Vendor Guide

Introduction

The purpose of this document is to acquaint prospective bidders and suppliers with the purchasing procedures used by the University of Connecticut. The University intends that its purchasing be conducted in accordance with State laws and University policies and procedures such that students, staff, faculty and taxpayers receive full value for each dollar of public funds spent. To that end, the University’s procedures conform to open, ethical and sound procurement policies. Qualified suppliers, therefore, are invited to compete for the University’s business, which consists of a variety of goods and services.University contracts are awarded to the lowest responsible bidder – price, quality and other prescribed selection factors considered. Where price and other factors are identical (tie bids), preference in awarding contracts is given to Connecticut bidders. Lots will be drawn for ties between two or more Connecticut vendors.The Purchasing Department is divided into purchasing teams handling specified commodities and/or services. Staff names, telephone and e-mail numbers are found in the staff directory. The department working hours 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.This manual is intended to provide useful information about doing business with the University of Connecticut including the bidding, award and payment processes. Please refer any questions you may have to the appropriate purchasing agent handling the commodities or services you sell. To find the appropriate purchasing agent, click here.

How to market your products and services

The Purchasing Department maintains active lists of vendors for the purpose of soliciting quotations and proposals for various categories of commodities and services as the needs are identified.

Contacting the Purchasing Department

Prospective suppliers are encouraged to send a catalog, line card or other listing of products/services offered along with the following information for our vendor file and bid lists.You can download the Vendor Application Form or call (860) 486-2619 to have a copy faxed or mailed.The Vendor Application Form should be addressed to the purchasing agent who handles the products/services you have to offer. Click here for commodity lists.All information should be mailed to the address below:

University of Connecticut
Purchasing Department Unit 6076
3 Discovery Drive
Storrs, Connecticut 06269-6076

If a vendor wishes to make personal contact with the appropriate purchasing agent, appointments are preferred. Sales contacts with the Purchasing Department are normally scheduled between the hours of 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon and 1:00 PM o 4:00 PM.

Marketing to Campus Departments

Vendors should consider marketing products directly to departmental personnel. Since campus departments determine which supplies, equipment or services to purchase and are instrumental in initiating specifications for the equipment, supplies and/or services they require, marketing contacts are recognized as a necessary part of educating users on the capabilities and varieties of products in the marketplace. Unexpected or unsolicited calls are not encouraged. Every effort should be made to make an appointment with the appropriate department personnel prior to your visit.

All requests for product evaluations (excluding sample supplies) should be made through the Purchasing Department. A ‘University Equipment Loan Agreement’ is issued at the departmental level for equipment left for trial. Before a purchase order can be issued, the vendor must sign an agreement, which denotes the vendor’s responsibility for liability and for any installation and/or shipping costs associated with the equipment. Failure to follow this procedure could result in financial loss.

Parking on Campus

Parking permits are required for all vehicles on campus. Parking instructions and permits are issued at Parking Services, 3 Discovery Drive. Valid permits allow parking in areas designated by Parking Services. Parking in handicap spaces without a permit, in front of fire hydrants, in fire lanes, on lawns or sidewalks is strictly prohibited and may result in towing at the owner’s expense. If you park in a metered space you are responsible for meter payment.

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Purchasing Procedures

Order Procedure and Dollar Thresholds

Order procedure for purchases under $10,000.00, except those using Federal grant funds: One signed quote is required, although the Purchasing Department may solicit multiple quotes. Orders may not be split to circumvent the threshold.

Purchases in excess of $10,000.00 but less than or equal to $50,000.00 require a formal bid process in which a minimum of six bids (departmental policy) are solicited and a formal bid opening is conducted.

Purchases above $50,000.00: This procedure is similar to the University’s formal bid process. However, these solicitations are publicly advertised.

The Purchasing Department opens the bids and completes the evaluation. Once an award has been determined, the Purchasing Department issues a purchase order to the lowest responsible and responsive bidder.

Communication with Vendors in Quotation/Bid Process

In order to achieve fair and equitable competition and to maintain the integrity of the purchasing process, vendor discussions with University personnel concerning a bid/quote request must be coordinated through the assigned purchasing agent.

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Solicitation Documents

  • Requests for Quotations (RFQ): The Requests for Quotation are generally used to purchase goods and/or services. Responses must be in writing and must be delivered sealed to the Purchasing Department. Faxed quotations from vendors are acceptable only if so stated in the bid.
  • Requests for Proposals (RFP): A Request for Proposals may be used in establishing contracts, which seek creativity or different ways of accomplishing a task. The RFP may be handled in the same manner as a Request for Quotations. As with RFQs, responses to RFPs must be in writing and delivered sealed to the Purchasing Department.
  • Quotation: A Request for Quotations (RFQ) also may be in the form of a telephone request or a faxed request.
State Contracts

The Connecticut Department of Administrative Services/Bureau of Purchasing awards contracts through competition to cover designated state agencies for a period of one or more years. Although the University of Connecticut is not obligated to utilize state contracts, they remain an option the University may utilize when appropriate.

