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Purchasing Handbook


A. Purpose
This Purchasing Handbook is designed to explain to users what the Purchasing Department does and to provide users with information that will enable them to make the most effective use of the services offered by the Purchasing Department.

B. Purchasing Department
The Purchasing Department is located in the Facilities/Support Services Building. The mailing address is:

Purchasing Department
Santa Clara University
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053-0910

The general department number is x4364; the fax number is x5066. The Purchasing Department hours are Monday through Friday between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.

Purchasing is responsible for obtaining requested supplies, equipment and services for the University at the best prices available, consistent with the quality of goods required, in a timely and efficient manner. Purchasing is always eager to assist departments in meeting their needs. If you have any questions or problems, please do not hesitate to call us at x4364.

The workload is distributed among the buyers by commodity. (Commodity distribution listed separately.) When you have a question regarding a purchase order, contact the buyer who handles your commodity. If you cannot find the correct category for the item you wish to order, feel free to call either buyer or call the main Purchasing Department number, x4364, for assistance.

C. Authority
The Purchasing Department is the campus office responsible for the actions of spending University funds. The Purchasing Department has primary responsibility for signing purchase documents which are legal contracts obligating the University in matters of procurement. The term "purchase documents" includes contracts for the acquisition of all goods and services, whether by purchase, rental agreement or lease. Exceptions to this authority exist in the case of Planning and Projects (capital improvement projects), University libraries (books and other library materials), the Bookstore (material for resale), and University Communications (publications). In addition, other contracts as specified by the Vice President for Administration & Finance will be excluded.

The University is not required to honor oral or unsigned contracts to purchase goods or services.

D. Organizational Structure
The Director of University Support Services is Ed Merryman.

  • Lisa Chatelle Watt is the Purchasing supervisor and Kim Tavares is the Purchasing Analyst. (Commodities distribution listed separately.)
  • Dan Ignacio is the shipping and receiving clerk, responsible for Central Receiving and Central Stores.
  • Stephanie Woitte is the Administrative Assistant for University Support Services.


The overall goal of the Purchasing Department is to maintain a continuous supply of goods and services for academic, administrative and research departments of the University, ensuring delivery of an acceptable quality of goods and services in a timely manner at the best possible price. In order to attain these goals, Purchasing will do the following:

  • Purchase goods and services for the University's use at the maximum end-use value per dollar spent, securing competitive bids when appropriate.
  • Develop reliable alternate sources of supply to meet University requirements.
  • Treat all prices and technical information submitted by suppliers as confidential in order to preserve a good business reputation and obtain competitive prices.
  • Maintain liaison with vendors providing goods/services to the University, including the resolution of complaints regarding those goods/services.
  • Maintain stockroom inventories of purchased goods so as to meet the use requirements of the University at the lowest possible cost.

Purchasing encourages alumni and donors to quote on items which they are competent to supply. However, it is not our intention to give unfair advantage to such vendors. The University does not generally enter into purchasing contracts with students, faculty, staff, or members of their immediate families. Acquisitions from a business in which an employee has an interest is prohibited unless full disclosure of the background facts are presented in writing to the Purchasing Department and approved by the Vice President for Finance and Administration.

Because Santa Clara's reputation and credibility are so important to maintaining good, long-term business relations, Purchasing insists on fairness and honesty in all transactions. At no time will Purchasing staff knowingly involve itself or the University with deceptive or dishonest vendors.


Not all goods and services are handled through the Purchasing Department. Below are the most common exceptions.

Books- Contact the Campus Bookstore.

Capital Improvement Projects- Contact Planning and Projects.

Catering (On-Campus)- There is an exclusive contract to provide food and catering services on campus. Contact Auxiliary Services.

Conference & Membership Fees- Contact Accounts Payable for questions about processing a quick voucher.

Facility Services- Contact Facilities.

Hard Copy Communication- Contact the Office of Marketing and Communications for the production or review of all University publications for external use.


A. Fund Source
All funds, with the exception of agency accounts, are considered to be University funds and as such are to be expended in accordance with University policy.

B. Fund/Organization/Sub-Account Numbers
All purchases charged to University funds require valid and complete fund, organization, and sub-account numbers. These numbers are established, issued, maintained, and monitored by the University Finance Budget Office. Care should be taken to use the sub-account number which best describes the item(s) being purchased as it is important the University know on what goods/services its funds are being expended.

C. Authorization to Purchase
Each account has a designated "Organization Manager" as established by the University Finance Office. This individual must approve all charges to his/her account, unless this authority is delegated, in writing, to another individual(s).

The signature of the Organization Manager (or his/her designee) on the Purchase Requisition (or other requisition documents) attests to the availability of funds. Each Organization Manager should ensure funds are available to cover the costs of contemplated purchases.

