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Procurement Procedures


To outline the process for ordering, paying, and soliciting goods and services.

Applies to: 

All individuals and units procuring goods or services for the University of Kansas.

Juniper Gardens
Policy Statement: 
  1. Procurement Activity
    1. Introduction
      The Procurement Procedures are provided for use in furtherance of KU Procurement’s mission to develop and maintain a procurement system that empowers our customers to make good business decisions; to pursue excellence while maintaining good internal controls; to ensure accountability and compliance with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations; and to assist in maintaining responsible stewardship of the University’s resources.
    2. Use of Mandatory Contracts and Preferred Agreements
      All units are required to obtain needed supplies, equipment, items (commodities), or services through KU Procurement’s authorized suppliers when such items and services are available and will meet unit business requirements. A current listing of these Mandatory Contracts and Preferred Agreements are available on the KU Procurement website.

      If, after reviewing Mandatory Contracts and Preferred Agreement options, a unit wants to purchase from a different supplier, the unit must follow the Competitive Solicitation Threshold requirements below.
    3. Other Existing Contracts
      Units are encouraged to contact KU Procurement to determine if additional benefits are available by leveraging existing contracts not already listed as Mandatory or Preferred Agreements.
    4. Procurement Card (P-Card)
      Use of the KU P-card for procurement must be in accordance with the guidelines listed in the KU How to Buy Matrix and comply with the University's Procurement Card Policy and Procedures.

      University units shall have no other charge cards or credit/revolving store accounts with suppliers other than the KU P-card.
    5. Unauthorized Purchase Orders
      Units may not issue self-generated purchase orders and are prohibited from issuing or distributing other procurement related documents in the name of the University of Kansas or otherwise accept documents identified as orders on behalf of the University of Kansas.

      Payment authorization will be restricted only to purchase orders issued through the KU eProcurement System. Unauthorized purchase orders may be declined for payment by the Payables Office.
  2. Competitive Solicitation Threshold
    1. Threshold ($0-$9,999)
      Any purchase should be made under an existing contract and/or catalog whenever possible. The University provides access to contracted catalogs on KU eProcurement System (FITC). If the purchase is unavailable from a contracted supplier and/or catalog only one quote is required. Units may contact KU Procurement for assistance.

      All Software purchases must be reviewed by KU Procurement, the Office of the General Counsel, and KU IT regardless of dollar value or source of funding. This will facilitate the appropriate review for alignment with KU IT Strategy, Cybersecurity, Accessibility, Duplicative Software purchases and assessment of any KU IT support needed.
    2. Informal Methods ($10,000 to $50,000)
      Informal methods apply in the instance an applicable contract is not already in place. Single off-contract purchases of goods and services costing more than $10,000 but less than $50,000 or contracts (single or multiyear) with a value not exceeding $50,000 will be procured through the approved informal method outlined below. KU Procurement will review quotes provided and directly negotiate with suppliers on price as well as terms and conditions, as appropriate, prior to award of the business to a supplier, contract execution or purchase. Alternatively, KU Procurement or the requesting unit may select a formal solicitation method.

      Informal solicitations are made by soliciting three or more quotations from off-contract suppliers by telephone, e-mail, or online. Any verbal quotations must be documented in writing for future evaluation (e.g., whom did you talk to, name of the business, phone number, price quoted, etc.). Documentation of informal solicitations must contain information regarding the specifications provided to the suppliers, a list of the suppliers who provided quotes, the prices submitted by each supplier, and a statement that indicates the basis for award. Informal solicitation documentation must be attached to the Purchase Requisition submitted through FITC. Units are encouraged to send quotes to Procurement for review in advance of requisition submission.
    3. Formal Solicitation Methods (over $50,000)
      Single off-contract purchases of goods and services costing more than $50,000 or contracts exceeding one year that have a total delivered cost that exceeds $50,000. These procurements must be procured utilizing approved formal solicitation methods.​
      1. Solicitation Development
        The requesting unit and KU Procurement personnel will jointly develop any solicitation requirements together with a set of questions to the prospective suppliers for purposes of evaluation and determine criteria for evaluation.
        Bid award process, award criteria information, and bid process instructions, as well as any standard terms and conditions associated with the transaction will be included in the solicitation documents or posted on the KU Procurement website with the relevant web address listed in the solicitation document.
      2. Notice and Posting Requirements for Formal Competitive Solicitations
        All formal competitive solicitations require at least seven-calendar day's posting on KU eBids to provide public notice prior to a submission deadline. Such solicitations must be in the form of a written specification, and the supplier’s response must be submitted in accordance with the process and procedures contained in the solicitation document. For all formal solicitations, KU Procurement will document the specifications utilized, which suppliers were solicited, the responses submitted by each supplier, a statement that indicates the basis for award, and the purchase order issued. Such documentation will be maintained by KU Procurement in accordance with the established retention policy.

