Purchasing Services FAQ

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If you have questions regarding this information, please call us at (989) 774-3118.

Q.  How should departments process orders that are less than $5,000?

A.  Purchases under this amount should be handled as follows:

Purchases less than $5,000 should be made either using the CMU Business Card or NPO voucher.  Please see the Payroll/Travel website for purchases not allowed on the business card. Business card restricted items (i.e. computers, iPads) must be handled by C&PS through a purchase requisition or contract and not purchased using any other means.

Q. When are competitive bids required?
A. A competitive solicitation process is required for all purchases $5,000 and above. If a competitive bid is not done, an exception must be requested through the Director of Contracting and Purchasing Services.

Requisition or project approvals are required as follows:
Up to $500K - VP/Provost
$501K to $1M - President
$1,000,001 and above - Board of Trustees

Q. How do I find out if my purchase requisition has been made into a purchase order?
A. Log on to SAP. Go to: Logistics > Material Management > Purchase Order > List Display > By Account Assignment.
Enter your cost center (org #) then click on the check mark with a red circle above it.
This display will show PO#, vendor name, price of items and the item ordered.

Q. How do I request a sole source purchase for a purchase over $5,000?
A. A sole source purchase is for an item which can only be purchased from one vendor (thus a competitive environment does not exist). Adequate justification is required substantiating that no other vendor can supply the item. Also provide reasons for the request for this item (e.g. compatibility, spare parts, labor, training, design/performance specifications and/or uniformity). Finally, if it is known, provide the names of other universities that have purchased the item so they can be contacted to evaluate the vendors price quoted.

Q. Can I charge a purchase to more than one cost center?
A. Yes, you can charge purchase to more than one cost center, you must contact Purchasing's administrative staff at (989)774-3118 to make this change.

Q. How do I return an item purchased on a purchase order?
A. Contact the appropriate buyer and provide the following information: Vendor name, PO number, and the reason for the return. Some vendors may charge a restocking fee for returned items. Note: If Central Receiving is not notified of the return, your cost center (org #) will show the money as committed.

Q. Can I handle the return myself?
A. Yes, but Payable Accounting, Central Receiving and Purchasing need to know some of the return information to make sure everything is covered. Contact the Purchasing Department for a copy of the suggested return process and required return letters.

Q. Who do I contact to expedite an item purchased on a purchase order?
A. Contact Purchasing's Administrative Staff at (989) 774-3118 and provide the appropriate PO number.

Q. What does encumbered mean?
A. It means that funds are reserved until the item is actually paid for. PO’s are always encumbered while credit card transactions are not.

Q. Will I be reminded to renew Maintenance Agreements (MA) and Blanket Purchase Order (BPO) currently in place?
A. Yes, a copy of the current MA/BPO will be sent to the department one month prior to the MA/BPO expiration date. Vendors are responsible for contacting the department regarding renewal costs and other pertinent information. If the department has not received any information from the vendor, contact the vendor and request the information.