University of Northern Iowa


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Overview of Purchasing and Payables
Guidelines & Procedures
Active RFQs
Awarded RFQs
Procurement Card
Sales Tax Exemption
Purchasing Links
Contracts & Purchasing Agreements
State of IA Vendor Contracts
Closing Schedule
Year End Requisition Clean-up
UNI Category Cheat Sheet (XLSM, please have macros turned on)
Office of Business Operations
103 Gilchrist Hall
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0008
Phone: 319.273.2162
Fax: 319.273.3009
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Purchasing Guidelines & Procedures

  1. Overview
  2. Air Travel
  3. ATM's
  4. Authorization
  5. Blanket & Contract Orders
  6. Budget/Budget Year
  7. Campus Supply
  8. Car Rental
  9. Cell Phones
  10. Code of Ethics - NAEB
  11. Competitive Procedures
  12. Conflict of Interest
  13. Contracts and Agreements
  14. Disallowed Purchases
  15. Emergency Purchases
  16. Furniture
  17. Leases
  18. Legislative Requirements
  19. Licensing & Trademarks
  20. Lodging for University Guests
  1. Maintenance Contracts
  2. Miscellaneous Payments
  3. Movable Equipment
  4. Newspaper Ads & Contracts
  5. Prepayment of Purchases
  6. Printing
  7. Procedures & Forms
  8. Procurement Card
  9. Professional Services
  10. Purchase Orders
  11. Purchasing Office
  12. Receiving on Purchase Orders
  13. Requisition
  14. Scams and Buyer Alerts
  15. Specifications & Standards
  16. Surplus Property
  17. Vehicle Purchases
  18. Vending


The Board of Regents affirms that the best interests of the State of Iowa and the Regent institutions are served through implementation of a full and free competitive purchasing system fostered by the use of open specifications, competitive bids or quotations and awards to the lowest bidder consistent with the quality and service required. Nothing contained in these guidelines shall be construed to mean that inferior or inappropriate goods should be purchased.

The following Guidelines and Procedures apply to all University accounts including research, grant, gift, activity and state appropriated fund sources. Additionally, the Board of Regents Procedural Guide provides explicit authority to implement Guidelines and Procedures. See 7.05 Audits, which lends support for the Purchasing Departments in the Regent institutional system.


Air Travel

Purchasing periodically bids and negotiates a contract for University air travel. All air travel reservations and arrangements should be made by the traveler or traveler's department directly with the contracted agency. UNI's preferred travel agencies are 1) Short's Travel Service (primary) and 2) Travel and Transport (secondary).  Both agencies are capable of 1) online e-travel reservations, 2) e-mail reservation requests and 3) phone reservations. All reservations will be matched against web fares from more than 60 travel web sites. Most airlines use e-tickets and if the traveler requests a paper ticket the airlines may require an additional charge. Please go to and for more information.  Traveler profiles can be set in place any time. Questions call Shorts Travel 234-5577, Travel and Transport (515) 292-5584 or Molly Rickert at 273-6448.   Payment for registrations and air tickets can be completed on the procurement card.

Both agencies offer Internet fare searches to corporate clients as a part of the "best fare assurance" process. Best Fare Assurance means agents will check all fare categories, including Internet fares, alternate itineraries and alternate airports to insure corporate travelers are offered the lowest travel options, however Waterloo airport departures are preferred when prices are comparable.

Internet sites sometimes offer lower airfares than contracted travel agencies; however you must consider that searching several Internet sites for the lowest fare will require an investment of time. Individual departments will have to make decisions whether it is better to take the time to search Internet sites or whether to accept the quoted fare from our contracted agency.

Some Internet sites limit their list of airlines, and some airlines have set up their own web sites that feature only their own flights. Some sites that use an auction method (like will not tell you the airline name, flight times or number of connections required until you book the flight on your credit card. And unless you are extremely flexible with your schedule this may not be the best option considering extra travel time and possible extra lodging and meals to consider. Also remember that taxes are not usually included in bid pricing at auction sites.