        Upon the unit’s request, the KU Chief Procurement Officer may waive the seven-day requirement if the circumstances justify the waiver to be in the best interest of the University, as determined by the KU Chief Procurement Officer. If the posting requirement is waived, KU Procurement will prepare documentation in support of the waiver determination, which will be maintained in accordance with the established retention policy.
  3. Types of Formal Competitive Solicitations
    KU Procurement may utilize any of the following processes to conduct competitive formal solicitations. The KU Chief Procurement Officer or designee will select the type of solicitation that is in the best interests of the University.
    1. Request for Information (RFI)
      An RFI is a process by which KU Procurement collects information about the general capabilities of several potential suppliers for comparative purposes only. An RFI is primarily leveraged to generate insight as to the offerings of various suppliers in a marketplace. Following this initial information gathering, KU Procurement can decide what steps to take next. RFIs are, therefore, often a precursor to an RFP, RFQ, or other types of solicitations.

      The following procedures apply to RFIs:
      1. The requesting department and KU Procurement will work together to develop a general scope of work (SOW) along with a set of questions for the suppliers.
      2. The Procurement Negotiating Committee (See Section VI) will determine whether a solicitation will be issued and identify suppliers who meet the minimum requirements to receive a solicitation.
    2. Request for Qualifications (RFQual)
      An RFQual is generally utilized to identify a group of suppliers who meet a set of minimum qualifications. This may be done on a limited basis as the single-phase selection process for a project, or, more commonly, as the first part of a two-phase process to prequalify a group of suppliers based on qualification criteria listed in the RFQual, such as, experience, resumes, portfolios.

      The RFQual process as a single phase, when applicable, is sometimes used for selecting firms in the architectural and engineering services industries and may be utilized if determined appropriate to obtain specific and specialized services. In the event a single phase RFQual is requested, the KU Chief Procurement Officer must approve prior a written justification for the approach prior to release of the solicitation.

      In a two-phase process, only suppliers qualified through phase one are permitted to submit project-specific proposals in phase two. This process is commonly used for projects that are expected to generate significant response or when there is significant complexity.

      The following procedures apply to RFQual solicitations:
      1. The requesting department and KU Procurement personnel will jointly develop a general scope of work (SOW) including a set of questions to the prospective suppliers to evaluate supplier qualifications for the project and develop appropriate evaluation criteria.
      2. For single phase projects, shortlisted suppliers may be interviewed by the Procurement Negotiating Committee (Section VI) and resulting in a supplier selection. A second choice may also be identified in case negotiations fail with the first selection.
      3. For two-phase projects, only qualified suppliers will be invited to submit proposals as part of the phase two solicitation process.
    3. Request for Proposals (RFP)
      A RFP is an open request to potential suppliers for bids to complete a new project, re-solicit proposals for an existing good or service or solve a particular business problem, as outlined by the University. In an RFP, KU Procurement opens competition and encourages a variety of alternative proposals that might be considered to determine the best overall solution.

      RFPs are appropriate when the requesting unit is not sure what it wants to purchase and/or there are multiple relevant factors besides price that should be considered as part of an award decision. RFPs are also common when an existing good or service is competitively re-bid.
    4. Request for Quotation (RFQ)
      A RFQ is a process wherein KU Procurement asks a set of potential suppliers or service providers to submit their price quotations (or quotes) for a chance to supply the requested good or services. RFQs are appropriate when a unit already knows what they want to purchase and only needs more information about the price to make a purchasing decision.
    5. Reverse Auctions
      A reverse auction is a type of electronic auction (or “eAuction”) whereby suppliers submit online bids to compete against each other to win KU’s business. In reverse auctions, bidding starts with the highest possible price and decreases gradually with the lowest bid winning. Reverse auctions may follow an initial Request for Quotation (RFQ) or may be issued in lieu of an RFQ.
    6. Invitation for Bids (IFB)
      An IFB may be utilized when the supplies, materials, equipment, goods, property and/or services are available for sale by the University via contract on a one-time basis or on a recurring basis over a specified period of time.
  4. Alternatives to Formal Competitive Solicitation
    1. Direct Competitive Negotiation
      Direct Competitive Negotiations may be utilized after an unsuccessful RFQ, IFB, or RFP process or if the KU Chief Procurement Officer determines that time does not permit re-solicitation or other factors are present that would cause re-solicitation to not be in the University’s best interests.

