buyway are available by login to the application and accessing the user guide. Login via Buyway.

Budget and Special Approvals

A minimum approval process is required for requests entered into Miami Buyway. In general, budget approvals may consist of up to three levels or more of approval based on the total dollar amount of the request. The dollar amount set for each level of approval may vary department by department depending on specific needs or requirements of the department. The Dean or Chair of the department appoints the individuals who will be making budget approvals on behalf of the department and provides this information to the Controller’s Office where budget approval queues are maintained.

In addition to budget approvals, special approvals may be required for requests. Special approvals may be determined by the type of good or service being requested and are put in place jointly by the Office of Strategic Procurement and special approver. The special approvals provide additional review points, such as for functional fit and acceptance (i.e. Accessibility), or for specific subject matter review (i.e. Information Security), that may not be common knowledge of the end user, requester, or budget approver in their day-to-day activities.

Approvers have the responsibility to understand the request they are being asked to approve and should review corresponding information to ensure the following: budgets are met, the good or service being purchased meets the business requirements needed, and policy and procedures have been followed.

The approval process allows for delegation of authority where appropriate. The requirements do not permit the signing (or digital approval) of authorized individuals' names by other individuals.

P-Card transaction approvals are defined at the P-Card application process, which requires the department head and vice-president/dean’s authorization. These transactional approvers are maintained by the Accounts Payable office through the credit card company’s online tool.

A travel reimbursement request requires the approval of the traveler’s supervisor, department head, or assigned proxy approver. These approval queues are maintained by the Accounts Payable department in the travel and expense application. See Accounts Payable site for instructions regarding travel reimbursement.

1.05 Delivery/Receiving

Offices ordering small packages will receive departmental delivery from UPS, FedEx, or university mail services. Small package orders via Miami Buyway, P-Card, and any small package orders not associated with a PO should include an accurate delivery addresses. The University has a set of predetermined mail stop codes to use for delivery. If the package cannot be delivered properly, it may be returned to the sender and additional shipping fees may be assessed. Any large motor freight items will be shipped to Central Receiving (in Cole Service Building), unless other provisions have been made with the vendor and carrier.

Upon delivery, the requestor should perform the following procedures:

  1. Check that items on the packing slips are accounted for, and that nothing is damaged.
  2. Save packing slips and file per document retention policy.
  3. If there is damage, save cartons and packaging.
  4. Contact the seller / vendor promptly regarding problem(s).
  5. If an invoice is available to review, check the items against the invoice. If there is a discrepancy, notify Accounts Payable to hold payment, and contact the vendor on correction procedures.

1.06 Commodity Purchases Made Outside of Miami Buyway

Certain goods or services are available to purchase outside of Miami Buyway to facilitate standardization practices, branding standards, and adherence to University or state policy that would otherwise be difficult to address. The following list of products or services may be ordered via the methods described below.

Business Cards, Envelopes, Letterhead - The University has adopted a standardized format to be used for business cards, envelope return addresses, and letterhead stationery. Use of this format is mandatory for departments. Campus Services provides for the production and distribution of business cards by online ordering system at Printing at Miami.

Cell Phones - For information regarding the purchase of cell phones and plans, please visit the Campus Services MiTech Cellular website.

Software Store – The software store contains a collection of applications available for purchase and installation on Miami owned computers as well as free downloads for institutional computers and personal computers. Visit the store at https://software.miamioh.edu/store/.

1.07 Change Orders

Occasionally an order must be changed after issuance. It is important from a contract/accounting viewpoint, and for the protection of the parties, that a written PO change be issued to reflect the modified order. Requestors should not initiate, accept, or approve changes to a PO or contract without the Office of Strategic Procurement’s concurrence. Change orders will be requested and processed within Miami Buyway.

1.08 Contracts and Contracting

The University contracting processes focus on protecting University interests in the creation and execution of agreements that are consistent and compliant with requesting units’ needs, University policies, and state and federal laws. A contract creates a legally enforceable obligation between the parties to the contract. A contract may be titled a ‘master service agreement’, ‘memorandum of understanding’, ‘letter of intent’, or other name. Regardless of name, contracts are routed for review and signed by an authorized signatory of the University.

For most tangible goods purchases, the only tool needed is the Purchase Order, which serves as a contract as it contains the University's Terms and Conditions. Contracts are typically required for:

  • services on-site and off-site
  • made-to-order goods
  • leases/rentals (vehicles, facilities, real estate, equipment)
  • software
  • group events/catering
  • group lodging
  • charters

When to engage the Office of Strategic Procurement:

  • a supplier provides their contract
  • a template cannot be used
  • a quote has terms attached
  • a quote requires a University signature

If any of the above situations apply, route the document via the contract routing form available in Miami Buyway before any service work is performed for the University.

In order to keep track of the progress of a contract, the Office of Strategic Procurement requires the use of the Contract Routing and Approval form within Miami Buyway. This will allow requesting units to monitor the workflow of the contract.

Departments should plan ahead and allow time for the supplier and the University to review and execute the contract. Requesting units can help speed up the contracting process by

  • Using a Preferred Supplier as these suppliers already have agreements and insurance in place with the University
  • Obtaining a complete W9 if a new supplier must be added
  • Obtaining Certificates of Insurance and Workers Compensation as needed
  • Ensuring that documentation provided during the process is complete, has been reviewed by the requesting unit, and unacceptable contact language has been removed or modified per University requirements. This streamlines the review process, as the supplier will not need to be contacted to redo a document.