D. Sponsored Projects
In addition to normal University procedures, all Sponsored Projects accounts are subject to guidelines established by the Sponsored Projects Office. All check requests and purchase requisitions must be submitted initially to the Sponsored Projects Office for their review and approval before processing to assure compliance with grant and contract terms. Contact the Sponsored Projects Office at x4408 for further details.

E. Government Policies- Equipment Acquisition
All purchases made with federal funds are subject to the requirements and principles set forth in 2 CFR 200 Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards.  Sections 200.318 provides general procurement standards including, but not limited to, the avoidance of purchasing "unnecessary or duplicate items"; proper record retention of purchase and competitive bidding for equipment.  To purchase equipment with grant funds, please contact the Sponsored Projects Office at x4408 to ensure compliance with funder regulations.


Requisitions- General Purchases of Goods & Services

Purchase Requisition
The Purchase Requisition is completed in PeopleSoft Financials.  Call Kim Tavares at x4364 for training.

Office Supplies
Office supplies constitute a major expenditure university-wide and should be procured using one of the following methods.

Central Stores Requisition
Click to view the Central Stores Goods & Price List, as well as the Central Stores Requisition Form. Items include:

  • Copier and computer paper
  • Power strips
  • Medallions (University seal)

Departments should order these items directly from Central Stores. Central Stores supplies are normally delivered within two days from the date the order is received. Departments can arrange for immediate pick up, if necessary.

The Central Stores supply list and prices are updated at least annually. Purchasing welcomes any suggestions for additions to this list.

Office Supplies Contracts
The Purchasing Department has established a contract with two major office supplies vendors. The University receives substantial discounts on office supply purchases, as well as rapid processing of and turnaround on orders from these vendors.

Because of the advantageous pricing and delivery schedules, it is recommended that office supplies be purchased, if possible, using the established contracts.  Unless it is an emergency, driving to a retail store is discouraged.  It is a liability to the University to have employees driving off-site for work-related reasons, and with next-day delivery of goods, it is almost unnecessary.


A. Purchase Requisition (Entered into PeopleSoft Financials)

Expenditures should be planned sufficiently in advance to allow the Purchasing Department to obtain the best price and/or overall service. Small orders are costly to the University and to vendors. If you are aware that you will be ordering the same items in the future or will have a need for other items from the same vendor, consolidate and order all at once. Often, significant quantity discount savings will be achieved. On occasion, Purchasing may consolidate requisitions on to one order for similar items where quantity price breaks may be reasonably obtained.

Purchase orders are based on the information and specifications shown on the requisition. Care should be taken so that specifications are adequate to allow someone with little or no knowledge of the merchandise to place the order properly. When requesting parts for machines or equipment, a manufacturer and part number or model number of the unit the parts are for should be stated on the requisition.

1. Emergency Orders
The Purchasing Department recognizes that emergency needs do occur and that special requirements may prevent a department from providing the normal order lead time. An emergency involves threat to life or safety and/or serious damage or destruction to University property. In emergency situations, use your best judgment. If possible, contact Purchasing and we will act quickly and responsively to the needs of the University. Existing vendor relationships may enable speedier response to such situations. The individual having budget authority is responsible for ensuring that adequate funds are available.

2. Blanket Orders
On an annual basis, Purchasing will establish blanket orders with firms that provide goods used regularly by the University. If your department has regular needs for goods or services (10 to 15+ transactions per fiscal year with the same vendor), contact Purchasing and we will work with you to establish a blanket order.

3. Business Cards (Form Available from Purchasing, x4364)
A standard form is used when ordering business cards. This is the only paperwork needed; a Purchase Requisition is not necessary.

4. Regular Orders
For all other needs, complete the Purchase online Requisition in PeopleSoft Financials, being as specific as possible when describing the product. Include any flyers or printed information you may have. If you have made contact with any vendor, include that information. Normal processing time is two to three days, with delivery time dependent upon product availability and delivery schedules. Allow additional time for complex orders, or during rush periods. 

If departments do not know the exact cost, you may call one of the Purchasing Department buyers in advance for general pricing information.

5. Equipment Maintenance
Equipment maintenance can be handled in one of two ways. If departments wish to cover equipment under a service contract, they should submit a Purchase Requisition prior to the expiration of the warranty or existing service contract, if any. For service or repair, departments can contact the vendor directly. 

If service is required on a piece of equipment not covered by contract, departments should complete a Purchase Requisition with a "Not-to-Exceed" amount specified. This should be the maximum amount you are willing to spend on repair. Computer repair is handled through Information Technology.

