GENERAL PURCHASING RULES
There are 3 purchasing methods and they are all required to follow the same rules, regardless of funding source (state, county or grants).
North Carolina has negotiated contracts for the purchase of many of the items we use. For example, Fisher Scientific, Krackeler Scientific and VWR International are all vendors with state contract laboratory supplies and equipment. Check for statewide term contracts here.
- In order to ensure compatibility and interoperability of college computers, software, servers, phones and networks, the Information Technology (IT) department should be involved in the procurement of all technology related purchases. See below for more details.
- Additional rules are based on the amount you spend:
Less that $5,000 – 3 informal quotes (link to informal quotes info) are recommended
Between $5,000 - $10,000 – 3 written quotes are required
General EQ Over $10,000 – must go through a formal bidding process
IT Equipment Over $25,000 – must go through a formal bidding process
The amounts are based on the total amount spent, for example, a total of $6,000 spent on 10 chairs requires 3 written quotes.
Bidding or quotes are not required if an item is on state contract.
Please allow at least 2 months for the formal bidding process.
Services also require quotes but do not require a formal bidding process.
E-Procurement: This is our automated purchase ordering system. Please make every attempt to purchase all items through E-Procurement. If your item is on state contract you are required to use the E-Procurement system. More details below.
Vendors in E-Procurement are required to be registered with the state. If they are not registered it is an easy process to get them registered. To check and see if a vendor is registered, click the link below.
Requisitions: This is a paper requisition and is used primarily when a vendor is not on E-Procurement and an item has already been ordered. More details about requisitions below.
P-Card: Most departments have a credit card available. P-Cards are for last minute purchases from vendors not in E-Procurement and items not under state contract. The spending limit is $2,500 per card. More details are in the Procurement Card, Policies and Procedures Manual.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
- I just need a few office supplies, what is the best way to get them? General office supplies are available in Central Supply (Shipping/Receiving) located in the Summit building. You may sign out supplies you need. These are paid for through a general budget code for the entire college. If you need something more specific, Forms & Supply has the state contract for office supplies. They guarantee delivery within 2 days and orders often come the next day. Use the E-Procurement system to order from their catalog.
- Can I order something on state contract from a different source? Items on state contract often list 2 or 3 vendors that you may use. If you have another vendor you would like to use, the item’s price including shipping must be documented and less than the state contract.
- What counts as an Informal Quote? These can include telephone calls, eQuotes, etc. They should include details of the order such as part numbers, item descriptions and prices. Please document your informal quotes and attach to your e-Procurement request.
- How do I do a Written Quote? Please use the Request for Quote Form when requesting. If three written quotes cannot be obtained, please attach sole source documentation and a note explaining the circumstances.
- How do you register a vendor? If you need to purchase an item from a vendor that is not registered through e-Procurement, we will need to make an attempt to get them registered. It is an easy process and does not take long. A copy of the letter we send to vendors to encourage them to register is attached for your download at the bottom of this page as a .pdf file.
- What are Blanket Purchase Orders? These are submitted usually once a year for something that we receive an invoice for throughout the year. For example, gas for a vehicle or a monthly subscription service. Blanket purchase orders must be under $5,000 for the year. They are requested through E-Procurement. In order to pay invoices with blanket purchase orders send in the invoice with a signed “okay to pay”, dated, referencing the blanket purchase. Please contact the Coordinator of Procurement if you think you may want to set up a blanket purchase order.
- What if I need to return an order? If your order needs to be returned please contact the Coordinator of Procurement or Accounts Payable immediately. We will hold the payment to the company until the return is resolved. Please arrange the return with the company and send any corresponding paperwork to the Coordinator of Procurement. The Shipping & Receiving Department will assist you in the return mailing.
- What is a Punchout Catalog? These are catalogs with items on state contract. When you select a punchout catalog it will take you to a different website with a catalog. Select the items you need and put them in your cart. Instead of paying you will be given an option to "return the items to E-Procurement". It will add the items to your E-Procurement requisition.
- Frequently Used Punchout Catalogs
- Forms and Supply - office supplies
- Fisher Scientific - instructional materials, lab equipment & supplies
- Correction Enterprises - furniture
- VWR - lab materials
- Grainger - facilities, tools
- Information Services will act as consultants for the purchase of all technology related hardware and software purchases.
- Purchases of software must be coordinated through Information Services for the purpose of centrally maintaining software licenses and installation media.
- All computer desktops, laptops, and printers must be approved and submitted for purchase by the Information Services department. This will help maintain compatibility and interoperability of equipment as well as allow us to take advantage of volume pricing.
- All computer peripherals must be approved by Information Services and routed through the college’s purchasing department. This includes monitors, desktop printers, scanners, webcams, and other computer peripherals.
- Any equipment which is intended to be connected to the college network must be reviewed and approved by the Information Services department prior to purchase.
- The procurement of any web related services including software as a service (SAAS) purchases must be reviewed and approved by the Information Services department.
E-Procurement requires an NCID log in. To get a log in please contact the Coordinator of Procurement. The E-Procurement website is http://eprocurement.nc.gov/. Click the following links to see videos that demonstrate how to make catalog and non-catalog orders.
- The e-Procurement program website times out after 30 min. If you are making a catalog order you must go back to the site within the 30 min. or it will close you out.
- One of the easiest ways to complete your purchases is to copy your requests from year to year. In order to copy, open the initial requisition, copy, and edit to change the information you need to update.
- Separate requests for each vendor and each budget code are required. The system will allow you to submit a request with multiple vendors or budget codes but the request will not go through.
- When your order has been placed you will receive a copy of your purchase order in I/O mail. This is for your reference. If you have not received your order after a reasonable amount of time please contact the Coordinator of Procurement.
Non-contract items over $10,000 must be sent by requisition to the North Carolina Division of Purchase and Contract for competitive bids. The bid must include a justification letter from Dr. Tomas. This letter is to be on Southwestern Community College letterhead with signature and include mention of the specific requirement, justification for the purchase, and the source of funding. Bids presented to the state must be very specific as to what we want. We will need to work together to ensure all necessary information is provided. Please be sure and allow at least two months for the collection of bids, review of bids, approval of requested bid, issue of purchase order, and delivery.
All items with e-Procurement should go through Shipping & Receiving. If they do there is nothing else you need to do unless the company sends you an invoice directly. If you receive an invoice, please send it to the Business Office. If you use a P-Card to order items to be shipped, please add “P-Card” or “credit card purchase” to the comments. This will help identify your package so it will be sent to you immediately. If your order was not shipped i.e. software download, please send an email to the Coordinator of Procurement that states that the item was received and it is okay to pay the invoice.
A signed requisition form
For amounts under $5,000, attach copies of informal quotes (recommended)
For amounts over $5,000, attach copies of your written quotes or sole source documentation
Call Suzanne Vincent, Coordinator of Procurement at 828.339.4464
Contact the E-Procurement help desk at 888.211.7440