Contracting terms that cannot be accepted by the University and should be removed or modified on the contract:

Indemnification is a method of shifting responsibility for loss from one party to another when dealing with the claims of a third party. A provision requiring indemnification by the University is likely unconstitutional under Ohio law as thoroughly explained in Ohio Attorney General (OAG) Opinion 96-060. The Ohio Constitution (Article II, Section 22) and Ohio Revised Code require that any appropriation or financial obligation incurred by the University specify a maximum dollar amount and limit that obligation to the duration of the current biennium (2 year fiscal period). Indemnification clauses typically create a contingent liability that is uncertain as to amount and time and, as such, may occur beyond the biennium. As explained in OAG Opinion 05-007, the insertion of the language “to the extent permitted by applicable law” does not render an indemnification clause enforceable.

Jurisdiction defines the state whose laws will govern the transaction between Miami and the supplier. Venue or forum refers to the particular court before which any dispute will be brought. If the contract makes reference to the laws of any state other than Ohio, it is not acceptable.

Confidentiality statements in contracts are a means to keep information private and may define a way to mitigate a breach of confidentiality. Miami University is a public institution and as such, certain of its records are available for public review under the Ohio Public Records Act (Ohio R.C. 149.43 et seq.). Therefore, Miami cannot agree to hold information confidential.

Additional resources on contracting and signature authority can be found at the Office of General Counsel.

Once the contract language is agreed upon by the parties, the contract is signed and the requesting unit is authorized to proceed. Contracts submitted in Miami Buyway for routing and signature are ultimately archived by the Office of Strategic Procurement.

Contracts entered into for construction projects or other physical facilities improvements are managed by the Physical Facilities Department with consultation by the General Counsel’s Office and the Office of Strategic Procurement. There are very specific requirements for construction and renovation projects and such activities are to be coordinated by the aforementioned offices. In general, projects that include physical alteration to Miami owned property will be managed by a Physical Facility project manager who will conduct the necessary bidding processes and supervise the work, with General Counsel and Purchasing oversight.

Certain contract agreement types are not routed through the Office of Strategic Procurement, and should follow those procedures as defined by the department with oversight:

Articulation, affiliation, and other similar agreements where no money is exchanged except for tuition agreements and/or waivers, are routed through Miami Buyway using the Non-Financial Academic Contract Routing form and administered by the Division of Academic Affairs.

Externally funded grants or contracts are entered and submitted through the Cayuse eSPA system through the OARS.

Agreements for gifts and scholarships are worked through the requesting units’ University Advancement representative.

Contracts are subject to the University’s Records Retention Policy.

1.09 Approval Signatures

Pursuant to Section IV, Section 14.1 of the Miami University Board of Trustees Regulations (the “Regulations”), no agreement may be signed by an employee of University unless such employee is authorized by the Board of Trustees or the Regulations. In accordance with the authority granted to them under Article IV, Section 14.8 of the Regulations, the President, the Provost, and the Sr. Vice President for Finance and Business Services may delegate all or some of their authority to other officers or employees of University, which delegation is memorialized in the Signature Authorities chart. Individuals who have been delegated authority to enter contracts on behalf of the University as authorized by the Board of Trustees and the Regulations may not sub-delegate their authority to any other person.

Given the above, the University has a uniform, minimum signature requirement for the approval of all requisitions, P-Card statements, travel reimbursement requests, and personal reimbursement requests. Any purchase commitment or transaction as described above must be approved and signed by authorized individuals in accordance with this policy. See the Approval Requirements for Requisitions.

1.10 Purchasing Transactions Related to Grants or Sponsored Programs

Special procurement requirements often apply to purchasing transactions under a federal award or other sponsored program. In cases where the terms of the grant or contract are more restrictive than the university’s policy, those terms shall govern. In cases where the limitations imposed are less restrictive, the university’s policy shall apply.

1.11 Independent Contractor

Departments often engage the services of individuals who are not employees of the University, including independent contractors, guest lecturers, entertainers, suppliers, and others. It is important to correctly classify independent contractors and employees to ensure the appropriate compensation method and tax obligation.

The independent contractor policy sets out the criteria that define independent contractors and the required procedures to correctly classify and pay them.

For information related to the guidelines and requirements for engaging an Independent Contractor, please review the independent contractor policy located on the independent contractor webpage.

1.12 Regional Campus Purchasing

The Office of Strategic Procurement is responsible for regional campus procurement and the policies and procedures outlined in this handbook are fully applicable to the Miami regional campuses. Procurement Cards for small orders are issued by the appropriate offices at the respective campuses. Emergency Purchase Order authorization must be sought from the Chief Procurement Officer.

1.13 Student Organization Purchasing

For details related to student organization purchasing refer to the office of the Controller website on Student Organizations.

1.14 University Stores

Physical Facilities operates an outsourced Central Stores model where MRO supplies are stored on campus after being purchased in wholesale quantities. The goods are then distributed from Central Stores and charged to departments. The inventory of MRO is significant, and departments must use University Stores as the primary source for these items. Maintenance supplies are available from the Storeroom, Cole Service Building. Inventory items are issued by interdepartmental charge. A valid Banner Index code must be provided at the time of sale. Monthly itemized statements showing items issued and amounts charged are furnished to departments, with the corresponding summary charge appearing on the departments' monthly accounting reports.

1.15 Conflict of Interest

Ohio’s Ethics Law recognizes that faculty and staff may be in a position to make or influence decisions that directly affect their personal interests. The guiding principle of the Ohio’s Ethics Law is to prevent a public employee, including faculty and staff members, from participating in matters that involve the public employee’s own financial interest or those of his family or business associates.