B. General Information

1. Competitive Bidding
It is the policy of the Purchasing Department to secure competitive bids on goods or services whenever possible. Bids may be solicited verbally or in writing, depending upon the dollar amount of the transactions.

Requisitions having a value in excess of $15,000 require a competitive bid. A minimum of three written bids will be solicited from suppliers.

Exceptions to the bidding process are made in those situations where no apparent benefit would result to the University. Such exceptions include:

  • Sole Source - no other vendor supplies the products, such as replacement parts or patented products, utilities, etc. (a written sole source justification must be submitted with the purchase requisition)
  • Single Authorized Distributor
  • Duplication of Investment (e.g.: die cuts, negatives, plates, etc.)
  • Small orders placed with vendors who have a record of competitive pricing, substantiated by periodic quotations, and a history of good service.

2. Supply Sources
Departments are encouraged to suggest vendors for routine and unusual purchases. The Purchasing Department will consider these suggestions in coming to a decision regarding purchases. Always feel free to contact Purchasing to participate in discussions.

*Departmental personnel are also encouraged to meet with sales representatives to obtain information about new products or services which may be of use or interest to their departments. There are guidelines which should be followed to serve the best interest of the University when dealing directly with a sales person:

*If vendors quote prices, determine if the price includes tax, delivery, and/or installation charges.

*Determine whether or not educational or quantity discounts are available, or if cash discounts are allowed for prompt payment.

*Keep pricing information confidential. Do not reveal prices to competitors; give each vendor a chance to quote his or her best price.

*Do not be pressured into a quick decision. Take the time necessary to evaluate all products/services in relation to your actual needs.

*Never commit to purchase a product from a particular vendor. Only a signed Purchase Order, issued by the Purchasing Department, will obligate the University.

3. Vendor Selection
Vendors are selected for their capability to serve the needs of the University by providing quality products in the most economical and efficient manner possible. Past performance and service after the sale are important factors. Vendors doing business with the University for the first time are carefully evaluated by the Purchasing Department.

Factors considered when evaluating a vendor include:

  • Competitive pricing,
  • Quality product,
  • Good material availability,
  • Geographic proximity,
  • Credit, freight and delivery terms,
  • Vendor financial stability, and
  • Performance with other customers.
  • In accordance with the University’s Mission and Sustainability Policy.

4. Sole Source
As described earlier, sole source placement involves situations in which no advantage results to the University by bidding, or when an item can only be obtained from a single source, making bidding impossible. Any requests for sole source award of a purchase order should include, as part of the Purchase Requisition, a written justification as to why a sole source award is necessary.

5. Sales Tax/Use Tax
Santa Clara University is not exempt from sales or use tax, except when items are purchased for resale (where sales tax is collected on the final sale such as for the Bookstore). For most purchases made out-of-state, the State of California will assess a use tax or in this instance a sales tax. Therefore, all purchases shall have applicable sales tax applied to their order.


A. Changes and Cancelations
If you wish to modify or cancel a purchase order once it has been issued, you must notify Purchasing in writing (or by phone, and follow up with a written memo or revised requisition).

There may be restocking or other charges resulting from the modification or cancellation of purchase orders. These costs will be charged to the departmental budget. Any returns for credit must also be handled by Purchasing.

B. Expediting
The Purchasing Department will expedite all overdue University purchase orders and prompt vendors to ship these orders. Call Purchasing and we will contact the vendor to determine what is causing the delay and what options are available.

C. Receipt of Orders & Payment
Upon receipt of goods/services (unless items are damaged or not as ordered, discussed below), the University is responsible for payment in full. Accounts Payable processes payment, but will not do so until there is verification that goods have been received.

Central Receiving:
If your goods are delivered to you by Central Receiving, you will be required to sign the Delivery Receipt Report of the Purchase Order. This form, signed by you, will serve as verification of receipt of goods and will also serve as authorization for Accounts Payable to pay the vendor. Purchasing will process this automatically to Accounts Payable.

Departmental Receiving:
In some circumstances, goods and/or services are received or picked up directly by the department. In this instance, it is important that you send Purchasing the packing slip or any other documentation which verifies receipt of goods. This documentation must show the Purchase Order number, and must have a department signature with date of receipt.

D. Damaged or Defective Goods
Once you receive a delivery, open it immediately and inspect for concealed or obvious damage, shortages, or mis-shipment. Be sure to compare goods received to the Purchase Order specifications. If you find a mistake or problem with your order, contact the buyer immediately so that steps can be taken to correct the error. If possible, save the packaging for inspection.

E. Returns
If, for any reason, you wish to return a product to the vendor, contact the Purchasing Department within three working days of receipt. Purchasing will then contact the vendor and authorize the return. In addition, Purchasing will notify Accounts Payable and Central Receiving so that your account can be properly credited.