The Purchasing Process
What comes first, a requisition or an invoice? What’s the purpose of a Purchase Order? How do vendors get paid?
In our conversations with the Indiana University community, we occasionally notice uncertainty over the most fundamental aspects of the purchasing process. Most concerns boil down to a single, simple question: How do I buy?
While P-Cards continue to serve a purpose for certain small-dollar and emergency purchases, the vast majority of transactions at IU should begin with a requisition in EPIC and end with final payment processed by Accounts Payable. The entire cycle is described in The Purchasing Process Interactive Poster, a unique training tool designed to illustrate the process for initiating and completing successful purchases at Indiana University.
Please take a moment to explore this online resource, and be sure to contact a Purchasing staff member or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
The Indiana University Copier Fair
The Indiana University Copier Fair returns this April to provide hands-on answers to all your copier questions… along with light refreshments! Whether your copier lease is expiring, your department’s needs are changing, or you simply want to learn more about the newest copying technologies and issues; we encourage you to attend this informative event.
IU Purchasing and Copy Machines will be hosting this year’s fair in the Indiana Memorial Union Solarium on the Bloomington campus, from 10:00am to 3:00pm on Tuesday, April 5. IU’s major copier suppliers and manufacturers will give presentations and showcase a wide variety of equipment designed to meet a range of needs and budgets. The latest technologies will be demonstrated, including; scanning, faxing, duplexing, black-and-white and color printing. Departments can also learn how to save several cents per page by using newer, more energy-efficient models.
The IU Copy Machines Department will host an information table allowing you to request quotes and product literature, and representatives from Purchasing will be available to offer buying guidance.
New for this year, Scott Wilson from Indiana University Information Security will be on-hand to address important data protection issues, providing best practices and a list of questions to evaluate equipment offerings in light of sensitive data requirements. It will be a great opportunity to learn about this important and rapidly evolving issue.
No registration is required. Attendees can come any time between 10:00am and 3:00pm. For more information, contact Lisa Burchenson at email@example.com.
Vendor Sponsored Travel
Your department has been preparing for a major purchase. You’ve worked with Purchasing Staff to gather information about your various alternatives, and you’ve discussed service and inventory with the recommended vendor representatives. During one of these conversations you are invited to visit one of the vendor’s flagship factories, where you can see their commitment to quality first hand. The question is… should you accept the offer?
If the vendor will be providing transportation or accommodation for the trip, the answer has to be no.
Vendors often offer travel as a sales incentive, inviting potential customers to visit their headquarters or attend their sponsored conferences. While such trips may be informative, they cannot be paid for by the vendor. Travel expenses constitute a gratuity, and accepting such a gift is in direct violation of several IU policies regarding purchasing ethics, including Policy 3.4 (Gratuities).
Recurring Orders Have an Expiration Date
Recurring Orders - often associated with service agreements, leases, and other scheduled contracts – allow multiple invoices and payments to be processed against a single Purchase Order (PO). Such POs are assigned a recurring order begin and end date, specifying the period of time over which the PO should remain open.
When the established end date passes, the PO might not close instantly. However, whenever the EPIC system is refreshed, all POs with expired end dates are automatically closed. These system refreshes may occur at any time, so Purchasing strongly recommends that users of recurring orders monitor their end dates carefully to ensure that POs remain open for the necessary duration.
To help, we’ve created a new IUIE report: “Recurring Orders by User Name”. This report facilitates searches for recurring orders by chart, organization, and the user names of associated requestors, fiscal officers, or fiscal officer delegates. That refined pool of POs can then be filtered for any recurring order end dates that occur on or before a specified date. Enter today’s date, for example, to find any POs that have already expired and are in danger of being closed.
If prematurely expiring POs are discovered, contact the appropriate staff member to request the recurring order end date be amended. The required steps are provided in a previous newsletter article, “Instructions for Amending Purchase Orders”.
A detailed description of the report can be found on the IUIE FAQ page of our website.
