Purchasing

The Department uses the University R12 iProcurement system for the purchase of goods and services. This is a system whereby shoppers create shopping carts for goods and services typically from on-line supplier catalogues, the carts when complete are automatically sent to supervisors for approval and onward processing by the accounts team. The advantages include direct access to supplier catalogues where product pricing has already been negotiated through the University purchasing department (value for money), time savings as paper requisitions are no longer required to be completed and increased speed in placing the orders.

All requests to purchase goods and/or services should follow the purchasing procedures as stated in the financial regulations. Where possible items should be purchased from preferred suppliers. Where items are purchased from preferred suppliers no quote is necessary for purchases between £1000 and £25,000 excluding VAT. Purchases from all other suppliers for goods and services less than £1000 (excluding VAT) require confirmation of the price of the item - ie stated on the requisition. For items priced between £1,000 and £25,000 purchased from a non-preferred supplier, then two or more written quotations must be supplied with the requisition. These must clearly have been sent from the suppliers, and contain sufficient detail to show that they are quotes for the same item(s).

Goods priced between £25,000 and £100,000 excluding VAT are subject to the full tender procedure, which must be carried out in collaboration with the University's Purchasing Department, and include Tim McAree (Financial Administrator) in the process. This is not only a University requirement, but also one stipulated by Research Councils and other funding bodies when awarding money for these purchases.

Below provides advice about choosing a supplier and finding the supplier with best value for money.

Checklist for ordering standard small items.

  • Decide what sort of item you want to buy.
  • Check if there is already departmental advice about purchasing that sort of item and if not consider who could advise you. (is it a Stores item already?)
  • Choose a supplier (check Departmental Purchasing Advice, check list of university suppliers by product category. if you wish to buy from a Supplier who does not feature in the University’s Purchasing database, please seek guidance from the Department’s finance team. 
  • Consider costs - always compare costs for several different suppliers (total cost including vat and delivery charges). Note that many of the preferred suppliers offer discounts on the public prices, and it is often difficult to know how to access the discounted prices in order to make a comparison between suppliers (hence the need for Departmental Purchasing Advice below).
  • Consider stock availability - many suppliers deliver within a couple of days of receiving the purchase order but if the item is out of stock delays can be months.
  • Consider costs of processing orders - one order to one expensive company may be more cost-effective than multiple orders to multiple cheaper companies
  • Prepare requisition according to the Requisitions, Orders and Equipment Purchasing Information

University Purchasing Advice

There is a central university purchasing office. They keep a central list of suppliers as listed by product category. The assumption is that it is best practice to order from preferred suppliers since if everyone in the university uses them then the university is a big customer and therefore should get a big discount. The preferred suppliers have been selected on a wide range of criteria affecting value for money (not just price). The suppliers database tries to give access to the special pricing details.

Departmental Purchasing Advice

Summaries of departmental experience of purchasing is available for the following categories of purchases. This advice is based of local experience within this department and due to constant changes in the market may be out-of-date. Please send any comments or corrections to the webmaster.

Online purchasing: The department cannot purchase online, e.g. from Amazon or ebay etc. When goods are not available from other suppliers seek written approval in advance from the Finance Team if purchasing on personal credit card to claim back on expenses (but there may be HMRC tax implications in doing so). 

Stationery: many stationery supplies are stocked by departmental Stores. If you need to purchase directly, Office Depot is the preferred supplier for stationery.

Computers: IT support keep stock of standard desktops and laptops. Computers are standardized for ease of support/management. Talk to IT staff for current stock levels and specifications. The university Dell pricing is available via R12 marketplace punchout. The university cannot buy direct from Apple (due to terms&conditions) therefore all Apple purchases go through XMA with pricing available via R12 marketplace punchout. Higher performance systems a typically sourced from PCspecialist or Scan etc. Discuss with IT staff.

Print Consumables: XMA are the recommended suppliers for toners and printers with pricing available via R12 marketplace punchout.  The Department has standardized upon Ricoh for photocopiers and HP for laser printers. Usually we purchase original high capacity toners rather than risking using cheaper remanufactured cartridges. Discuss with IT staff.

IT components: Insight are the recommended supplier for computer components and peripherals with pricing available via R12 marketplace punchout. The department also has dealings with other suppliers. IT support staff keep many common components in stock. Discuss with IT staff.