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Purchasing - Frequently Asked Questions



1906 College Heights Blvd., #11099

Service Supply Building, 108

Bowling Green, KY  42101-1099


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The Kentucky Model Procurement Code is a set of laws and regulations regarding the methods and procedures we use to purchase goods and services. 

WKU Purchasing must review and sign all University contracts. Only those individuals specifically designates in writing by the Board of Regents can authorize purchases. State regulations (Kentucky Revised Statutes) must be followed at all times to insure that all purchases are legal. So, please involve WKU Purchasing before committing your department. Unauthorized purchases are a violation of University policy.

According to KRS 45A.100, any purchase up to $40,000 falls under the small purchase administration regulations. Any purchase $40,000 or greater requires an authorized contract. If your purchase is between $20,000 and $40,000 and is not available through an existing contract, three quotes should be obtained and forwarded to Purchasing along with the requisition for purchase.

Some vendors require contracts of their own even if the purchase amount is below $40,000. WKU Purchasing must review all vendor contracts with the appropriate parties and the designated Purchasing Agent will sign the contract and authorize initiation of work.

A RFI is a general request for information that is posted publicly so all vendors have equal opportunity to share their information. The purpose of the RFI is to gather enough knowledge on the product/service to decide if it is something the University should purchase, and/or to develop general specifications to later assist in putting together a RFP. Another option with the RFIs is prequalification of vendors so when a RFP process begins vendors have already been prequalified. This may reduce getting many unqualified proposals in to review during the RFP process.
A RFP (competitive negotiation) is a request for proposal and typically involves purchasing some type of service or maintenance. A RFP is initiated when it has been established that either by KY law or the best interest of the University, a contract is necessary. The process involves a University committee and a thorough review of the product/service price, references, financials, support levels, resumes, experience, company history and etc. The RFP can be customized by the Purchasing Agent and committee to meet the individual needs of your department. The University committee will evaluate and score each proposal based on established evaluation criteria. Once a decision has been made, the Purchasing Agent will work with the committee to customize a contract and then negotiate and finalize the contract with the winning supplier. (See KRS 45A.370)
A Bid (competitive sealed bidding) is a request for pricing on things like equipment lists or large equipment purchases. A public bid opening is held on the opening date. An award is made based on the lowest bid. (See KRS 45A.365)

Yes. Depending on the nature of products or services being purchased it can sometimes be advantageous to the University to participate in a RFP or Bid process even if it's not required based on dollar amount. This will allow thorough unbiased vendor selection and the utilization of your Purchasing Agent in negotiating a contract specific to the University's needs and goals. 

There are times we can skip the RFP or Bid Process if an existing contract is evaluated thoroughly and deemed appropriate for our use. WKU utilizes many existing contracts established by other universities, state institutions, and purchasing consortiums. However, depending upon the type of service/product being procured, it is not always in the best interest of the University to piggyback on another contract. While at times this is appropriate, there are other times when it is advantageous for us to negotiate and establish our own individual contact with our own terms and conditions.
When you are tasked with a project that should eventually result in procurement, call or email your Purchasing Agent immediately so they can assist you in an information gathering process before initiating a RFP or Bid. It is important that information gathering is done in a way that will not create bias or give some vendors information that may give them an advantage during the RFP process and competitive negotiations. This could result in a RFP or Bid disqualification which would exclude any vendor given special preference, or a RFP or Bid protest (See KRS 45A.285) which will require the winning contract to be put on hold until the protest is resolved. A department should not independently do vendor reviews, select the vendor they want, and then contact Purchasing to do a RFP whether a RFI (Request for Information) would be advantageous and how to handle things like vendor demos and other information gathering. The Purchasing Agent will provide structure, organization, and supply management expertise to a committee that is crucial for an efficient and successful project.
Blanket orders are meant to be used when we will provision services or supplies from one supplier during one fiscal year. Comfuel is a good example; the price of gas is constantly changing. So with a Blanket order, invoices can be charged to a certain amount that is encumbered in any given index under one Blanket requisition. Invoices are entered by Accounts Payable in Topshop which creates a release order. When the invoice comes through, an email is generated so that the requester can approve it.
Purchasing can help any PI do research on the cost of goods and materials they would like to put into their proposal. If the grant application is requesting funds for equipment of $20,000 or more, the PI should contact Purchasing for assistance. Involving the Purchasing Department during the application process could have a positive impact in obtaining grant approval.

Requisitions go through an approval process, with the Purchasing Agent being the final approver.

Grant purchases are subject to rules called Uniform Guidance. They require quotes on any grant purchase costing $10,000 or more and competitive bid/RFP on anything $40,000 or more.

In many cases, we have existing competitively bid and award contracts we can use in lieu of getting the quotes of bids ourselves. Please contact  for help finding existing contracts or for help getting quotes or bids.

For TopShop training, contact Pam Davidson.

For Banner, call Information Technology Services (ITS) Helpdesk at 5-7000.

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 Last Modified 12/8/20