New Training Opportunities
A new stable of Purchasing resources and training classes are slated for release in 2011, beginning with bi-monthly Basic EPIC classes in Bloomington and IUPUI. You can register for classes in either location by clicking the link below for the campus nearest you:
We hope to bring the training to other regional campuses later this year. To compliment this face-to-face approach, we encourage all our users to explore the range of written and interactive materials available on the Documentation tab in EPIC, or through the Training tab of the Procurement Services website. Highlights include a newly revised Vendor Entry & Modification guide, as well as a library of video tutorials covering the most common EPIC tasks.
A redesign of the Procurement Services website will yield more educational resources in the coming months, including an expanded and revised list of Frequently Ask Questions and a new range of “Quick Guides” to provide simple written instructions for the most common purchasing procedures. Look to future editions of this newsletter for updates.
If you have any questions regarding the current training schedule or educational materials for Indiana University Purchasing, please contact Travis Waugh.
Custom Stamps from Guy Brown
Guy Brown recently unveiled a new tool for ordering custom stamps. IU users can visit Guy Brown’s external site to specify the shape, content, font, and other formatting details for a uniquely designed stamp. The stamp is previewed online, allowing immediate completion of the order using a P-Card.
Full instructions, including the website address and required login information, are provided in the Guy Brown Custom Stamp Ordering Instructions (PDF).
Obtaining a P-Card
An electronic version of the new US Bank Purchasing Card application is now available. To request a new P-Card account:
- View the Online Procurement Card Application
- Login with your IU user name and passphrase.
- Read the overview of the IU purchasing card program, and click Create Application when you are ready to proceed.
- Satisfy all required fields on the online application, including:
- A name to appear on the card.
- The name and mailing address of the responsible cardholder.
- Full details for the university account to be associated with this card.
- Add any additional notes, read the Employee Conditions, and click Submit this Application to finalize your request.
You will receive an email when the application is processed and another when the card is distributed.
If you have any questions about Purchasing Card policies or procedures, including steps for activating and maintaining your card online, please view the P-Card page of the Procurement Services website.
New Scientific Deals
The Purchasing Department is proud to announce several new pricing agreements that are already in effect, benefiting the users of scientific equipment at IU:
This agreement reflects discounts off Nikon list pricing for over 1500 items. While the list does not represent the complete line offered by Nikon, it does include the majority of products IU would normally order. The agreement also includes free onsite installation unless specified otherwise on a quote and FOB Destination shipping terms. As a result of this agreement, any orders under $100 cannot be placed on a PO and will have to be ordered with a P-Card.
- Cell Biosciences
This agreement reflects a discount off Cell Biosciences list pricing for the Fluorchem, Alpha Imager and NanoPro equipment lines, along with their Red and Fractionator systems. FOB destination shipping terms are included in the agreement, as is a one year warranty.
This agreement reflects significant discounts off list prices for many pieces of Eppendorf equipment and accesories, along with New Brunswick Scientific lines. Standard ground transportation charges will apply when using this agreement.
NOTE: Eppendorf items previously available from Fisher Scientific can still be purchased through Fisher’s “Shop Contracts” (B2B) site, though Fisher prices may differ from those available with the direct Eppendorf agreement.
The epMotion system, accessories, tips, reservoirs, RealPlex Realtime PCR, and New Brunswick Scientific Innova Shakers must be purchased directly from Eppendorf.
This agreement reflects a minimum discount off Olympus list pricing for their educational (CX, SZ) and clinical and research microscopes (BS, CKX, IX, SZX). It also includes cameras, software, imaging equipment and other third party products. The agreement features a five year warranty for mechanical or optical defects, and a one year warranty for electrical, electronic or wear-related components.
Create a Requisition in EPIC to initiate purchases from any of these suppliers. Click the “Available Contracts” button on the vendor tab to select and return the appropriate vendor. If you have any questions about the available items, prices, or terms of service; contact Tom Westerhof.
Be sure to join the Scientific Purchasing Listserv for the latest updates regarding IU scientific commodity contracts and procedures.