Services for charter travel or special group rates are also available. Call Purchasing or the travel agency for more information and specific pricing.



Purchasing periodically bids and negotiates an agreement for ATM machines on campus. The contracted vendor has the exclusive right to provide money machines on the UNI campus. The current provider is Veridan Bank.



Each account code combination within the University system is required to have an approval hierarchy as a means of regulating expenditures. Each department is responsible for establishing who within their organization shall have authority to purchase, and the dollar limits at which various approvals are required. This is done by completing the Authorization for MEMFIS Access form and submitting it to Information Technology Services, mail code 0381. The actual set up of the electronic approval hierarchy within Oracle is a Purchasing responsibility. Any change in staffing or dollar limits, must be reported to Purchasing using the same form. Position reclassifications also affect the hierarchy but these should be updated automatically by Purchasing.

Suggested approval limits already established:

President $1,000,000
Vice-presidents $250,000
Associate VP's $200,000
Deans/Directors $125,000
Department Heads $50,000

Note: Based on specific business needs, approval limits may be flexible.

Authorization to sign on Request for Payment forms, Travel Reimbursements and Procurement Card journal entries is limited to department heads, unless specific documentation indicating otherwise has been provided to Business Operations. 


Blanket and Contract Orders

Blanket and contract orders are purchase orders which are good for a specific period of time and allow departments to purchase frequently used items as needed without writing a requisition for each occurrence. Departments may specify a "not to exceed" dollar limit on blanket orders. Call Purchasing for more information.


Budget/Budget Year

The university operates on a fiscal year of July 1 to June 30. Each department requesting to purchase goods or services must have an account that is budgeted and funded within the university system. No expenditures may occur against accounts that have insufficient funding. Refer to University Policy 9.22 for more information on budget.

As relates to purchasing, all general fund accounts need to be committed and items received/delivered by June 30 of each fiscal year. If a department anticipates any special purchases for either supplies or equipment, contact Purchasing so that appropriate bids can be taken. The bid process takes approximately four weeks depending on the complexity of the item requested, and does not obligate the department to place an order; it only prepares the department for the possibility should year end funding become available.

As a general guideline, all equipment purchases should be placed by May 15, and all supplies by May 31 in order to guaranty delivery by June 30.


Campus Supply

Campus Supply provides an economical source of supply for a variety of campus needs including office supplies, janitorial products, tools and paper. The President's Cabinet has designated Campus Supply to be a "Vendor of First Contact". By using Campus Supply the entire University community realizes significant savings from volume purchasing, and assures that mandated Board of Regents requirements are complied with regarding purchase of certain supplies. Please refer to the Campus Supply website for further information.


Car Rental

All car rentals connected with University travel must be approved in advance by the appropriate department head. The University has discounted car rental agreements with Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, and National. Interested travelers should contact Purchasing for details. Note that other rental companies may have better rates available at certain times due to specials. It is usually beneficial to compare rates. The agencies which handle University air travel can check these rates and make reservations for the traveler.

Car Rental Agencies Contract
Avis Z013039
Budget BDC535300
Hertz CDP9755
Enterprise NA24E9A
*National 5160774
*National is preferred because the rate already includes collision and liability damage waiver.


Cell Phones

Cellular or wireless phone service may be provided for employee use with a defined business need and departmental approval.  Employees are encouraged to utilize the university preferred supplier of cellular service.  This service is bid and negotiated periodically to ensure competitive rates.  The current provider is US Cellular, and the contact is Jeff DeLong 319/721-6640.

Consideration for service should include, but may not be limited to:

  • Frequent travel across a geographic area away from the University.
  • A need for others to communicate with the employee about University business when the employee is away from campus.
  • A need for the employee to communicate with others about University business when the employee is away from campus.
  • The employee is responsible for programs, services or systems that necessitate frequent and immediate communication throughout the day or night.

Personal use should be limited and departments are responsible for ensuring personal calls incurring additional expense are reimbursed.


