The University of Chicago
The University of Chicago

Local Business Center, Division of the Physical Sciences

Purchasing

BuySite

Most purchases should be processed through the University’s Buysite purchasing system. The University maintains a list of preferred contract vendors for a variety of goods and services as well a full list of vendors in the Buysite system. Those who will be submitting orders on a regular basis are encouraged to attend one of the classroom training sessions. Reviewing the online primer and/or the quick start guide may also prove helpful. Some purchases may also be paid with ePayments or GEMS cards. See the list of preferred purchasing methods for guidance on which method to choose.

Cost Limits

There is no theoretical price limit on BuySite orders. Very large orders ($100,00 and more) will need additional levels of approval.

Purchases totaling $4,999 or less, including delivery, do not need price quotes.

Purchases $5,000 and above require competing quotes and documentation. In addition, the initiator must type the winning quote number in the “Quote #” box in the BuySite requisition. BuySite will reject requisitions over $5,000 where that box is blank.

Purchases between $5,000 and $24,999 should have a minimum of 2 (preferably 3) price quotes. Quotations need to be detailed in the price reasonableness form which must be attached to the buysite order. Written price quotes are preferred which should also be attached to the purchase requisition. It is the order initiator’s responsibilty to solicit the quotes. If competing quotes are not available or if the lowest quote is not the preferred purchase, the situation should be explained on the form.

Purchases over $25,000 should also have competing quotes attached to the requisition. If there are no possible competing vendors, the circumstances should be explained on the Sole Source Justification form and the form attached to the purchase requisition. The reasons should be sufficiently detailed to allow the purchasing department to judge the case quickly. If not, the purchasing department may seek competing quotes on its own, which can slow down the purchase. You should also attach an explanation if the winning quote is not the lowest of the competing quotes that you provide.

Some preferred supplier contracts have special order handling procedures that may be exceptions to the rules above. If in doubt, check the terms of the preferred supplier contracts by name or by commodity.

Price Reasonableness Form

The Price Reasonableness Form is an internal document that must accompany all purchase orders between $5,000 and $25,000 (guidance in assessing price reasonableness). This form should not be sent to the vendors or anyone outside of the University. All quotes and pricing information received from the vendor should not be shared with anyone outside of the University.

Purchase Orders that Do Not Go Through BuySite

Some purchase requisitions cannot or should not be placed through BuySite:

  • Standing orders for supplies or services that are delivered regularly (or irregularly) over a protracted period. Examples include FedEx accounts, bottled water, rented equipment. Leased vehicles are also requisitioned on a standing order but require Purchasing Department involvement.
  • Orders to vendors who require payment in a foreign currency. BuySite cannot currently handle these.
  • Orders to vendors who require advance payment or scheduled payments before completion of delivery.
  • Orders that require Purchasing Department contract negotiation, such as purchased vehicles. Such orders are not common and usually you will have been in negotiation with Purchasing before you are ready to place the requisition.

Requisitions for the above categories are placed via the paper form 100. Form 100 requisitions are subject to the same requirements for competing quotes as BuySite requisitions: all requisitions of $5,000 and above need 2 or 3 competing quotes or a sole source justification. (The price reasonableness form is not used with paper requisitions.) You should also provide an explanation if the winning quote is not the lowest quote.

Adding a Vendor to the System

Sometimes a desired vendor may not be available in Buysite. If this issue is encountered, the requestor should try to find another vendor in the system that sells a comparable product. If there are no other available vendors, then the requestor should contact his/her Financial Administrator to request the addition of a new vendor and provide the following information: company name, full address, telephone and fax numbers, and a contact person. This information is required by the BuySite Vendor Request form.

Special Events

When arranging a special event, which is defined as a University-hosted venue involving services at any dollar amount to be provided by a supplier whether performed on the campus or at an off-campus location, the event planner must submit all argeements/contracts with third party vendors/service providers to Procurement and Payment Services for review. A completed Purchase Request Form (Form 100) should accompany each agreement/contract. Contact Diane Stanek, dstanek@uchicago.edu, 2-3323

Paying from an Invoice

A purchase not initiated with a BuySite purchase order, and for which a Form 100 or other purchase agreement was issued, can be paid with an ePayment request along with the appropriate invoice.

When a Purchase Order Is Not Required

Whenever possible, procurement of goods and services should be made through the BuySite purchasing system. However, there are occassions when that is not a viable option (e.g. the vendor for a one-time purchase is not in our purchasing system, materials for University business are needed immediately or on a time-sensitive basis). There are also some goods and services which are often not paid for via purchase orders such as:

  • Advertising
  • Article Reprints/Copyright fees
  • Books, Guides, Instructional Manuals
  • Business Luncheon & Dinner Meeting Expenses
  • Computer Software & Computer Online Services
  • Conference Registration Fees
  • Corporate Payments: Employment & Real Estate Taxes, Insurance Premiums,
  • Employee Professional Development
  • Freight Charges, excluding Federal Express
  • Gifts
  • Legal Fees, Benefit payments
  • License Fees Membership Fees & Dues
  • Membership Fees and Dues
  • Parking Fines related to University owned vehicles only
  • Penalties and Fines, other
  • Photocopy expenses
  • Postage
  • Real Estate Acquisitions
  • Reimbursements to Individuals for miscellaneous business related expenses
  • Subscriptions to Newspapers and Magazines
  • Unexpended Funds returned to sponsoring agency
  • University Sponsored Event expenses

Personal reimbursement or direct payments to the vendor with an ePayment request would generally be the methods of payment in these cases.

George Herbert Jones Laboratory

PSD LBC Main Office

Jones Laboratory: 5747 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637

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Eckhart Hall

PSD LBC Satellite Office

Eckhart Hall: 5734 S. University Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637

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Chemistry Business Center

Gordon Center for Integrative Science: 929 E 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

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