December 2010 Newsletter

Buying Times

Becky McGaugh, C.P.M. Procurement Director

The Contracting and Purchasing Services department provides purchasing, contracting, accounts payable, property liability, insurance, and property administration services to NAU departments.

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The BuyingTimes is a newsletter published periodically by the Contracting and Purchasing Services department intended to provide NAU departmental representatives with important information to assist with daily tasks and keep them up to date and informed on important issues.  Notifications of new editions will be distributed to Business Manager, Advantage User and PCard Listserves.

Contracting and Purchasing Services is dedicated to providing efficient, timely services to support the mission of NAU. 

Consider the Dollar Amount

NAU departments are authorized to purchase goods and services totaling up to $5,000 using either a departmental purchase order (PD) or PCard in accordance with applicable policy, refer to PUR 304.05 or the Purchasing Card Training and Policy Manual.  Requests for purchases greater than $5,000 are sent to Contracting and Purchasing Services by completing   a requisition document (RQS) in Advantage.  Requests for purchases between $25,000 and $49,999 require three quotes; requests for purchases $50,000 and above require that a sealed bid or sealed request for proposal process be followed. 

Sealed bids are used to procure equipment or other commodities; an award is made to the vendor that meets all specifications and is the lowest bidder.  Allow two weeks to one month for the sealed bid process.  Request for proposals are used for more complex projects; an award is made based on a combination of qualifications, negotiations and price.   Time is needed to write specifications, conduct committee meetings, and negotiate with vendors; the request for proposal process may take between three to six months, depending on the complexity of the project.  Vendor presentations should occur as a result of a competitive solicitation and serve as part of the decision making process to select a new product or service.

Remember to involve Purchasing as soon as you know you will be making a large purchase to ensure your project is implemented according to schedule. 

Furniture Purchases

The three Arizona state universities have awarded furniture contracts through a tri-University formal request for proposal.  The contracts provide high quality furniture products offering longevity, value, professional appearance and also include a budget line of furniture. Products offered on contract are commercial grade with extended warranties, meet or exceed standards for fire-retardant fabrics, low VOC paint finishes, ergonomic criteria including, lumbar support, hydraulic lifts and a minimum of five (5) casters for stability to prevent tipping and/or falling. Finishes on wood products are water-based and nonpolluting.

Office furnishings and services should be selected from one of the three contracted vendors listed below; sales representatives may be contacted directly by the requesting department.  Representatives will provide additional information about specific products and pricing.

Primary Award

Budget Award

Depending on manufacturer and product line, discounts of 50% and higher off the prices listed on the websites will apply under these contracts.

In the event changes to the facility are necessary in order to complete the furniture installation such as the addition of or moving electrical wiring, installation of carpeting, etc., the requesting department will need to coordinate the furniture installation with the NAU Capital Assets and Services department.

Orders that are less than or equal to $5,000 may be purchased from any source and processed using a Departmental Purchase Order (PD) in Advantage or Pcard; orders greater than $5,000 must be processed by completing a requisition (RQS) in Advantage to one of the contracted vendors.  Questions should be directed to Henry Ayala, Buyer in the NAU Contracting and Purchasing Services department by email henry.ayala@nau.edu or phone 928-523-6093.

Contracting

Contracting and Purchasing Services is frequently asked why departmental representatives are 
not allowed to sign contracts and why a departmental courier cannot hand deliver a contract to Contracting and Purchasing Services and wait for a signature.

Signature Authority

Signature authority is limited and controlled because NAU cannot legally enter into a contract unless all Arizona state contracting requirements are met.  Only the NAU President and individuals that have been delegated signature authority by the NAU President are authorized to sign documents on behalf of the Arizona Board of Regents.  A list of authorized signers can be found on the home page of the Comptroller’s website.