      Examples of an unsuccessful RFQ, IFB, or RFP process include, but are not limited to:
      1. All offers received are unreasonable;
      2. All offers are not competitive;
      3. The low responsive bid from a responsible bidder exceeds available funds; or
      4. The number of responsive offers is not sufficient to ensure adequate competition
      The Direct Competitive Negotiation process may include suppliers who responded to the solicitation or other suppliers capable of fulfilling the University’s needs. The award will be made to the supplier whose offer is most advantageous to the University as determined by the specifications, terms, and conditions utilized for the Direct Competitive Negotiation.
    2. Sole/Single/Emergency Procurements
      Under limited circumstances, certain commodities or services may be procured without seeking competition. KU Procurement will require written justification documenting the conditions that preclude the use of a competitive process.
      1. Sole Source Procurements
        A Sole Source is one in which only one supplier can provide an item or service, and therefore it is not possible to obtain competitive bids. A request for a particular proprietary item (i.e., a brand name specification) does not justify Sole Source Procurement if there is more than one potential supplier for that item. Price is not a consideration to justify Sole Source Procurement.
      2. Single Source Procurements
        A Single Source procurement is one in which two or more suppliers can supply the commodity, technology, and /or perform the services required by the University, and one supplier is selected over the others in the best interest of the University. Reasons may include but are not limited to timeline/urgency, transition costs, exclusive patent, or limited rights. 
      3. Emergency Procurements
        The product or service required is due to a health and safety emergency that could not have been anticipated, and critical need precludes any form of competition.

        An emergency condition justifies the use of Emergency Procurement when that condition threatens one (1) or more of the following:
        1. The functioning of the University, or its programs;
        2. The preservation or protection of property; and/or 
        3. The life, health, or safety of any person(s) or animal(s).
      4. To Request Sole/Single/Emergency Procurements
        To request a Sole/Single/Emergency Source Procurement approval, the requesting unit must complete and submit a Sole/Single/Emergency Source Justification Form for review and approval by KU Procurement.
    3. Cooperative Purchasing Agreements
      With the approval of KU Procurement, the University may participate in, conduct, sponsor, or administer a cooperative purchasing agreement. This includes, but is not limited to, agreements with any of the following:
      1. The federal government or an agency or other instrumentality of the federal government;
      2. The State of Kansas, another state, or an agency or other instrumentality of the State of Kansas or another state;
      3. A bi-state or multi-state agency;
      4. A county, municipal corporation, or other political subdivision of the State of Kansas or of another state, or an agency or other instrumentality of the political subdivision; or
      5. A cooperative or organization established for the purpose of establishing contracts to aggregate the common requirements of similar institutions for maximizing economies of scale when soliciting bids or proposals. An example of this is the Educational & Institutional Cooperative.
    4. Used Equipment
      Used equipment is broadly defined to include all equipment that is not new. Used equipment is typically only available from one source and due to its nature is available and subject to immediate sale. As such, a competitive process is unlikely to produce a satisfactory result. Used equipment, however, can be a cost-effective way for units to acquire equipment, and units are encouraged to consider this option.
  5. Evaluation and Award
    1. Lowest Bid
      When using the RFQ process, the low bidder meeting specifications must be selected. In the case of a tie between an in-state and an out-of-state supplier, the award will always be to the in-state supplier.

      In other competitive solicitations, awards are generally made to the lowest responsible bidder, taking into consideration conformity with the specifications, terms of delivery, and other conditions imposed in the bid. The Procurement Negotiating Committee (PNC) determines the supplier that best meets the needs of the University. Other factors beyond price may include, comparative performance examinations, supplier references, experience, financial strength, etc. as stated in the particular solicitation.
    2. The Kansas Reciprocal Preference Law
      Some states provide a preference for suppliers within their borders. In reviewing bids from suppliers not domiciled in Kansas, the University reserves the right to respond in a like manner.