Code of Ethics - National Association of Educational Buyers (NAEB)

  1. Give first consideration to the objectives and policies of my institution.
  2. Strive to obtain the maximum value for each dollar of expenditure.
  3. Decline personal gifts or gratuities.
  4. Grant all competitive suppliers equal consideration insofar as state or federal statute and institutional policy permit.
  5. Conduct business with potential and current suppliers in an atmosphere of good faith, devoid of intentional misrepresentation.
  6. Demand honesty in sales representation whether offered through the medium of a verbal or written statement, an advertisement or a sample of the product.
  7. Receive consent of originator of proprietary ideas and designs before using them for competitive purchasing purposes.
  8. 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.
  9. Accord a prompt and courteous reception insofar as conditions permit to all who call on legitimate business missions.
  10. Cooperate with trade, industrial and professional associations, and with governmental and private agencies for the purposes of promoting and developing sound business methods.
  11. Foster fair, ethical and legal trade practices.
  12. Counsel and cooperate with NAEB members and promote a spirit of unity and a keen interest in professional growth among them.


Competitive Procedures

The Purchasing & Payables Manager shall be responsible for establishing procedures to ensure that goods and services are competitively selected. Written bids are required for purchases that are expected to exceed $25,000. Competitive selection may incorporate multiple criteria of award, with awards made based on the bidder whose proposal provides the best value as determined by the institution/purchasing department. Non-competitive and sole source purchases are recognized as proper procurement procedures only under appropriate circumstances such as:

  1. No satisfactory alternative source is known or can be found.
  2. An emergency situation (real and not due to inefficiency).
  3. A University contract covering the purchase is in place.
    Request for Waiver of Competitive Bidding
    Sole Source Purchase Justification

However, appropriate justification and documentation will be required before proceeding with purchases under 1 and 2 above.

*Purchasing reserves the right to require, or departments may request written bids for purchases less than $25,000.

NOTE: Equipment orders from $5,000 to $25,000 will require a minimum of one phone, facsimile, or written bid for encumbrance purposes.

*Bid requirements for printing are the same as requirements for other purchases, see Printing.

Formal bids normally will require a sealed response and a specified time and place for receipt and public opening. A fax response is not acceptable. A public notice prior to the bid is also normally required.

Informal bids are the type most often used. Purchasing mails or faxes the vendor a "Request for Quotations" form with a specified due date for the response. Phone responses are allowed but must be confirmed in writing. Fax responses are also allowed for informal bids.

The Purchasing & Payables Manager may depending on the circumstance delegate informal phone bidding to a department, but complete documentation of responses will be required in Purchasing before proceeding with the purchase.

NOTE: Vendors cannot be held accountable to phone quotes unless they are confirmed in writing.

The bid document carries various clauses which allow some flexibility in making awards. Generally UNI reserves the right to split awards among the vendors if desirable, reject all offers in whole or in part and allows alternates to be considered. If a department has just reason to request waiver of one of the above conditions, this must be discussed with Purchasing in advance of issuing a bid.

All bid documents and information must be returned to Purchasing whether or not an award will be made. Purchasing is the only office through which bid or order information should be made available to the public.

Should a department recommend an award to other than the lowest compliant bidder, a written justification must be prepared and the Purchasing & Payables Manager must review the award request before final approval and order.

No awards shall be made, no orders shall be placed, and no contracts shall be signed except by Purchasing or their designee.


Conflict of Interest

The Board of Regents has a comprehensive policy as to what constitutes a conflict of interest (Chapter 7.08) . The policy, in general, provides that Regent employees shall not sell any goods or services to any Regent institution if the value exceeds $1,000 per transaction or $2,000 annually unless pursuant to pre-approval by the Board of Regents. Further, any employee who has an ownership interest in, executive position, or other remunerative relationship with prospective suppliers of goods or service, shall not participate in preparing of specifications, qualifying vendors, or selecting of final vendor for award.