The specific sections of the Ohio Revised Code that are likely to affect Miami University employees are:

  • Ohio R.C. 102.04(B) prohibits public University employees from selling or agreeing to sell, except through competitive bidding, goods or services to the University, General Assembly, or any agency or institution of the state, excluding the courts. Again, there is a provision for exemption from the prohibition in some circumstances if the public employee files a disclosure statement, copies of which may be obtained from the Ohio Ethics Commission.
  • Ohio R.C. 2921.42(A)(1) and (2) prohibit a public University employee from authorizing or employing the authority or influence of his or her employment to secure any public contract or public investment in which the employee, a member of the employee’s family, or any of the employee’s business associates, has an interest.
  • Ohio R.C. 2921.42(A)(3) prohibits a public University employee from participating for profit in the prosecution of a public contract authorized by him or her as a public employee.
  • Ohio R.C. 2921.42(A)(4) and (5) prohibit public University employees from having any interest in a contract entered into by the University; or having an interest in any contract with any other state agency or institution which is not let by competitive bidding and which involves more than $150.00. There are exceptions to these prohibitions, which are quite detailed. For further assistance, the Ohio Ethics Commission should be contacted.

See the Miami University Policy Library's Conflict of Interest for a statement on conflicts of interest related to purchasing transactions. Whenever employees have any doubts about whether an activity may involve a conflict of interest or conflict of commitment, they are expected to consult with the University General Counsel, who serves as the Chief Ethics Officer. Questions on matters involving sponsored research conflicts of interest, should be directed to the Associate Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School.

1.16 Personal Purchases

Ohio Law makes it improper for employees to use their influence to solicit or accept anything of value, or to receive any compensation (defined as money, thing of value, or financial benefit) for their work in the institution other than the remuneration provided by the institution. As such, it is improper for faculty or staff to do any of the following:

Use the University procurement system as a conduit to order, pay for, then reimburse the University for personal purchases;

Order in the name of the University then make personal payment to the vendor for items or services received; or

Solicit University contractors to sell to them, or perform services for them, at prices or fees more favorable than those available to other individuals.

Additionally, University funds may not be used to upgrade or repair personally owned computers or other equipment, even if such items are used by employees in the performance of their job duties.

Several University contracts with microcomputer manufacturers or suppliers do include personal purchases at educational discounts by students, faculty, and staff. Any personal sales authorized in this manner are handled through the University Bookstore, Shriver Center.

1.17 Vendor On-Site Requirements

Services where a vendor performs work on a Miami campus, except major construction, encompass a broad range of types and categories. Whenever there is a need from departments such as, Physical Facilities Department (PFD), IT Service, Campus Services, etc. to initiate a request for services that include some kind of physical work to be performed on campus, including work on grounds, buildings, equipment, or any other physical work, the university needs to be protected from accidental injury, property damage, or other risks.

The vendor is responsible for carrying Worker's Compensation Insurance for its employees and providing a valid certificate of coverage to Miami in advance of coming on campus.

The vendor is also required to provide a certificate of insurance, naming Miami University as additional insured for:

  1. General liability, fire liability, and media, data and/or cyber liability insurance in a minimum amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence and $3,000,000 in the aggregate covering its activities on campus;
  2. Commercial automobile liability insurance in a minimum amount of $1,000,000 per occurrence and in the aggregate.

1.18 Vendor Presentations

The University receives numerous requests from vendors and manufacturers to allow them to hold demonstrations on campus, typically for the general information of University departments, staff, and/or students. While it is important that departments retain the freedom to meet with vendors, view their products, and learn of new processes and technologies, the University cannot sponsor or favor individual vendors and/or provide sales assistance, except where exclusive contracts have been awarded for the benefit of the University.

1.19 Surplus Property

Surplus material disposal covers the proper disposal of property, including the sale, donation, scrapping, or other disposal in accordance with University policy, the Ohio Revised Code and applicable federal laws, regulations, and guidelines. Surplus property is defined as ‘equipment, furniture, and other materials/supplies’ no longer needed or in active use by the University.

The Office of Strategic Procurement has been designated as the responsible department for the administration and disposal of items, which are no longer needed or usable by Miami University.

The method by which property is obtained does not affect the means of disposal. Whether the property is purchased with restricted funds, grant monies, gift monies, or is an outright gift, it is the property of Miami University.

The following are prescribed methods of disposal:

For the disposal of capital and non-capital moveable assets, the University has contracted with a firm to provide a public auction solution for disposal. Information and instruction on using the public auction is available via login to Miami Buyway.

Equipment trade-in may be used when purchasing a replacement item. The department must document the trade-in on the purchase order for the replacement item, and retire the asset in the asset management system. The department retains the full value received on the trade-in item and is responsible for costs of moving and storing the item.

University property may be donated by the college or department to IRS designated 501(c)(3) charitable organizations, such as schools, churches, etc. Prior to making the donation, the college or department must obtain a copy of the IRS letter granting the organization 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. Donations must be authorized by the dean or vice president and documented. The department is responsible for notifying Inventory Control if disposing of capitalized assets in this manner.

Computers, laptops, and other associated electronic materials may be disposed of through a recycling process established by IT Services. For a full list of recyclable materials and to submit a recycle request, please visit the Computer Recycling Request form.

Chemical, infectious, and hazardous waste is collected for disposal by the Environmental Health and Safety staff. For specifics on waste collection, please visit the Chemical Waste page.