      “Domiciled” means where a corporation is chartered or incorporated or where a sole proprietor or partnership is located or has its permanent headquarters. Bidders domiciled in states other than Kansas who have a “significant Kansas economic presence” for one year preceding the bid date, will be considered a Kansas domiciled bidder.
    3. Bid and Award Information ($50,000 and above)
      Formal solicitations may be opened publicly at the time and place specified in the solicitation documents. Suppliers may attend the public openings and record the information released at that time. When opening responses to a negotiated procurement solicitation only the name of the suppliers submitting proposals will be made public. As applicable, supplier and price information is made available through the Kansas Open Records Act

      A solicitation award may be applicable to KU Center for Research, KU Endowment funds, and KU Medical Center. Applicability related to KU Center for Research and KU Endowment funds will be approved by the KU Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and the Vice Chancellor for Research or their designee(s). Utilization by the KU Medical Center will be pursuant to KU Medical Center processes, as appropriate.
    4. Standard Terms and Conditions
      Solicitation documents will include Form KU-146a (Contractual Provisions Attachment) and General Terms and Conditions, as applicable to specifications and other required contract terms for the University, the content of which must be approved by the KU Chief Procurement Officer or designee and approved as to form by the Office of the General Counsel.
  6. Procurement Negotiating Committee (PNC)
    Procurement Negotiating Committees are established for the purpose of evaluating solicitation responses and making award recommendations. This includes informing appropriate leadership as determined by the project scope and making sure all input is considered as recommendations are being developed.
    1. Procurement Negotiating Committee Membership
      Membership in the PNC will include, at a minimum, a member of KU Procurement, an individual with subject matter expertise, and a representative from a key impacted unit.
    2. Procurement Negotiating Committee Recommendations
      The PNC will submit in writing the PNC recommendation to the KU Chief Procurement Officer justifying a solicitation award as being in the best interest of the University. All PNC members must support the PNC recommendation in writing. If the KU Chief Procurement Officer agrees and the solicitation award is compliant with KU Procurement Policy and Procurement Procedures, then the CPO will approve the PNC recommendation.

      Once approved, KU Procurement will notify solicitation respondents of the solicitation award.
  7. Notice on Solicitations
    Every year KU Procurement places a general advertisement in the Kansas Register. The general advertisement provides public notice that University of Kansas has competitive solicitation opportunities available and provides the website address to registrar for participation and notification on any upcoming solicitations. To review prior or current KU solicitations visit KU’s eBid website
  8. Supplier Relations
    1. Registration on the eBid Website
      Suppliers interested in competing for the University’s business are encouraged to register with KU Procurement by completing and submitting a Supplier Registration

      Suppliers are solely responsible for maintaining current company information with KU Procurement, including but not limited to name, address, telephone number, personnel listed on the application, and addition or deletions of commodities supplied. Failure to submit and maintain current supplier information may result in the supplier not receiving competitive solicitations and possible removal from the supplier registry. Supplier registration is not a guarantee that the supplier will receive notification of solicitations of interest. Registered suppliers are wholly responsible for monitoring all solicitation opportunities available on the eBid website and obtaining solicitation documents as they are released.
    2. Supplier Shows
      KU Procurement considers a “supplier show” to be a product demonstration or exhibit to which more than one University unit is invited by a supplier for the purposes of marketing supplies, materials, equipment, goods, property, or services. A product or equipment demonstration to a single University unit is not a supplier show. The KU Chief Procurement Officer has the final authority to determine what constitutes a supplier show.

      ​Requests to hold supplier shows, such as open houses, product exhibits, and product demonstrations, must be approved in advance by the KU Chief Procurement Officer in order to: The sponsoring or requesting unit (or the supplier directly if not sponsored) must notify the KU Chief Procurement Officer as far in advance as possible but no less than 15 calendar days prior to the supplier show.
      1. Protect the integrity of the University’s procurement process;
      2. Protect the viability of University-wide contracts and price agreements; and
      3. Ensure fairness to all suppliers
    3. Suppliers on Campus
      All suppliers visiting a KU campus must abide by the Univeristy-Wide Visitor Policy.
    4. Supplier Suspension
      The KU Chief Procurement Officer may issue a written determination to suspend a supplier from doing business with the University during an investigation to determine whether cause exists for Debarment.

      A written notice of the suspension period, including a copy of the determination, will be sent to the suspended supplier with a copy to the KU CFO. The suspension period will be effective upon the issuance date of the suspension notice.