University policy on receiving and soliciting gifts further discourages:

  1. Staff travel for any reason taken at a vendor's or potential vendor's expense.
  2. Acceptance from or offering to vendors any gifts or gratuities in exchange for any special consideration.

See UNI Conflict of Interest Vendors

See Conflicts of Interest in Projects with External Funding


Contracts and Agreements

The Purchasing Department is responsible for the general procurement of supplies, equipment and services for the University. Board of Regents Policy mandates competitive bidding at $25,000 or greater for supplies and equipment, and $25,000 for professional services. The bid threshold for services is based on a one-time cost, or on a cumulative cost for on-going services under the terms of the project engagement. Signing a contract or agreement does not relieve a department's responsibility to coordinate the acquisition through the Purchasing Department. See also Policy 10.02 under University Policies and Procedures.


Disallowed Purchases

All purchases of the University as a general rule must have a public purpose. The personal use of the purchasing or payment systems is prohibited by law and can result in discipline, up to and including dismissal from employment. Refer to Policy 9.73 University Policies and Procedures for more information.

Examples of items that are prohibited from purchase include, but are not limited to:

  • Alcohol
  • Equipment costing more than $5,000 unless accompanied by a written bid that verifies the price and shipping cost if any
  • Hospitality, food, entertainment unless approved as having a public purpose by the Director of Business Operations. Refer to Policy 13.07 University Policies and Procedures for more detailed information.
  • Narcotics
  • Printing except as authorized through the Office of University Marketing and Public Relations and or UNI Print Services. Please refer to Board of Regents Policy 7.09.
  • Weapons

This is an addition to the existing statement under Conflict of Interest.

Please refer to Board of Regents Policy 4.39 and Iowa Code Chapter 68B.22 for more information.


Emergency Purchases

Purchasing encourages the use of procurement cards for most emergency purchases. Or a department could have someone pay for the purchase personally and seek reimbursement. 

In situations where the dollar amount is substantially higher than recommended for a procurement card, the department can request the purchase electronically and then alert Purchasing to search for and create the purchase order as soon as possible. The order number will be assigned by the system when the order is created and Purchasing can then notify the department and/or the supplier.

Each emergency situation is handled on its own merits.



The University has set certain standards for furniture acquisition, and has several contracts in place where educational discounts are available. Standard office furniture should be purchased through the Purchasing Department, and furniture associated with remodeling projects or any specialized furnishings should be discussed first with Facilities Planning before proceeding with the actual purchase.

All requests for non-standard/specialized furnishings should be requested through Associate Director for Architectural and Engineering Services, Facilities Planning.



All lease, lease-purchase and rental of equipment, supplies, vehicles, etc. are subject to the same acquisition process including competitive bids that apply to regular purchases.  All potential lease situations must be discussed with and approved by the Controller and Purchasing.


Legislative Requirements

Preferences - By Iowa law, preference will be given to Iowa vendors and products produced within the State of Iowa, when the items are of a quality reasonably suited to the purposes intended and can be secured without additional cost.

The Iowa Targeted Small Business (TSB) procurement program exists to promote the growth, development, and diversification of Iowa businesses owned by minorities and women. The University has implemented a program to award a portion of the University's annual purchases of goods and services, including construction services, to certified TSB's. Whenever possible, Purchasing will utilize TSB's for bid solicitations and awards. A list of TSB's can be found at

Biodegradable and Recycled Product Procurement - All state agencies including the Board of Regents institutions are required to meet the following goals:

  • Starch-based degradable plastic bags shall be used for all trash and garbage when economically feasible.
  • Only degradable foam products shall be used as food and beverage containers. Paper substitutes are recommended.
  • Purchase of recycled paper products for the purpose of writing, typing and printing shall be 90% by January 1, 2000.
  • Purchase of recycled tissue products is 100%.
  • Bags and paper should be ordered from Campus Supply.

Bio-Based Hydraulic Fluids, Greases and Other Industrial Lubricants - All state agencies including the Board of Regents institutions shall give preference  to purchasing bio-based  products vs. petroleum-based products as provided in section 8A.316.