Federal and sponsor owned assets are items purchased from funds granted to the University by the Federal government or another granting entity, and which are not considered university property. Disposal for these items should follow the terms and conditions defined in the grant contract.

Purchase, Trade-In, Auction of Vehicles

Instructions on capital asset cost thresholds, how to dispose of surplus equipment and track capital assets are available on the Capital Assets page.

Please contact Brent Leishman, 9-6133, leishmb@MiamiOH.edu for transactions involving licensed vehicles.

1.20 Accessibility

The University is committed to providing qualified individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in, and benefit from, the services, programs, and activities that University delivers through web-based, digital, and emerging technologies. All web technology or software that University procures for use by its students shall conform to the relevant accessibility standards (a listing of relevant standards can be found at the AccessMU website) as long as the technology is commercially available and its purchase does not result in undue financial and administrative burdens or a fundamental alteration. If a product is available and meets some, but not all, of the relevant accessibility standards, University will procure the product that best meets the standard, unless its purchase would result in undue financial and administrative burdens or a fundamental alteration, or unless an exception applies pursuant to Miami’s Accessible Technology Procurement Policy. The AccessMU website contains a listing of exceptions. Exceptions can only be granted by the Procurement Review Committee.

2.00 Bids and Quotations

2.01 Competitive Selection/Bidding Requirements (Non-Construction)

As a public institution, it is important that the Office of Strategic Procurement ensure competition at all levels of procurement, and provide an opportunity for any capable vendor or service provider to quote on potential University purchases.

With this in mind, the Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services has approved the following bid/quotation policy for Miami University:

  • $0-5,000: The competitive selection/bidding process is not required
  • $5,001-24,999: Three or more quotes are required, either written or copied from an existing price list
  • $25,000 and up: Quotations and/or proposals will be obtained by the Office of Strategic Procurement through a competitive selection process based on written descriptions or specifications provided by the requisitioning department

Competitive selection may not be circumvented by splitting a transaction into multiple smaller transactions. The dollar limits are for any single supplier in aggregate for purchases of similar goods and/or services for the University in a fiscal year where it is possible to identify such purchases in advance. If not identified until after the fact that aggregate purchases from a single supplier during a fiscal year have exceeded the previously used dollar limits to determine bidding requirements, future purchases from the same supplier will be subject to the higher level of bidding requirements. This subsequent bidding requirement will be applicable only if it is likely that future purchases of similar goods and/or services from that supplier within the fiscal year will again reach the same dollar thresholds. Quotations or proposals may also be solicited by the Office of Strategic Procurement for purchases below $25,000 whenever doing so would best serve the interests of the University. Quotes obtained by the requesting department are subject to concurrence of the Office of Strategic Procurement. The Office of Strategic Procurement will lead the supplier dialogue around contract negotiations, terms and conditions, and pricing. Final pricing is subject to the Approval of the Office of Strategic Procurement.

These guidelines apply to all purchases except those being made from State contracts, Inter-University Council of Ohio Purchasing Agreements, or Miami University contracts that have already been awarded as a result of a competitive proposal process.

2.02 Competitive Selection/Bidding Requirements (Construction)

The Physical Facilities Department is charged with managing University projects for building construction, renovation and repair on all of the University’s campuses. Generally speaking, any improvement to or alteration of University property must be coordinated with and managed through the Physical Facilities Department.

There are several types of bidding methodologies used in support of facility improvement projects. The processes for selecting vendors vary depending on the type and cost of services required. Among them are:

  • Architectural, engineering, and other specialty services are generally selected through a “qualifications based” process per the Ohio Revised Code and guidelines established by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission.
  • Chapter 153 of the Ohio Revised Code governs construction projects, which exceed a certain dollar threshold (currently set at $215,000). For these projects, the University is required to advertise the work/services and to use forms and documents prescribed by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission for all stages of the work, including the bidding, awarding and managing of the project. The project delivery methods, which may be utilized include Design-Build, Construction Manager at Risk, General Contracting, and Multi-prime.
  • For construction and renovation projects estimated to be under the statutory dollar threshold, the University is granted extensive discretion and may exercise its judgment in seeking bids or proposals for the work using limited construction documents, ‘walk thru or job site’ bids, or other bid methodologies that best serve the needs of the University.

PFD also manages Time and Material trade contracts. These contracts result from competitive bid events and the selected T&M Contractors are used for a variety of construction, renovation and maintenance related trade work. T&M contractors’ work spans a variety of trades ranging from carpentry to electrical masonry to refrigeration, and is performed on smaller-scale projects and other work on a case-by-case basis when a more formal bidding approach is not feasible, is too costly given the scope of work, or is impractical due to conditions in evaluating the work to be performed. Time and material contractors may also be utilized to perform work in support of or in addition to formal ORC 153 projects.

The appropriate use of construction and renovation practices is further outlined in the Construction Managers’ handbook maintained by the Physical Facilities Department.

Other services that support a construction project such as moving, equipment, cabinetry, furnishings, and interior finishes generally fall under the bidding requirements for non-construction procurements as described above.

2.03 Bid/Quotation Process

Except for construction and renovation projects, the State does not mandate a specific process for competitive selection. Generally, the competitive selection should consist of:

  • A written solicitation outlining the university's needs, outlining the terms of the purchase, and the award criteria sent to prospective bidders;
  • Written responses received from prospective bidders; and
  • An evaluation made by the requestor and buyer, in writing whenever selecting other than the apparent lowest proposal.

