How do I Buy?
Purchases less than $10,000 do not need to be bid and can be handled by the department through:
- Procurement card
- Invoice from vendors
Purchases $10,000 and greater:
- Must be processed through Procurement Services.
Market Place is the electronic ordering platform for the University. Here you will find dozens of supplier catalogs that allow you to place your orders electronically. Log into My IRIS Web and click on shop.
The Office of Procurement Services and the State of Tennessee have many established purchasing agreements that allow you to procure goods and services without bidding. You may order directly from the supplier and receive our discounted prices. Bids, NCJs and contracts are not required when using these purchasing agreements. Moreover, the $10,000 limit does not apply when departments buy using an existing purchasing agreement.
Types of Bids
RFQ (Request for Quote):
An RFQ is used when the goods and services can easily be defined and the deciding factors are price, specifications, and delivery. For the most part, the RFQ asks only for specifications and price, however, references can be required and factored into the award. If a vendor bids “as equal” to the specifications, the requisitioning department evaluates the vendor’s response to determine whether the “as equal” bid meets the department’s needs.
RFP (Request for Proposal):
When factors other than the lowest prices need to be considered in procuring a good or service, an RFP is the preferred procurement method. The RFP requires a sealed technical proposal that is evaluated independently from the sealed cost information. An evaluation committee scores the technical proposal and submits the score to Procurement Services. Attributes like experience, references, service, and specifications can make up the technical portion of an RFP. After these items are scored, costs are factored into the evaluation based on predetermined weights.
RFQ-S (Request for Qualified Suppliers):
The purpose of an RFQ-S is to evaluate bidders only on qualifications. While the university collects price data and negotiates pricing, the university does not score pricing in an RFQ-S bid. The university generally does an RFQ-S only when awarding to multiple suppliers.
Sole Source – Non-Competitive Justification (NCJ)
If you can’t find what you need through one of those processes described above and you feel that only one source can provide this, you must justify why this item can’t be bid by submitting an NCJ. The NCJ requires a very detailed and thorough explanation as to why a bid is not possible and it requires approval by Procurement Services and the campus CBO. The NCJ form can be found in the forms section of this website.
- Contracts: Departments seeking to justify a sole-source purchase associated with a contract must complete the NCJ form and type in “see attached NCJ” in the “no bid explanation” field in the University’s Contract Management System.
- Requisitions/Purchase Orders: Departments must attach the NCJ form in the Market Place Requisition System and choose “sole source” as the order type.
*NCJ forms must be filled out completely and signed before attaching to the requisition or contract.