Dealing with Vendors
Departments are encouraged to seek information on products and services from vendor representatives. They are a valuable source of information. Procurement Services should also be advised of needs so they can assist in locating vendors and developing a procurement plan. To help you in dealing with vendor representatives and to help you avoid some common pitfalls, the following guidelines are suggested:
- Advise Procurement Services in advance of contacting vendors. Procurement can provide information.
- Contact more than one vendor whenever possible. The more alternatives you have, the better.
- Give equal information to all vendors so each has an equal opportunity to compete.
- Discuss all aspects of the needs. Use a life cycle approach. Consider what happens after the department owns the equipment. Where does the vendor's responsibility end? What about maintenance? Operational skills? Repair?
- State on your Requisition a complete description of the item and attach all pertinent information about the suggested vendor and any product literature.
- Do not commit the University by telling a salesperson he or she has the order. Only a signed Purchase Order can commit the University. (To commit otherwise may commit yourself.)
- NEVER accept payments or gifts from vendors.
- Guard against overreaction to a vendor created crisis (e.g., "Price goes up next month."; "This is the last one in stock.").
- Don't wait until the last minute to submit your Requisition. The more time Purchasing and the vendor have to process the purchase, the better the job can be done for you.
- Never place orders that are the result of unsolicited phone calls to you. Such items have been found to be overpriced and inferior in quality.
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