Solicitations may be made in various formats including via a Request for Quote form (RFQ), letterhead format, invitation to bid format, or Request for Proposal (RFP) format. Many of the university's solicitations are done on Sourcing Manager, a web enabled bidding process. The form of solicitation will be determined by the respective commodity manager in accordance with guidelines established by the Chief Procurement Officer.

Except for simple price requests on a specific product or list of products, verbal solicitations should be avoided because it is essential that all prospective responders be provided the same information upon which to base their bid and it is easy to forget certain information or change an instruction when the information is given verbally.

Facsimile transmissions (faxes) or electronic communications (emails) are acceptable forms of written solicitations and responses for most competitive selection processes. Faxes are normally not acceptable for sealed bid openings and formal request for proposal processes.

2.04 Insurance Requirements for Goods and Services (Non Construction)

Contractor will procure and maintain for the duration of the Contract insurance against claims for injuries to persons or damages to property which may arise from or in connection with the performance of the work hereunder and the results of that work by the Contractor, or the Contractor’s agents, representatives, employees or subcontractors.

  1. Minimum Scope and Limit of Insurance: Coverage will be at least as broad as:
    1. Commercial General Liability (CGL) will be on an “occurrence” basis, including products-completed operations, personal & advertising injury, with limits no less than $1,000,000 per occurrence, $3,000,000 aggregate.
    2. Automobile Liability will have no less than $1,000,000 combined single limit per accident for bodily injury and property damage.
    3. Workers’ Compensation will be with Statutory Limits and Employer’s Liability Insurance with adequate limits. (Not required if Contractor provides written verification it has no employees)
    4. Professional Liability (Errors and Omissions): Insurance appropriate to the Contractor’s profession, with limit no less than $1,000,000 per occurrence or claim, $3,000,000 aggregate. (If applicable – see end note.)
  2. Higher Limits: If the Contractor maintains higher limits than the minimums shown above, Miami University requires and will be entitled to coverage for the higher limits maintained by the Contractor. Any available insurance proceeds in excess of the specified minimum limits of insurance and coverage will be available to Miami University.
  3. Additional Insured Status: Miami University is to be covered as additional insured on the auto policy with respect to liability arising out of automobiles owned, leased, hired or borrowed by or on behalf of the Contractor and on the CGL policy with respect to liability arising out of work or operations performed by or on behalf of the Contractor including materials, parts, or equipment furnished in connection with such work or operations. This is evidenced on the Certificates of Insurance. Certificates of Insurance are to be mailed to:

    Miami University
    501 E High St
    218 Roudebush Hall
    Oxford, OH 45056

  4. Primary Coverage: For any claims related to the Contract, the Contractor’s insurance coverage will be primary insurance as respects to Miami University. Any insurance or self-insurance maintained by Miami University will be excess of the Contractor’s insurance and will not contribute with it.
  5. Exclusion from Miami University Insurance Coverage: The Contractor agrees and acknowledges that it and any of its employees, agents, subcontractors providing service to Miami University are:
    1. independent contractors
    2. are not employees, agents or representatives of Miami University
    3. are not controlled or supervised by Miami University, and therefore, are specifically excluded from any coverage under any insurance policy of Miami University.
  6. Notice of Cancellation: Each insurance policy required above will provide that coverage will not be canceled, except after a thirty (30) day notice to Miami University.
  7. Waiver of Subrogation: Contractor must grant to Miami University a waiver of any right to subrogation which any insurer of said Contractor may acquire against Miami University by virtue of the payment of any loss under such insurance. Contractor must agree to obtain any endorsement that may be necessary to effect this waiver of subrogation, but this provision applies regardless of whether or not Miami University has received a waiver of subrogation endorsement from the insurer.
  8. Deductibles and Self-Insured Retentions: Any deductibles or self-insured retentions must be declared to and approved by Miami University. Miami University may require the Contractor to purchase coverage with a lower deductible or retention or provide proof of ability to pay losses and related investigations, claim administration, and defense expenses within the retention.
  9. Claims Made Policies: If any of the required policies provide claims-made coverage:
    1. The Retroactive Date must be shown, and must be before the date of the Contract or the beginning of contract work.
    2. Insurance must be maintained and evidence of insurance must be provided for at least five (5) years after completion of the contract work.
    3. If coverage is canceled or non-renewed and not replaced with another claims-made policy form with a Retroactive Date prior to the contract effective date, the Contractor must purchase “extended reporting” coverage for a minimum of five (5) years after completion of the contract work.
  10. Subcontractors: Contractor will require and verify that all subcontractors maintain insurance meeting all the requirements stated herein, and Contractor will ensure that Miami University is an additional insured on insurance required from subcontractors.
  11. Verification of Coverage: Contractor will furnish Miami University with original Certificates of Insurance and amendatory endorsements or copies of the applicable policy language effecting coverage required by this clause. All certificates and endorsements are to be received and approved by Miami University before work commences. However, failure to obtain the required documents prior to the work beginning will not waive the Contractor’s obligation to provide them. Miami University reserves the right to require complete, certified copies of all required insurance policies, including endorsements required by these specifications, at any time.
    Certificate Holder on Certificates of Insurance should read:

    Miami University
    501 E High St.
    218 Roudebush Hall
    Oxford, OH 45056

    Note: Professional liability insurance coverage is required if the Contractor is providing a professional service regulated by the state. (Examples of Contractors regulated by the state are insurance agents, professional architects and engineers, doctors, certified public accountants, lawyers, etc.). However, other professional Contractors, such as computer or software designers, and services providers such as claims administrators, should also have professional liability. If in doubt, consult with the Office of Strategic Procurement.

