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The Purchasing Department conducts business in an open and competitive fashion in accordance with regulations established by CMU's Board of Trustees.

To review the regulations and the purchasing process departments are expected to follow, refer to the Purchasing Process and Bidding page within the Vendor Information section.

Jump to frequently asked questions about:

General purchasing

    Purchases under this amount should be handled as follows:

    Purchases less than $5,000 should be made either using the CMU Business Card or NPO voucher. Please refer to Travel and Business Expenses for purchases not allowed on the business card. Business card-restricted items (i.e. computers, iPads) must be handled by Contracting and Purchasing Services through a purchase requisition or contract and not purchased using any other means.

    A competitive solicitation process is required for all purchases $5,000 and above. If a competitive bid is not done, an exception must be requested through the Director of Contracting and Purchasing Services.

    Requisition or project approvals are required as follows:

    • Up to $500K = VP/Provost
    • $501K to $1M = President
    • $1,000,001 and above = Board of Trustees

    Log on to SAP.

    Go to: Logistics > Material Management > Purchase Order > List Display > By Account Assignment.

    Enter your cost center (org #) then click on the check mark with a red circle above it. This display will show PO#, vendor name, price of items and the item ordered.

    A non-competitive purchase is for an item that can only be purchased from one vendor (thus a competitive environment does not exist). Adequate justification is required substantiating that no other vendor can supply the item. Also provide reasons for the request for this item (e.g. compatibility, spare parts, labor, training, design/performance specifications and/or uniformity). Finally, if it is known, provide the names of other universities that have purchased the item so they can be contacted to evaluate the vendor's price quoted.

    cost center split can requested at the time of purchase requisition only.
    Purchase orders cannot be split between a cost center and a WBS/grant fund.

    Contact the appropriate buyer and provide the following information: vendor name, PO number, and the reason for the return. Some vendors may charge a restocking fee for returned items.

    Note: If Central Receiving is not notified of the return, your cost center (org #) will show the money as committed.

    Yes, but Payable Accounting, Central Receiving, and Purchasing need to know some of the return information to make sure everything is covered. Contact the Purchasing Department for a copy of the suggested return process and required return letters.

    Contact Purchasing's Administrative Staff at (989) 774-3118 and provide the appropriate PO number.

    It means that funds are reserved until the item is actually paid for. POs are always encumbered while credit card transactions are not.

    Yes, a copy of the current MA, BPO, or MSA will be sent to the department approximately three months prior to the expiration date. Departments are responsible for providing appropriate approvals and cost center information in a timely manner.


      Yes, open and competitive purchasing is still required. All grant-funded acquisitions follow CMU's normal purchasing policies and procedures.

      When an item is only available from one source or the "awarding agency" authorizes in writing a non-competitive purchase.

      Not unless the grant specifically provides for a preference.

      During the solicitation period, all qualified sources have the right to participate and present you with a proposal quotation. Submission timelines though, do not require changing to accommodate a late request to participate.

      Businesses can get certified through the EPA's Small Business Administration, the Department of Transportation's (DOT) state-implemented DBE Certification Program, or Independent private organizations, Tribal, State and local governments, as long as their standards for certification meet or exceed the EPA's.

      Any item unit cost over $5,000 requires notification to the relevant chair, dean and the Office of Research and Graduate Studies (ORGS). When using the online purchase requisition form, use the approved by email fields at the bottom of the form to send an email copy of the purchase to your relevant chair and dean. ORGS is automatically emailed when submitting the form.

      Most sponsors disallow the purchase of the following general-purpose items without prior sponsor approval: cameras, stereos, audio-visual equipment, televisions, VCRs, DVDs, printers, computers (including notebooks and iPads), electronics, and digital media equipment. Costs insured for these supplies/equipment without prior consultation with ORGS and necessary sponsor approval might result in the charges being transferred off the grant account and charged to the PIs department or college.