Iowa Prison Industries - All state agencies including the Board of Regents instituions shall provide purchase opportunities to IPI when the products are comparable in price and quality to university standards.


Licensing and Trademarks

Any product bearing an identifying mark which can be interpreted as representing UNI must be licensed. The University asserts ownership over its name or any mark or symbol that is associated with or refers to the University. The licensing program seeks to protect the University's good name, identifying marks, and reputation by ensuring that all products bearing its name or likeness are of the finest quality and reflect positively on the University.

The purchase of any product which carries an identifying UNI mark must have pre-approval from the University licensing administrator. Contact Leon Costello at (319) 273-7044 for more information, or for a list of licensed approved suppliers.


Lodging for University Guests

Special rates are available for University guests at some local hotels and motels. Current participants are Holiday Inn, University Inn and Country Inn and Suites, all in Cedar Falls; rates may vary depending on length of stay. When making reservations request a direct bill to your department, provide the department name and address, and UNI’s tax exempt number, 07-001818. Payment should be initiated using the Request for Payment form, located under Memfis Forms, and submitted with appropriate receipts and approvals to Business Operations, Accounts Payable (mail code 0008).


Maintenance Contracts

By definition maintenance contracts typically are annual agreements offered for sale by suppliers to cover average repairs and service calls on the equipment they sell. Costs vary according to the type of equipment, and what services are included in the agreement. The university does not have a policy as to whether departments should or should not purchase maintenance contracts on equipment they own. This is strictly a decision to be made by the department based on how expensive the equipment is, and how much it will be used and the age of the equipment to be covered.

Maintenance agreements should not be considered until the equipment warranty period is approaching expiration. At that time a department should consider the cost of a maintenance agreement versus the likelihood of significant, costly repairs over the remaining life of the equipment. However if repairs are necessary, most reputable suppliers offer service calls on an 'as needed' basis, and typically will charge for time, parts and sometimes travel time.

Purchasing does offer a maintenance program which was competitively bid, and is currently provided by IKON. For more information on coverage and pricing, contact in Purchasing ext. 3-6448.  Inquiries on maintenance contracts available, or in place, for computer equipment should be directed to the ITS contact for each division or college.


Miscellaneous Payments

These payments are referred to simply as "Request for Payment" or "direct pays". Typically the requests to pay are after-the-fact purchases or expenses, or may be in advance of the event in the case of speakers, etc. For purchases, the vendor invoice must be attached to the Request for Payment form to initiate payment; no requisition is needed. In the case of speakers or various other honoraria payments (procedures for honoraria payments), there will be no bill but information such as what the event is, date, reason, vendor ID number, social security number, home address, etc. must be included. Do not create Request for Payment forms for items ordered or received on purchase orders. The Request for Payment form can be found by proceeding MEMFIS Forms, select letter "R" at the top and scroll down to find the form template. Print the form and complete.


Movable Equipment

Board policy defines Movable Equipment as any movable property which has a minimum useful life of one year or more and a minimum unit acquisition cost of $2,000, is identifiable, and is not a replacement part, and is of a use, size, and/or shape that permits attachment of a University inventory control number refer to fixed asset procedures and policy for more information.

Movable Equipment purchases are subject to the following review procedure prior to the issuance of a purchase order or any other commitment by the University. Dollar amounts refer to either single or multiple pieces of Movable Equipment as defined above. Directly related orders must be submitted together and not divided into smaller orders to circumvent policy.

  1. Equipment with a unit cost of less than $250,000 or a total purchase cost less than $500,000, will be purchased by the chief business officer of each institution, acting through the institutional purchasing agent, as outlined in Competitive Procedures above.
  2. Equipment with a unit cost greater than $250,000 or a total purchase cost of $500,000 to $1,000,000 will be submitted to the Board Office for approval. The Executive Director will notify the Board of such actions. At the discretion of the Executive Director, the equipment purchase may be submitted to the Board for approval. 
  3. Equipment costing more than $1,000,000 must be submitted to the Board for approval.