Responding to RFQs/RFPs

The Request for Quotations (RFQ) or Request for Proposals (RFP) provides all the necessary instructions and a complete description of the requirement(s), with specifications, terms and conditions to enable the preparation of a bid.

Responsibility of Bidders

Prospective suppliers should be financially sound and able to perform fully, according to the specifications, delivery requirements, services and other stipulations in the RFQ/RFP at the price(s) offered. In cases where the awarded contractor refuses to comply with the resultant contract, the University reserves the right to purchase on the open market and charge the contractor for any excess costs incurred.

Bid Requirements

Each responding vendor is responsible for carefully reading the RFQ/RFP and understanding its contents. Vendors who have previously submitted bids for the same commodity or service should not presume that the specifications, terms and conditions are necessarily the same. There may be differences that would only be realized after carefully reading the entire bid document. Any questions related to the bid should be directed to the purchasing agent named in the solicitation document.

Key Standard Bid Terms
  • Bid Delivery: Bids will be received at the address cited in the RFQ/RFP on or before the date and time specified. Generally, bids are opened at 2:00 PM on the specified opening date. A bid will not be considered for evaluation if delivered after this time. It is the vendor’s responsibility to make sure that the bid is submitted on time and to the proper place.
  • Signature: All solicitation documents must be properly signed and executed in the designated place(s). Signatures in ink are a requirement to properly execute the bid. Failure to properly execute a bid may result in the bid not being considered for award.
  • Price Alterations or Withdrawal of Bid Prior to Bid Opening: Any price corrections on bids should be individually initialed in ink. Price corrections may only be made, or a bid may only be withdrawn prior to opening. In order to make corrections or withdraw a bid, proper identification must be presented.
  • Additional Information: For those bids requiring prices lists, product literature or other information, such material must be provided in accordance with the instructions outlined in the RFQ/RFP.
Pre-Bid Conferences/Site Inspections

When the solicitation documents stipulates a mandatory conference or site inspection, interested vendors must attend the conference or site visit at the specified place, time, and date or their bids will be automatically rejected. Such requirements are intended to supply vendors with the valuable information or visual inspection that the University deems to be an essential element for ensuring the completeness and responsiveness of a bid.

Terms and Conditions

All solicitation documents are subject to the specified terms and conditions. Please read these terms and conditions carefully. The inclusion of any other terms and conditions by the vendor will be considered as an alternate, subject to the University’s acceptance or rejection. Terms and conditions included as part of published price lists, catalogs, and other documents submitted as a part of the bid response are considered to be waived and will have no effect either on the bid, or any contract which may be awarded. The bidder specifically agrees to the terms and conditions specified in the RFQ/RFP by signing the University bid document unless exception is taken in writing.

Bonding

The University does not normally require bid bonds. Performance bonds, however, may be called for with or without expense to the University. Alternative bonding methods may also be provided. Otherwise, in the case of default of the contractor, the University may procure the articles or services from other sources and hold the contractor responsible for excess costs incurred.

Questions about the RFQ/RFP

If you have any questions prior to submitting a bid, contact the purchasing agent whose name and telephone number is on each RFQ/RFP. Once the bid opening has occurred, no changes by the vendor will be permitted.

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Bid Evaluation, Award, Performance, and Payment

Bid Opening

Request for Quotation (RFQs) and Requests for Proposal (RFPs) are opened and the names of the bidders, the manufacturers and catalog number(s) of the item(s) they have offered, prices, delivery and payment terms they have submitted, become public record. All other information is confidential during the evaluation period. Requests for detailed or written tabulations and abstracts cannot be honored.

Evaluation

During the period of evaluation and prior to award, possession of bids and accompanying information is limited to the University personnel involved in the evaluation process. At the discretion of the appropriate purchasing agent, vendors may be contacted where clarification of a proposal is necessary for proper evaluation; however, in doing so, no change is permitted in prices.

Being the “low bidder” does not necessarily mean that an award will be made to that vendor. The purpose of the evaluation process is to determine the “best buy” for the University, taking into consideration selection criteria in the RFQ/RFP and the factors spelled out by procedure and statute.

Factors Determining Award

Some factors considered in addition to price are quality, adherence to specifications, delivery, service, warranty, and other factors depending on the intended use of the commodity or service required.

The University reserves the right to waive technicalities or minor discrepancies in any bid, if in its judgment and without any prejudice to any rights of other responsive bidders, the best interest of the University would be served.

Awards are made to the lowest acceptable responsive qualified bidder who meets all specifications, terms and conditions of the bid proposal. This is determined by the following:

  • Price
  • Date and terms of delivery.
  • Ability, capacity and skill of the bidder.
  • Cash discounts.**Should any two or more tied bidders offer identical cash discounts or no cash discount, preference will be given to State of Connecticut bidders and lots will be drawn. When time permits, those bidders will be invited to the drawing.

