Information for Suppliers

General Information

The University of Cincinnati (UC) Central Purchasing Department is responsible for procurement of goods and services for the entire university, including Uptown West, Uptown East (Academic Health Center) and Reading Campuses, UC Blue Ash, and UC Clermont. Expenditures exceed three hundred and twenty five million dollars annually.

Since the university must provide for administrative, academic, medical, research, and individual student needs, almost every product and service imaginable is purchased. UC will continue to follow the procurement requirement of OMB Circular A-110 and will utilize the grace period allowed in the Uniform Guidance.

Making Sales Calls

We welcome visits by all sales representatives and offer a few hints for a successful call:

  1. We suggest that you visit Central Purchasing before calling upon any "user" department. Please phone or e-mail for an appointment to ensure that the proper buyer is in the office and available.
  2. When calling the university's academic, medical, research or service departments, always visit their business manager unless requested to do otherwise.
  3. Make each call of maximum value to the university and to the firm you represent. Do you have any new products? Are there changes taking place in your industry? What is likely to happen to the price of your products within the next few months? What ideas can you give us that would save us money?

Register with Us

In order for a supplier to be added to the university’s vendor file the online Vendor Registration form must be submitted.

Note: This process merely registers the vendor with the university.  It does not give the vendor an "approved" or "preferred" status, nor does it preempt the need for Central Purchasing to solicit bids depending on the dollar amount.

Bidding and Quotations

All bidders are expected to thoroughly review their quotations and to abide by the terms and conditions contained therein and on the purchase order or term contract that may result.

UC conducts two kinds of written bid openings:

  • Informal Bids - These are date and time stamped upon receipt and tabulated after the due date. They are not opened in the presence of bidders.
  • Formal Bids - Also called "sealed bids." These are always accompanied by an identifying blue envelope in which (or with which) the bidder submits his/her quotation. Formal bids are advertised in local newspapers and are opened on an appointed day and hour. They are opened in the presence of anyone who wished to attend and may or may not be read aloud. Award decisions are not always announced at that time.
  • Protest of Award - Any protest of an award should be made within 48 hours and directly to the buyer. Verbal protests alone are insufficient and will not warrant further investigation. All letters of protest must contain a statement of the facts and reasons which form the basis of the protest. Vendors are assured that the lodging of any written protest will be promptly investigated and respectfully answered.

Late protests which will prejudice the university or the successful vendor will not be accepted.


The university operates a Central Receiving and Distribution Center for suppliers' convenience. Each contract will identify the address.

In the case of large shipments (truckloads or heavy items) or of equipment requiring your installation, delivery vehicles must stop at the Receiving Center to pick up a verifying store's clerk before proceeding to the final destination.


The University of Cincinnati embraces its role as a leader in environmental stewardship and economic prosperity. As part of this work it seeks to incorporate the concept of sustainability into its programs. Leadership in the administrative units of the university contribute to sustainability efforts through their areas of responsibility such as auxiliary operations, information technology, architecture, construction, grounds-keeping, building maintenance, equipment, transportation and fleet management.

UC Central Purchasing encourages preference to environmentally friendly products whose quality, function, and cost are equal to or better than more traditional products. UC power generation systems for utilities have been transformed to utilize greener fuels and reduce carbon emissions,  UC construction standards require sustainable products to be used in its buildings. Energy Star products dominate the equipment purchased. Fleet vehicles are specified to assure the university meets goals for fuel efficiency and diversification, University Duplicating uses recycled paper or SFI certified products when possible. The university’s food services and stationary supplies contracts include specific sections on its requirements and preferences for green products.

Purchasing builds awareness in the campus community so that departments develop sustainability goals and specify products and services accordingly. Purchasing categories with the greatest potential to maximize these opportunity areas include 1) energy management, 2)consumables, 3) facilities, 4) lamps, 5) cleaning products, 6) disposal services 7) transportation, and 8) professional services. In some cases, purchasing sets the sustainability guidelines; in other cases the departments for which the purchases are made recommend the specifications.

In accordance with the 2019 Sustainability and Climate Action Plan and the strategic direction of Next Lives Here, the University of Cincinnati directs individual departments to specify products that promote consideration for products that are environmentally preferable. Depending on the product these requirements many include:

  • Energy saving, such as ENERGY STAR and EPEAT certified products
  • Recycled content
  • Credit requirements set by LEED (leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)
  • Reusable, refillable packaging
  • Green Seal, Ecologo certified or other independent ecolabeling certifications
  • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification
  • Electronic and paperless processes and web-based catalogs
  • Certification that sweat shop labor not be used
  • Purchase local and/or organic produce when possible

Please consider these interests in exploring your offerings with university staff.

Avoiding Problems

  • Never supply goods or services without a bona fide purchase order.
  • Never present any kind of contract, commitment, sales order, agreement or legal document to anyone outside this department for signature. Others are not authorized by our board of trustees to sign any form of purchase agreement and their signing it would only invalidate your document.
  • Never loan equipment or perform design services with the expectation that you will receive an order without competition. We encourage you to communicate and demonstrate new equipment as it is added to your product line. However, in no case will a demonstration, explanation or loan of equipment be considered as obligatory on the university. Competitive bids will be obtained if the decision to purchase is made. You will receive an order if your bid is determined by the university to be lowest and best.

You should make a rental charge for any unit that remains in our possession on trial beyond thirty (30) days. We would suggest 1/60 the value of the unit if no rental charge has been established by your firm. Rental payments must be applicable to any subsequent purchase. (The university department must initiate a requisition for us to recognize and process this invoice for the trial period in excess of 30 days. Remember, if we decide to buy, competition will be obtained.)

This "no obligation assistance policy" must also be understood in advance with printers, business form providers and other vendors who offer advance design assistance as a normal adjunct to solicitation. Assistance provides exposure, not commitment.

When competitively bid, the university will not pay for printing overruns. Otherwise, overruns and underruns must be limited to 5 percent.

If this policy will cause a hardship for you in any way, please ask to see the Associate VP of Purchasing before a problem occurs.