The executive director may approve emergency purchases which exceed $1,000,000 to be followed by Board ratification.  Emergency purchases are defined in IAC 681-8.9(4).


Newspaper Ads and Contracts

University contracts exist with the Waterloo Courier and the Des Moines Register. The contract rate must be requested when the order is placed. Departments should send an electronic requisition to Purchasing with the ad copy faxed or sent separately, and a purchase order will be issued. If an emergency situation exists due to publication deadlines, Procurement cards can also be used, but remember to request the contract rate when phoning or faxing the ad.


Prepayment of Purchases

Prepayment is defined as any payment made prior to the receipt, whether in whole or in part, of goods or services ordered. As a general rule, prepayments of any kind are not encouraged, but may be authorized when such prepayment is determined to be in the best interest of the University and the State of Iowa .

Mandatory prepayment is required by a supplier before goods are shipped or services provided, typically at the time of order, and requires authorization by the Purchasing and Payables Manager.

Discretionary prepayment is not required by the supplier, but may be requested; expediting delivery or altering payment terms.  In these instances approval should be sought from the Director of Purchasing Services to determine if it's in the best interest of UNI and the State of Iowa, before proceeding.



University printing jobs shall be handled in accordance with Policy 7.10 BOR. Printing is defined as either the reproduction of an image by a transfer of ink or a photographic process. Oversight of this shall be through the central printing operation or "UNI Print Services". The President's Cabinet has also direct that Print Services be a vendor of first contact

  • Requests for on-campus printing should be sent directly to Print Services.
  • Printing of special forms or special envelopes, etc. should be sent to Purchasing to request bids, if necessary, and place a purchase order.
  • Creative printing (pamphlets, brochures, catalogs) which require art work, graphic design services, etc. must be requested through the Office of University Marketing & Public Relations regardless of the dollar amount of the purchase.
  • All bids and awards shall be processed through Purchasing Services.
  • Printing and copying shall not be charged on UNI procurement cards.

Procedures and Forms

All purchasing for the University shall be conducted using only the approved forms and in the manner prescribed as a requirement for uniformity from the state audit division. Instructions on the use of forms may be obtained from Purchasing or the Memfis help desk.


Professional Service Contracts

Professional Service Agreements are contracts for unique, technical and/or infrequent functions performed by an independent contractor qualified by education, experience and/or technical ability to provide services. In most cases these services are of a specific project nature, and are not a continuing, on-going responsibility of the institution. 

Professional service agreements for greater than $25,000 must be selected through a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) process unless the service is a sole source purchase that is appropriately documented. The $25,000 threshold is not based on a one-time cost, but rather on a cumulative cost for on-going services under the terms of the project engagement. Professional service agreements, which are less than $25,000 over the course of service, may be entered into without using the required competitive bidding process unless a response from a Conflict of Interest Vendor is expected. If this is possible the dollar threshold reduces to $2,000. Selection of a professional service provider shall be based on a variety of criteria including, but not limited to, demonstrated competence, knowledge, references and unique qualifications to perform the services, in addition to offering a fair and reasonable price that is consistent with current market conditions. Additional criteria may be used as appropriate to the circumstances.


Purchase Orders (PO)

A PO is the usual and official method of purchase for items $1,000 or more. (If amount is under $1,000, please use the procurement card, request for payment, or reimbursement procedure). Purchase orders are issued by the Purchasing Office and are generated from the department requisition. Departments can follow the progress of their request by going to 'tools' and selecting 'view action history'. Purchasing can take no action on the requisition until all required approvals have been obtained. Once approved the requisition is available to the buyer to create the purchase order. It is the department's responsibility to immediately verify the accuracy of the purchase order and notify Purchasing of any discrepancy. Normal turn-around time on most requisitions not requiring bids is one working day after receipt by Purchasing. Requests requiring bids may take ten days to two weeks depending on the complexity of the items being ordered.

