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Central PurchasingUniversity of CincinnatiDivision of Administration and FinancingCentral Purchasing

Central Purchasing

Information for Suppliers

General Information

The University of Cincinnati is a state institution with its own Board of Trustees. We competitively bid much of what we buy. Generally, bidding is conducted electronically (phone, fax, e-mail) for small dollar purchases, and in writing for larger requirements. Buyers will select prospective bidders in a number proportionate to each expenditure, ordinarily choosing firms that they evaluate as offering a maximum effort in competition and service. At thirty thousand dollars, advertisements are placed in two local newspapers. As a State institution, we are privileged to use State contracts. We also participate in joint purchase agreements with the State Universities Council, the City of Cincinnati, and others.


Making Sales Calls

We welcome visits by all sales representatives and offer these few hints for promotion of 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 upon 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?

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Register With Us

In order for a suppliers to be added to the university‚Äôs vendor file the on-line 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 pre-empt the need for Central Purchasing to solicit bids depending on the dollar amount.

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Bidding & 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.

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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.

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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.

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