2.05 Waiver of Competitive Selection/Single Source Procurement

Competitive selection requirements may be waived by the Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services, or the Chief Procurement Officer, whenever, in their best judgment, one of the following situations exist:

  • Emergency - An emergency situation exists, requiring immediate action to avoid damage or destruction to University property or facilities, or to avoid disruption to services vital to the operation of the University. Emergency purchase requests up to $100,000 are subject to the review and approval of the Chief Procurement Officer. Emergency purchase requests over $100,000 are subject to the review and approval of the Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services; or,
  • Economic Disadvantage - It is deemed impractical, impossible, or otherwise of a substantial economic disadvantage to the University to seek such bids; or,
  • Sole Source - The needs of the University are best served by purchase of a specific item or service that is available only from one source. Sole source requests up to $100,000 are subject to the review and approval of the Chief Procurement Officer. Sole source requests over $100,000 are subject to the review and approval of the Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Services; or,
  • Established Contracts - The product is available for purchase by the University from a Miami Buyway catalog, a government services administration (GSA) price schedule, a state term schedule, an IUC agreement, or other cooperative purchasing agreement that have been competitively bid and of which the University is a party, and it is financially advantageous to the University to purchase from such agreements.

Requests for waiver of the bidding process are to be in writing and outline the rationale for the request in specific terms and accompanied by supporting documentation. Requests may be submitted via Miami Buyway’s Request Exception to Bidding form or as an attachment to a purchase request.

Certain purchases do not lend themselves to the competitive bid process or the competitive bid is run by a state authority such as auditor of state for annual financial audit provider. Prior to entering into an agreement with a supplier for purchases of these types, the requisitioning department may consult with the Office of Strategic Procurement to review terms and conditions. The Office of Strategic Procurement will assist in the final negotiations to ensure compliance with university and regulatory requirements. In general, the following commodities do not require competitive bidding, but where noted may require authorization to procure these goods or services:

  • Legal services
  • Annual year-end financial audit services
  • Regulated utilities
  • Entertainment providers, referees, speakers, guest faculty
  • Dues or fees for institutional membership in an organization or association
  • Postage purchased from the US postal service
  • Purchases from state agencies or other state-assisted institutions of higher education
  • Real estate and associated fees
  • Artwork
  • Products for resale to the general public where customer and brand preferences are recognized and incorporated into the rationale for waiver of competitive bid
  • Publishers of books, periodicals, and other published materials (This exception does not include distributors of published materials)
  • Renewal of licenses and maintenance agreements for existing mission critical enterprise-wide software applications

2.06 Buy Ohio Preference

Sections 125.09 and 125.11 of the Ohio Revised Code require that in the evaluation of bids, the University give preference to products which are "mined, excavated, produced, manufactured, raised, or grown" in the State of Ohio, or products offered by bidders who have a "significant Ohio presence," defined to mean that the bidders:

  • "Have sales offices, divisions, sales outlets, or manufacturing facilities in Ohio or whose facilities demonstrate a significant capital investment in Ohio;
  • Pay required taxes to the state of Ohio; and
  • Are registered and licensed to do business in the state of Ohio with the Office of Secretary of State."

Any bids meeting the above criteria will be given a preference of up to five (5) percent over the lowest price "non-Ohio" bid submitted; except that such preference will not be applied against vendors from bordering states, unless those states have programs favoring their in-state bidders over "Ohio" vendors.

2.07 Other State Use Requirements

ORC §§ 4115.31-35 require instrumentalities of the state to use a qualified non-profit state agency for the purchase of products and services that are available from a work center employing persons with

ORC § 5147.07 requires instrumentalities of the state to use the Department of Rehabilitation and
Correction for the purchase of products available from state correctional and penal institutions.

3.00 Purchasing Process

3.01 General

A successful procurement program depends upon effective communication - between the requestor and the commodity manager. The commodity manager is familiar with the various contracts, and aware of the price practices and discount levels of many vendors. The requestor can best evaluate suitability for intended use, product quality, and level of service. Prior to making any purchasing initiative or vendor contact, the requestor is encouraged to consult with the respective commodity manager to discuss the best method of handling specific needs.

It is the policy of the University to carefully document all purchase transactions. In addition to any specific requirements for initiating a requisition, it is the responsibility of the requesting department and subsequent approvers to disclose the following business details on any and all purchase documents.

  • Who: The party who is the ultimate end user
  • What: A reasonable item description of items or services purchased
  • When: The date in which the item is purchased or the service is rendered. (i.e. conference date, or project start date)
  • Where: The campus location where the item purchased is delivered or the service is performed
  • Why: A reasonable description of the business purpose and reason for the item to be purchased or the services acquired

3.02 Major Purchases

When a major purchase is being considered, the requestor should contact the Office of Strategic Procurement, or the commodity manager assigned to that commodity, and indicate the basic requirements and potential vendors and sources. Procurement Office staff will research State contract or IUC price agreement vendors, and suggest them as first contacts. The commodity manager will work with the requestor to further define needs and develop an evaluation process. As soon as the market has been surveyed, and the requestor has a good feel for the level and type of equipment or services that will be required to meet its needs, the bid process may be initiated.