      During the course of an investigation, a suspended supplier may request reinstatement. After completion of an investigation, a suspended supplier will either be reinstated or debarred. The KU Chief Procurement Officer will make all determinations concerning requested reinstatement.
    5. Supplier Debarment
      Supplier Debarment prohibits a supplier from doing business with the University. A supplier may be debarred for any of the following reasons:​ 
      1. Conviction of a criminal offense in relation to obtaining or attempting to obtain a University contract or in the performance of such contract;
      2. Conviction under State of Kansas or Federal statutes of embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification, or destruction of records or receiving stolen property;
      3. Conviction under State of Kansas or Federal antitrust statutes arising out of the submission of bids or proposals;
      4. Willful material failure to perform in accordance with the terms of one or more contracts following notice of such failure, or a history of failure to perform, or unsatisfactory performance of one or more contracts;
      5. Failure to abide by University policy and/or the Supplier Code of Conduct, of which the supplier has been notified and given an opportunity to become compliant; and/or
      6. The supplier is currently under debarment by any other governmental entity that is based upon a settlement agreement or a final administrative or judicial determination issued by a Federal, state, or local governmental entity.
      Following completion of the investigation to determine whether a supplier has engaged in activities that are cause for Debarment, the KU Chief Procurement Officer may debar the supplier for a period of time commensurate with the seriousness of the findings in accordance with approved operating procedures.

      A written notice of Debarment will be sent to the supplier. The notice will:
      1. State the Debarment period; and
      2. Inform the debarred supplier that any person(s) representing the debarred supplier during the debarment period may not conduct business with the University and that any solicitation responses received from the debarred supplier during the debarment period will not be considered.
      If the supplier is debarred, the Debarment will be effective upon the conclusion of a reasonable suspension period. Any appeal of the Debarment must be submitted in writing within ten (10) calendar days of the debarment notice date and directed to the KU CFO with copy to the KU Chief Procurement Officer. The KU CFO has the final authority to determine any debarment appeal.
    6. Dispute Resolution
      The KU Chief Procurement Officer is authorized to resolve any protests regarding any and all procurement matters including but not limited to:
      1. Protest of Solicitation or Award of Business; and
      2. Contract Disputes.
      Protest of Solicitation or Award of Business
      Any protest must be a written submission to the KU Chief Procurement Officer within ten (10) business days after the date of award of the competition solicitation or issuance of purchase order. The KU Chief Procurement Officer will not accept any protest more than ten (10) business days as described above.

      The written protest must include, at a minimum, the following information:
      1. The name and address of the protesting supplier;
      2. Appropriate identification of the procurement by solicitation number;
      3. A statement of the specific reasons for the protest; and
      4. Supporting exhibits, evidence, or documents, unless they are not available within the filing time, in which case the expected availability date will be indicated.
      Protests may only be filed by a supplier, which can show that it could be awarded the business if the protest were successful. Subcontractors to a supplier cannot file a valid protest. Incomplete protests may be rejected without consideration.

      To maintain the integrity of the procurement process, the KU Chief Procurement Officer does not hear protests concerning the following omissions:
      1. Failure to properly complete all components of the solicitation request;
      2. Failure to submit the solicitation to KU Procurement by the due date or time; or
      3. Failure to provide a required solicitation deposit or performance bond by the specified date or time.
      The KU Chief Procurement Officer will render a written decision regarding the protest within ten (10) business days after the protest and/or any subsequently submitted information is received. The KU Chief Procurement Officer shall furnish a copy of the decision to the protestor.

      The protesting party may appeal the written determination of the KU Chief Procurement Officer. If the protesting party desires to appeal, they must submit a written request for appeal to the KU CFO within ten (10) business days after receipt of the written determination of the KU Chief Procurement Officer. The decision of the KU CFO constitutes the Final Agency Order regarding the matter.

      Contract Disputes
      Unless a formal dispute process or other applicable provision(s) exists in the governing contract, any controversy arising between the University and a contractor by virtue of a contract or purchase order between them, including, without limitation, controversies based upon breach of contract, mistake, misrepresentation, or any other cause for contract modification or rescission is resolved by the KU Chief Procurement Officer and the Office of the General Counsel.


Approved by: 
Chief Procurement Officer
Approved on: 
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Effective on: 
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Purchasing, Payables, PCard, Bid, RFP, RFQ, IFB, RFQual, RFI, Vendor, Sale, Purchase
Change History: 

05/30/2024: Replaced Purchasing Procedures Manual with Procurement Procedures
05/17/2024: Updated procedures to align with current practices.
05/09/2019: Updated Procedures Manual.
02/17/2017: Procedures Manual uploaded into Policy Library.

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