Vehicle Purchasing Tips

Did you know that UA’s fiscal year coincides with most vehicle manufacturer’s production cycles? One of the biggest challenges with meeting vehicle purchase needs is the reduction of inventory for current year model vehicles as the fiscal year progresses. The best chance to find your desired vehicle in stock is October through February of each cycle. For vehicles that are not found in stock, production lead times are also more favorable early in the fiscal year before manufacturers begin to turn their attention to the next year model production. Now is the time to plan for and request vehicles to meet your FY18 needs.

Contract and Grant Accounting and Purchasing Updates

Starting October 1st, Contract and Grant Accounting (CGA), with the help of Procurement, will require documentation of more than one rate quote for any purchase greater than or equal to $10,000 and charged to sponsored project funds. This change will ensure the University complies with Federal regulations found in 2 CFR 200 without impacting purchases charged to funds not managed by CGA. POs/p-card transactions submitted to CGA for approval will be rejected if documentation of price comparison (at time of purchase) for similar items or services totaling $10,000 or more is not present. This documentation may be as simple as a screen shot from two suppliers’ websites. All purchases will still be subject to the University’s policies and procedures as well as the State of Alabama Bid Law which requires purchases of $15,000 or more should be competitively bid. As the lower, $10,000, threshold is only applied to charges to sponsored project funds, any journal entries moving charges to a sponsored project also will require documentation of a price comparison conducted at the time of purchase. For example, the purchase of an item over $10,000 charged to a department fund that you later want to move to a sponsored project will require the appropriate documentation or the move will not be allowed. Sole source would also be acceptable as long as approved by Purchasing. Should you have any questions, please contact Contract and Grant Accounting.

Order Placement and Method of Payment Options

With all of these new systems and electronic processes in place, how do I place my order and pay for it?
Does that question speak to you? As the procurement process continues to become more automated and transparent, it is important to remember that only the systems used have changed, and not the actual fundamental method for which transactions should be completed and paid.

The following outlines the four primary Order Placement and Method of Payment options (in order of preferred method):

Transaction TypePlacement MethodPayment Method
Orders placed with Catalog Vendors in the buyBAMA marketplace using a University P-CardbuyBAMAP-Card
Orders placed outside of buyBAMA using a University P-CardIn-Store or through vendor websitesP-Card
Orders placed through buyBAMA using a University issued Purchase OrderbuyBAMAInvoice to Accounts Payable
"Other" goods or services that do not fit purchase order process and/or vendors do not accept P-CardVariesConcur
Invoice Payment Request

Still confused about what to do?
Please always remember the following resource: UA’s Expenditure Matrix.

The Expenditure Matrix assists campus partners in identifying the appropriate method of payment for common expenditures based on commodity type. The Expenditure Matrix is the recommended first stop if you aren’t sure exactly how to complete your transaction.

We understand that the procurement process can be overwhelming at times. We highly recommend taking the time to review UA’s Purchasing Guidelines page which provides a detailed and instructional viewpoint of the procurement process from vendor selection to payment. And, as always, never hesitate to contact the Purchasing Department by phone at 348-5230 for direct assistance with your question.

Preparing for Year End FY17

Year end for Fiscal Year 2017 is just around the corner. Fall semester will begin soon and thoughts will turn to, “what do we need to buy and what projects do we need to complete before year end?” Please remember to plan ahead and get your FY17 year-end purchases started early. If you are ordering supplies, upgrading a classroom or renovating a space, please allow plenty of time for Purchasing to address your needs. The deadline for submitting requests for purchase orders in FY17 is the close of business on Monday, September 25, 2017. Our staff will be happy to assist you with your needs for upcoming purchases and projects.

If you have orders that involve new furniture, please make sure to submit your request to Furnishings & Design no later than August 15, 2017. This will allow time to evaluate the project, obtain quotes and process your order.

