Augustana requires the bid process be followed for all purchases of goods or services within these guidelines. The Purchasing Office is available and willing to assist in any or all of this process.
Purchasing maintains a list of primary vendors and previously bid contracts. It is expected that these contracts be utilized first whenever possible unless better pricing can be obtained elsewhere, keeping in mind the value of time spent away from core activities while seeking other pricing.
It is not necessary to use the bid process when utilizing existing primary vendor contracts as the bid guidelines have already been followed and documented by the Purchasing Office in establishing these agreements.
Exceptions may exist which preclude issuing a bid; however, all such exceptions involving goods or services exceeding $25,000.00 must be evaluated and approved by the Cabinet prior to purchase to ensure that forgoing the bid process is in the best interest of the College.
The bidding process consists of three (3) levels depending on the value of the purchase/contract:
Formal Written Bids ($25,000+): Formal written bids are used for goods or services over $25,000.00 and primary vendor contracts exceeding $25,000.00 annually. Formal written bids may come in the form of Requests for Bid (RFB), Request for Quote (RFQ), or Request for Pricing (RFP). The General Counsel and Director of Purchasing must review all contracts exceeding $25,000.00 prior to execution.
Informal Bids ($5000-$25,000): An informal bid process is used for goods or services over $5000.00 but less than $25,000.00, including Primary Supplier contracts not exceeding $25,000.00 annually. A summary statement of the informal bid process must accompany all resulting contracts and must include information regarding the method of bids (e.g., written, telephone, in person, e-mail, and fax). The Director of Purchasing must review and sign all contracts $5,000 or greater prior to execution.
It is the responsibility of the department chair or director to ensure an unbiased bid is secured by at least three (3) potential suppliers. The following steps should be taken for all bids:
- Need is determined and specifications which will best fulfill that need are identified and established.
- An RRB, RFQ, RFP, (or similar formal bid document) is developed with the assistance of the Purchasing Office for bids over $25,000. A verbal or written request for quote may be used for bids less than $25,000.
- An unbiased evaluation system based on the "Criteria for award" (see below) should be established and communicated in the bid document.
- At least three (3) qualified vendors are identified and bids are submitted. For bids less than $25,000 if verbally requested, documentation is required detailing vendors contacted, date, and criteria and results of the evaluation selection process used.
- Returned bids are reviewed using the evaluation system outlined in the bid document and vendor is selected.
- A Purchase Order may be issued or contract signed (for services and Primary Vendor) and returned to the successful bidder.
- Unsuccessful bidders are notified either verbally or in writing.
Negotiated Pricing Requests (less than $5000.00): Non competitive negotiations may be used to purchase goods or services when any of the following conditions exist:
- When goods or service is less than $5,000, (including items under $1,000 purchased with P-Card).
- When requestor can justify in writing that competition does not exist or would not be in the best interest of the college.
- Extending existing term of previously bid agreement or contract.
- When the item to be purchased is proprietary or sole source item (e.g. Dell computers, Scientific or other equipment manufactured by only one vendor and sold direct).
- When a purchase is of an emergency nature and it is impractical to seek competitive bids ("emergency" purchases should be as competitive as possible under the circumstances and an inquiry by the Purchasing Office may be requested with the department chair or director after the invoice is received to verify competitive pricing negotiation was attempted).
- For most P-Card purchases not bought through existing contracts or agreements.
- For any other compelling reason deemed in the best interest of the college. (An example might be when it would require extensive retraining or tooling to switch vendors for a given group of products like janitorial chemicals).
NOTE: Spot pricing verification will be performed routinely by the Purchasing Office and any pricing disparities will be discussed with the purchaser and his/her supervisor with recommendations as to appropriate methodologies. When negotiated method is used (other than when extending terms of a previously bid contract) competitive pricing should be sought unless the supplier or contractor used has an ongoing documented history of providing the best available price or unless the dollar value is so insignificant as to negate any potential savings.