NOTE: All vendors who have supplied goods or services to the University are required to submit a written billing (invoice) to Purchasing to initiate payment.


Purchasing Office

The Purchasing and Payables Manager is the authorized purchasing officer of the University for all equipment, furnishings, supplies, and services. Purchasing is authorized to establish and implement University Purchasing Procedures. Purchase orders placed by individuals outside of purchasing procedures may be considered a personal transaction between the vendor and the individual.

The Purchasing department is the official university contact with vendors, and is responsible for coordinating bids, negotiations, or clarifications affecting purchase, price, terms, and delivery for all materials required for the operation of the University*. At the discretion of the Manager, this responsibility may be delegated to requesting departments for small purchases or informal bids.

Purchasing strives to provide service to both campus users and to vendors. Purchasing procedures are not all-inclusive but attempt to provide structured guidelines covering most procurement and payment situations. Additional assistance or information needed by departments or individuals will be provided on request.

*Public Relations is responsible for printing guideline and procedures, see BOR Printing 7.01.


Receiving on Purchase Orders

When a department submits an electronic requisition and all electronic approvals have been added, the requisition becomes available to Purchasing to create a corresponding purchase order. Upon receipt of merchandise from the vendor, the department must then 'receive' on the corresponding purchase order for the items that have been received. The receiving information must be entered in the Oracle system in order for payment to be initiated to the vendor.

The date of receipt is critical, specifically, at year end when general fund accounts must have merchandise received by June 30 in order to be encumbered from the present fiscal year monies in accordance with State of Iowa Code.

The receiving function is performed electronically in the Oracle application. Directions on how to receive in can be found in the Receiving Quick Reference Guide.



As a general guideline requests for purchase of goods and services over $1,000 shall be submitted on an electronic requisition.  The requisition form is located ine-Business suite applications.  Access is limited to users who have a username and password that provides security to departmental accounts.

Before creating a requisition a supplier should be selected. If the supplier is not setup in MEMFIS, departments who are purchasing from new suppliers must submit a completed Supplier Information Form to the Supplier Team in OBO, 0008 or fax to 273-3009..

Departments with a firm price from the supplier should note the quotation number and any other identification in the description of the item.

Each requisition created has a unique number for tracking purposes and each resulting purchase order will have a unique number also.

Creating Requisitions is a quick reference guide with directions on how to create a requisition in e-Business Suite.

NOTE: When requesting the purchase of equipment with a trade-in of existing items, the trade-in must be itemized with the serial number and/or UNI number listed. The new equipment value or cost will determine the expense class.


Scams and Buyer Alerts

There are many unreliable and unscrupulous suppliers out there, with most being nothing more than telephone scams. Schools are often prime targets because of their many and varied departments. It is wise never to place phone orders with or pay any invoice to a company you are unsure of or have doubts about. Usually when goods are supplied by these suppliers, they are priced outrageously, sometimes four times the normal cost. Toners and office supplies are the most likely supplies to be offered, but advertising or listings in catalogs or newspapers run a close second. Please take the following precautions:

  1. Get all information in writing and then check out the company with Purchasing Services.
  2. Never give your equipment serial number/s to any caller you are not familiar with.
  3. Check with or refer the caller to Purchasing Services to confirm business with any company or seller that is questionable.
  4. Establish internal controls within your own department regarding payment of unfamiliar invoices.
  5. Channel all payments through one person in your department if possible.
  6. Use purchase orders, procurement card or request for payment to order or pay.
  7. Check all invoices against purchase orders and procard transactions as well as against the goods or services received.
  8. If a dispute arises with an unauthorized or questionable invoice, notify Purchasing Services immediately.
  9. Allow only authorized purchasers to place orders, receive and initiate payment.
  10. Inform all employees about UNI purchasing, receiving and payment policies.
  11. Always ask supply representatives for their name, company name and telephone number; if they are hesitant, refuse to place the order and hang up.
  12. Always be suspicious if a sales person is pushy, drops familiar names, exhibits rudeness or inappropriate behavior.
  13. If in doubt about any call you receive, immediately transfer the caller to UNI Purchasing Services.
  14. Do NOT accept COD shipments.
  15. Do not accept delivery if there is any question the order is not authorized; notify Purchasing Services immediately and we can refuse/return the shipment.