At this point the requestor and the commodity manager jointly define requirements in detail and write specifications for the needed equipment or items. Proposals will be solicited from at least three vendors/manufacturers asking them to offer equipment or services meeting the requirements and providing firm prices. (Even vendors on State contracts or IUC Price Agreements often offer better prices in response to formal bid requests.) Upon receipt of proposals, the evaluation process continues, measuring the formal proposals against the requestor's requirements and selecting the equipment/services best suited to the requestor's needs.

The Office of Strategic Procurement will collaborate with the requestor during the evaluation and selection process. The University is not bound to accept the "low" bid, but can accept the most "responsive and responsible" bid, in the interest of the University. In this manner, the legal requirements are satisfied as well as the requestor's needs, and usually better pricing is obtained through increased competition.

With the complexity and high costs of equipment or services, preliminary investigation and evaluation by the requestor in anticipation of a purchase is extremely important. Because of this, there may be the tendency for some requestors to proceed too far into the procurement process on their own by soliciting proposals and prices, conducting a detailed evaluation, making a selection, and expecting the Office of Strategic Procurement to support the decision and automatically issue a Purchase Order (PO). Where the item or service selected is available from several vendors, the purchase may be merely delayed while the Office of Strategic Procurement checks the prices, attempts more favorable quotations, and/or conducts a formal bid solicitation.

In other instances, the purchase simply cannot be completed because competitive bid requirements were not met and a competitive bid process is no longer possible due to the search already being narrowed to a specific item or service available only from one source. When this occurs, everyone is unhappy.

Faculty and staff are cautioned not to solicit quotations or proceed through an evaluation/ decision process on their own. Although the Office of Strategic Procurement is committed to ensuring that the needs and requirements of the requestors are met, it must also ensure that the transaction meets all procedural, legal, and ethical requirements of the Federal government, State and University. Competitive procurement requirements can be waived only under very limited circumstances, and failure to work through the Office of Strategic Procurement will result in unnecessary delays and, potentially, unpleasant or impossible procurement situations.

3.03 Blanket Purchase Orders

When departments are faced with numerous repetitive orders for miscellaneous requirements to a single vendor, or when departments have a requirement for a known quantity of an item or items to be delivered over a period of time, a Blanket Purchase Order (BPO) may be issued. Under this order, a requisition is forwarded to the Office of Strategic Procurement indicating a vendor, item(s) or types of items to be ordered, dollar amount, and the period of time to be covered. After issuance of the order, the using department makes its requests as needed to the vendor, giving the Purchase Order (PO) number each time. Invoices are paid against the order until the set dollar amount is exhausted, or until the end of the fiscal year. A new BPO is required to be issued at the beginning of each fiscal year. BPOs are not to be carried over to the next fiscal year. Requestors having requirements that they feel would be well served by BPOs should contact the appropriate commodity manager to discuss this purchasing method. BPOs are not to be carried over to the next fiscal year. This purchasing method is subject to the review and approval of the Office of Strategic Procurement.

3.04 Term Contracts

In many instances, volume discounts are available to the University based upon quantities of items or like items to be ordered over time, or volumes of services to be performed. Specifications are written outlining the product(s) or service(s), estimated quantities, and method, frequency, and size of orders. Vendors then bid unit prices based upon these specifications, and a contract is awarded for items to be ordered or services to be performed over time, normally a one-year period. Whenever the items are needed or services required, a Purchase Order (PO) is written to the vendor at the agreed upon price.

State Contracts and IUC Price Agreements are all Consortia contracts. In addition, the Office of Strategic Procurement has numerous University contracts based upon local requirements. Many are loaded into Miami Buyway as an e-catalog where users can select items on-line as the most preferred and efficient ordering method. The Office of Strategic Procurement will check existing contracts whenever seeking a source to meet a department's requirement. This is a primary reason users should check with the appropriate Office of Strategic Procurement staff prior to investigating sources on their own.

Commodity managers regularly review purchasing activity in their areas to see if a buying pattern suggests creation of a contract to enable more effective purchasing. Departments having recurring requirements for goods or services that they feel would lend themselves to a contract should contact the responsible commodity manager.

3.05 Purchases Requiring Installation

As new and replacement equipment is purchased for use on campus, the requirements for final delivery, set-up, and installation, and costs thereof, may be overlooked. On occasion, the cost of providing utilities, taking care of environmental needs, making necessary room modifications and installing equipment has substantially exceeded the dollars spent on the actual equipment purchase. Yet, no funds were allocated for such work when the equipment was approved and ordered. As a result, departments and users were faced with long installation delays, as well as major unanticipated expenses that cut into other programs, at either the departmental, school, or divisional level.

Therefore, the Office of Strategic Procurement has been requested by the Office of the Provost, Senior Vice President of Finance and Business Services, and Physical Facilities Department to ensure that prior to ordering any equipment requiring installation, the following three conditions must be met:

  • Any required space utilization approvals must be obtained;
  • Any room, utility, and/or environmental systems modification work must be recognized and planned; and,
  • The total costs of equipment procurement and installation must be recognized and funding identified.

To avoid delays in equipment procurement, departments are urged to make installation planning part of their equipment request and approval process. If a room change of use will be made, or additional utilities or room modifications are required, a Project and Space Utilization Request Form will also have to be initiated by the requesting department.

3.06 Order Follow-Up

Order follow-up and assistance in resolving vendor problems is provided by the Office of Strategic Procurement as required. 

3.07 Prepayments

State statutes generally prohibit the University from making payment prior to receipt of merchandise or rendering of service. Routine prepayments are limited to subscriptions, small book orders, payment for membership or any renewal and conference/seminar registration fees. Other prepayments will be authorized only when absolutely required to complete a transaction that is clearly advantageous to the University. Routine prepayments are preferred to be handled and processed with the departmental Procurement Card.