The University reserves the right to make awards by item, groups of items or total bid, whichever it deems is in the best interest of the University. The University may also reject any bid, in whole or in part, or reject all bids if it determines that the lowest bid exceeds the funds available for purchase, or if the lowest bid is considered in excess of current reasonable market prices.

Bid Rejection

Any bid which does not meet, or substantially alters the specifications, bid terms or conditions of a proposal may be rejected in whole or part. The University reserves the right to reject any or all bids if the best interests of the University will be served.

Errors, alterations, or corrections on both the original and copy of the bid proposal must be initialed by the person signing the bid proposal or the authorized designee. This includes erasures, alterations or corrections to unit price, total price, quantity, unit and description of commodities and/or service. Failure to do so will result in rejection of the bid for the applicable item or items.

Other factors that are cause for rejection of a bid:

  • Bid is prepared in pencil or bid proposal is unsigned by vendor.
  • Bid is received after the time and date specified for opening.
  • Bid did not include descriptive or technical literature, specifications or samples if required in the bid proposal.
  • Bidder fails to furnish bid surety if required in the bid proposal.
  • Bids were received from vendors removed or suspended from the Bidders List.
  • Other determinations which, in the judgment of the Director of Purchasing, render the bid as non-responsive.
Award

After completion of the evaluation process, recommendations for the award of equipment, supplies, and materials are reviewed with the requisitioner before an award is made.

Receipt of a Purchase Order

Shipment of goods should not be made until receipt of the official University purchase order that gives shipping and billing instructions. Substitution of items specified in a purchase order are not permitted without the expressed written permission of the Purchasing Department.

Review of Awards

After a contract award, unsuccessful bidders can obtain the name of the successful bidder, price, and similar basic information through written or telephone request. Purchasing Department employees are not required or encouraged to provide tabulations by phone.

Requests for more detailed information can be obtained by written request or by visiting the Purchasing Department by appointment to review the bid file during normal business hours. Vendors are encouraged to review bid files since much valuable information can be obtained that may be useful in future bidding situations. Photocopies are available for $0.50/page.

Deliveries

Unless otherwise stated in the bid documents, all deliveries must be F.O.B. Storrs, CT, at the vendor’s expense. This expense may be included as a part of the product cost or as a separate line item.

Unless other wise stated in the contract documents, deliveries are to be made to the individual departments listed on the purchase order. Freight deliveries can be accepted at various campus locations (see exhibit D). Any deliveries made to the Universities Central Warehouse must give a 24-hr notice. Call 860-486-6297 for an appointment.

Return for Credit

No material which was purchased through a University purchase order number shall be returned for credit without an appropriate return authorization (BO800) form issued by the University Purchasing Office.

Invoicing and Payment

Unless otherwise stipulated on the purchase order or contract, all invoices with should be submitted directly to the Accounts Payable Department. Connecticut sales and use tax is not applicable. Payment may be delayed if invoices or packages do not reference a University Purchase Order number.

Payment Terms

Payment terms shall be 2% 15 days net 45, unless otherwise agreed to by the University.

Complaints to Vendors

University departments are encouraged to directly contact vendors in an effort to resolve any dissatisfaction with product, warranty, or service performance. When problems are not resolved to the user’s satisfaction, departments are encouraged to contact the University Purchasing Department for assistance. The University Purchasing Department then forwards the complaint to the vendor. A vendor receiving the complaint is urged to act immediately to resolve the complaint. Vendors who do not act responsibly and quickly to resolve legitimate complaints may be removed from the approved vendor list.

Procedure for Filing Protests

Vendor protests regarding contract awards should be addressed to the appropriate purchasing agent. If satisfactory resolution is not achieved, complaints are administratively appealed as follows.

There are three levels of administrative appeal: (1) the Purchasing Agent, (2) the Associate Director of Purchasing, and (3) the Director of Procurement Services.

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Other University Policies

Removal from the Bidders List

The University may remove a vendor from its Bidders List or suspend a vendor from the Bidders List for up the twenty-four (24) months. Examples or causes for removal from the Bidders List are as follows:

  • Three (3) consecutive failures to respond to bid invitations. (Note: Bidder’s should return all invitations to bid. “No Bid” is considered as a response to a bid invitation and will not count as a failure to respond.)
  • Consistent failure to conform to bid or contract specifications, terms, and conditions.
  • Consistent failure to make timely delivery.
  • Failure to remit any monetary penalties imposed by the University.
  • Collusion with other vendors or prospective vendors to restrain competitive bidding.
  • Giving false or misleading information on the bid forms.
  • Any violation of the State’s purchasing regulations.
  • Other information which suggests that the vendor is no longer responsible or qualified to do business with the University.
Small Business Program

The University’s Small Business Program is designed to give “small business concerns” and “small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals”-known as Minority, Women, Set-aside or Disabled Businesses full access and opportunity to participate in the University’s procurement activities.

Vendors should keep the University informed of their proper business size, ownership category, and products or services offered (See How to market your products and services).

Tax Exempt Status

The University of Connecticut is exempt from state sales taxes.

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