These supplier names have been associated with less than ethical business practice in the past. This is not a complete list; suppliers change names frequently.

Acme Company American Access American Data
Ameri-Globe Publishing Angeles Distribution Company Atlas Business Supplies
Benchmark Communications Business Communications CCM Supply
Central Distribution, Inc. Certified Supply Center, Inc. Commercial Office Systems, Inc.
Data Direct DataLink Directory Datatech Communications
DataTel Digital Imaging Direct Supply
Distribution Service Center Distribution Warehouse Center District Distribution Corporation
Global Micro Experts GT Toner Supplies Hanson Publications
InfoCom Infomattica Publications Imaging Express
Infotech Publications Infotek Intercoast Supply Center
International Supply Center International Supply Service Interstate Distribution
IT&T Laser Imaging MDSC Publishing
Micro Experts Microtek Solutions National Business Info
National Business Information Exchange National Freight Services National Medical Hospital & Supply Company
National Supply Center Newline Publishing Pin Point Publishing
Premium Marketing Services Purity Medical Products Quality Submit
Regional distribution Center Regional Supply Center, Inc. Simple.Net
Supplies Distribution Network (SDN) Supply Information Center United Media
Upstate Supply, Inc. UPA United Publishers of America UTP Digital Directories
Walstreet B2B, Inc World Data Publishing Yellow-Page.Net
Yellow Pages Publishers    

*UNI accepts no responsibility/liability for suppliers of same or similar name as those that appear above.


Specifications and Standards for Purchases

Specifications should be prepared to assure competition is not restricted or precluded. All requests for purchases at public expense should, whenever possible and practical, be made in general terms addressing functionality rather than brand or trade names. Brand names and/or reference/model numbers, when used, should be for reference purposes, or to indicate the character or quality desired.

Recognition is also given to standardization and compatibility requirements which should be maintained for purposes of cost efficient replacement and maintenance.

The ability of Iowa businesses to compete in bidding for goods and services should be given due consideration when establishing specifications and standards. UNI will continue to observe the goals of quality and economy while meeting the needs of the university.


Surplus Property

Items declared as surplus by any department should be offered or placed within the University if possible. Refer to University Property Policy 8.01 for further additional information. Items may also be used as a trade-in if economically feasible. Disposition thereafter will require soliciting bids, public auction or sale, or dismantling for parts. Contact Purchasing Services or the Fixed Asset Accountant in the Office of Business Operations with questions.

The Campus Warehouse does maintain some surplus furniture in stock for departments to use at no charge. Contact the Fixed Asset Accountant at 273-3527 for more information. Surplus items should not be used in newly renovated spaces without consulting with interior design at Facilities Services.


Vehicle Purchases

Board of Regents' institutions purchase cars, trucks, and vans cooperatively with the Iowa Department of Administrative Services and the Iowa Department of Transportation. Specifications and bids are prepared jointly each fall for new models. Departments planning to purchase a new vehicle must seek approval of the division head and contact either Purchasing Services or the Transportation Manager no later than July 1 so the request can be included in the cooperative purchase specifications.  Specialized vehicles or needs that arise during other times of the year must be competitively bid through Purchasing Services.



Purchasing Services periodically bids and negotiates a contract for vending services for most areas of the campus. The contracted vendor or vendors have the exclusive right to provide food and soft drinks for sale in the contracted areas. Any department, activity, camp, or sponsored program wishing to provide snack or soft drink items to participants should contact Purchasing for information on how to proceed.

All location requests shall take into consideration the potential for noise and traffic disturbances as well as safety issues. Purchasing Services, Facilities Services and the vendor will coordinate all installations. Prior to adding new locations, comments will be sought from other departments in the building.