When using the Procurement Card for - prepayment, "proof of price" must be provided. This may be an order form, letter from the vendor, copy of an advertisement, copy of a catalog page, or a price list. Requestors should ensure that proof of price is current, and includes any shipping charges.

4.00 Commodity Specific Purchases

Special guidelines must be followed in performing certain purchasing transactions. These transactions and the appropriate procedures are described below.

IT Related Hardware / Software - Standards and specifications for software, hardware, and related equipment and peripherals must be coordinated and approved through the Vice President for Information Technology (“VP of IT”), who is responsible for the oversight and management of the University’s IT assets. IT Equipment is defined as desktop computers, laptop computers, servers, storage devices, network and communications devices, research computers or workstations, displays, printers, electronic multimedia devices, personal mobile devices, telecommunications, and other equipment designated by the Vice President for Information Technology. Software is defined as programs that operate IT hardware included but not limited to operating and application systems, information databases, and other designations by the VP of IT. Without prior approval by the Vice President for Information Technology, acquisition of IT related hardware and software by departments is unauthorized.

To facilitate the purchase of IT related hardware and software, specific processes are available that take into account approvals needed for purchase or existing contracts and/or standards:

Catalog Request – specific catalogs are available in Miami Buyway, which designate standardized and approved product for purchase and have been contracted through a competitive bid process (i.e. Dell).

IT Purchase Request form – use this form in Miami Buyway for IT related requests that are not covered for purchase elsewhere (see software store below).

Furniture and Carpet - The Office of Strategic Procurement follows a set of informal standards in the selection and purchase of office furnishings that has been supported by the University Administration over many years of use. These standards are guided by functionality, appearance, durability, cost, and individual duties while being mindful of and respecting individual roles and surrounding architecture and environment. Requestors desiring more information on these standards are encouraged to contact the commodity manager in the Office of Strategic Procurement responsible for this commodity. Furniture and carpet are purchased on state (STS) contracts or other GPO/Consortium agreements (National IPA, E&I, Sourcewell, IUC (Inter-University Council of Ohio). To request a bid for the purchase of furniture and/or carpet, please use the “Bid Request – Products or Services” form found on the Buyway landing page Buyway under “Miami Forms and Services”.

Printing/Publications - In addition to normal procurement policy and regulation, contracts for printing and publications are restricted by Section 3345.10 of the Ohio Revised Code to contractors having manufacturing facilities in the State of Ohio or one of the contiguous states bordering Ohio. University must establish competitive bidding procedures for the purchase of printed material and shall award all contracts for the purchase of printed material in accordance with those procedures. The procedures shall require the institution to evaluate all bids received for all contracts for the purchase of printed material in accordance with the criteria and procedures established pursuant to divisions (C)(1) and (2) of section 125.09 of the Revised Code for determining whether bidders will produce the printed material at manufacturing facilities within this state or in accordance with the criteria and procedures established pursuant to division (C)(4) or (5) of that section for determining whether bidders are otherwise qualified. An institution shall select, in accordance with the procedures it establishes under this section, a bid from among bidders that fulfill the criteria specified in the applicable divisions of section 125.09 of the Revised Code where sufficient competition can be generated within this state to ensure that compliance with this requirement will not result in paying an excessive price or acquiring a disproportionately inferior product. If there are two or more bids from among those bidders, it shall be deemed that there is sufficient competition to prevent paying an excessive price or acquiring a disproportionately inferior product.

Departments having requirements for printing and publications should contact printing@MiamiOH.edu, or the Associate Director of University Communications & Marketing, 9-1382, as appropriate, for assistance with specifications and vendor selection. For assistance with office forms, requestors may contact the Office of Strategic Procurement.

Once specifications are determined and the bidding process is complete, a requisition with specifications and vendor bids should be created in Buyway for the review and approval of the Office of Strategic procurement for issuance of a PO.

If the printing contract includes mailing materials, such as postcards, envelopes or self-mailers, or if mailing services are to be included as part of the printing contract, the department should follow guidelines provided by University Mail Services to coordinate these services with the print vendor or with another vendor for mail services, such as LFS or United Mail. Guidelines for automated bulk mailing can be found on the Campus Services Mail & Package Centers site.

Use of Miami marks and logos for printing are governed by University Communications & Marketing and items printed should be submitted for review and approval of branding and logo standards and guidelines. Guidelines and standards for use can be found at the University Communication and Marketing (UCM) website.

Promotional & Merchandise Items – Use of Miami marks and logos for promotional materials are governed by the Office of University Trademarks and Licensing. Guidelines and standards for use can be found at the University Communication and Marketing (UCM) website. Additionally, a Miami Buyway catalog has been established for purchases of promotional items with approved trademark use.

Space Utilization request - The Office of Strategic Procurement has been requested by the Office of the Provost, Vice President of Finance and Business Services, and Physical Facilities Department to ensure that prior to ordering any equipment requiring installation, the following three conditions must be met:

  • Any required space utilization approvals must be obtained;
  • Any room, utility, and/or environmental systems modification work must be recognized and planned; and,
  • The total costs of equipment procurement and installation must be recognized and funding identified.

To avoid delays in equipment procurement, departments should make installation planning part of their equipment request and approval process. If a room change of use will be made, or additional utilities or room modifications are required a service request will need to be submitted to Physical Facilities by calling 529-6111 or from the online service request form.