Purchasing Contract Update:
Gulf Coast Office Products, current holder of our crimson and white shaker contract, was recently purchased by Staples. Moving forward, all shaker purchases will need to be directed to Staples through Elayne Neubert, elayne.neubert@staples.com. All other information in the contract will remain the same. If you have any questions please contact Jana Weaver, jweaver@fa.ua.edu.

New to Purchasing at UA? Here are a few tips…

  • Procurement Services offers a Procure-to-Pay training class monthly which informs participants of the basic procurement process from vendor selection through final payment. Interested campus partners can register for the class through Skillport.
  • Campus partners new to purchasing will likely need buyBAMA access in order to utilize the University’s electronic procurement system. Faculty or staff members who will need access can request through the buyBAMA page of the Purchasing website.
  • Should you have any questions related to the purchasing process, please feel free to contact Purchasing at 348-5230. Our Purchasing staff is always available to assist you!

Purchasing Guidelines

We have recently enhanced the purchasing guidelines page on the Purchasing website. Our more detailed guidelines are intended to provide campus partners with the information necessary to determine the following:

  • How to select a vendor?
  • Which order placement method to use?
  • How payment should be made?

Please visit the Purchasing Guidelines page to learn more about the purchasing process at UA. Please contact Purchasing at 348-5230 with any questions.

Best Buy Contract Update

As of May 15, 2017, Best Buy was removed from buyBAMA as a catalog vendor due to changes with their eProcurement system. Unfortunately, due to this change, Best Buy is no longer an Approved Contract vendor. Please utilize other catalog vendors through the buyBAMA marketplace for your electronics needs. If you have any questions, please email buybama@fa.ua.edu.

Relocation Procedures

It’s that time of year when many new incoming employees will need Moving and Relocation services. To aid in this demand, the University maintains two contracts with national van lines. Both contractors can provide in-state, out-of-state, and international moving services. Any department who has allocated funds to a new employee for moving assistance should complete a Request for Estimate of Moving Services form and submit to Gieva’ Patton. Please note that this form is also required for employees who prefer to move themselves and be reimbursed for moving expenses. Additional information can be found on the Procedures for Relocation page on the Purchasing website.

Because now through September is the peak moving season and moving dates will book quickly, please submit forms as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please contact Gieva’ Patton, 205-348-6506.

What is a Sole Source Purchase?

Whenever you or your department have a need for products or services that are not available from contract vendors and exceed the State of Alabama bid limit of $15,000, it is appropriate to investigate potential vendors who can meet your needs. If during your investigation it becomes clear there is only one source to purchase from, Purchasing may approve your purchase as a sole source and waive the competitive bid process. Please note, a sole source cannot be based on price.

Please see Purchasing’s Sole Source Justification Requirements for additional information and guidance through the process.

Your sole source justification along with all other pertinent supporting documents should be provided to the appropriate Senior Buyer in Purchasing for a review and approval prior to initiating your purchase. Please do not hesitate to contact Purchasing at 348-5230 should you have any questions regarding the sole source process.

Branding and Licensing Approval

The University of Alabama’s Division of Strategic Communications, Trademark Licensing and Procurement Services have joined together to help University Departments and organizations protect and enhance the University’s reputation by ensuring public-facing promotions adhere to the approved brand standards.

Beginning March 1, 2017, the Licensing Approval Form will be the Branding and Licensing Approval Form. This form will be mandatory for any University advertising purchases. This includes but is not limited to print advertising, brochures and other collateral materials, giveaway items, invitations, digital ads and graphics, radio and television ads, outdoor advertisements such as billboards, magazine, and other promotional materials. Promotional items and clothing will continue to use this form as they have previously.

This guidance will also apply to any sponsorships in which UA’s logo or any other artwork will be included in any of the event materials. Prior to obtaining sponsorship approval from Accounts Payable, the sponsorship must be routed through the Branding and Licensing Approval Form process.

For more information on the updated policy, please visit the Brand Approval page on the Strategic Communications website.