Contracting Process

The contracting process consists of reviewing each contract for compliance with applicable policies, laws, rules and regulations, ensuring referenced agreements are on file, obtaining insurance if applicable, negotiating and signing.  While Contracting and Purchasing Services works diligently to turn contracts around timely, delays may occur in those cases where Contracting and Purchasing Services must engage the vendor to obtain proof of insurance, negotiate or clarify terms, as the vendor’s response time cannot be controlled.

Submit contracts to Contracting and Purchasing Services along with a Contract Signature Request form as soon as you know you are moving forward with a project in order to allow adequate time for Contracting and Purchasing Services to work with any parties necessary.

Property and Liability Insurance Services

Property and Liability Insurance Services reviews vendor insurance submittals for approval, requests proof of insurance from Arizona State Risk Management, and files property loss claims with Arizona State Risk Management.

The NAU Insurance Officer is Jill Colucci.  Insurance questions can be directed to nau-insurance@nau.edu and claims questions can be directed to nau-propliabilitu@nau.edu.  Jill’s direct line is 928-523-2009 and email jill.colucci@nau.edu.

“Hello All!  Some of you have already met me, some may have had conversations with me or we may have traded emails, but the vast majority of you have yet to have any dealings with me – however, my promise to each and every one of you is that I will make myself available whenever you may need my assistance.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, or concerns.  That is what I am here for.  In fact, one of my favorite quotes speaks to just that…. "If there is something to gain and nothing to lose by asking, by all means ask!" - W Clement Stone.

I come to NAU with many years of experience in insurance, working in both the private and public sector.  With that said, I wholeheartedly believe I have a great deal to offer.  I feel strongly that I have joined a great group of people at NAU; the community spirit here has been even more evident during this festive holiday season.  To a great new and exciting year for us all! 

Thank you, Jill Colucci, Insurance Officer”

Purchasing Card Security Identifiers

When you have an issue with your PCard account and need to call NAU’s PCard provider, JP Morgan Chase, you will be asked for the last four digits of your Social Security Number (SSN) and/or your mother’s maiden name (MMN).  These security identifiers are used to ensure that you are indeed the actual Cardholder and not someone who is attempting to commit fraud on the account.  You should be aware of how this sensitive information is obtained and protected, and that the SSN may actually refer to your University ID Number (UID).

Cardholder SSN and MMN are obtained via e-mail correspondence after a Cardholder Application is received and approved by Contracting and Purchasing Services.  The information is recorded on the application, entered into Paymentnet, and filed into a secure locked cabinet located in CPS.  The e-mail is then deleted from Microsoft Outlook.

The University began using UID’s in November of 2009 to protect Cardholder SSN’s from any possible compromises through the PCard program.  Prior to that time, SSN’s were used.  If you were a Cardholder prior to November of 2009 and you have not submitted a Change Request form to change your SSN to your UID, your SSN is still being used.  It is important for you to know which number is being used so you can properly identify yourself if there is an issue with your account.  JP Morgan will ask for the SSN in all cases regardless of whether the SSN or UID is recorded for your account.

If you are unsure which security identifier is recorded for your account, please feel free to contact Contracting and Purchasing Services by email p-card@nau.edu, phone 523-4557 or Glenn Birkett email glenn.birkett@nau.edu, phone 523-6094 directly for assistance.

Excess or Surplus Property

Ever wonder what needs to be done with old stuff that is no longer needed by your department?...Contact Property Surplus.

The NAU Property Surplus department has the responsibility of and is the only department authorized to dispose of excess or surplus NAU property.  Property Surplus receives property by scheduling a pick up or arranging for the items to be dropped off at the warehouse, located in Building 47A.  Property is held in the warehouse for fifteen days to allow NAU departments an opportunity to purchase needed items.  After the fifteen days, property is offered for sale to the public.  Property Surplus can be contacted by calling 928-523-8036. 

To Our Readers

If you would like to provide feedback on any of the topics in this edition of BuyingTimes or if you have a topic that you feel would be newsworthy to include in an upcoming edition, send an email to nau-purchasing@nau.edu.  We value your input and look forward to hearing from you! 

Thank you for reading.