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Info for Vendors - Vendors Guide

Bids | Code of Ethics | Conflict of Interest | Equal Opportunity | Gifts | Taxes | Independent Contractors | Office Hours | Parking on Campus | Payment | Procurement Methods | Insurance  | Reservation Of Rights


INTRODUCTION

This information has been designed to assist vendors by outlining policy and procedures for procurement of all goods and services at the University of Maine.


THE PURCHASING DEPARTMENT

The Purchasing Department of the University of Maine has the responsibility for obtaining maximum value from expenditures of all funds administered through the University accounts, insuring that all procedural requirements are met – legal and otherwise, and promoting fair, ethical and legal trade practices.


OFFICE HOURS

The Purchasing Department is open for business from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Central Supply (the University’s supply warehouse) is open from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For both offices, it is requested that you make an appointment prior to your visit to ensure that the person you wish to see will be available.


PARKING ON CAMPUS

Parking permits for vendors and visitors to campus may be obtained from Parking and Transportation Services. Call 207-581-4047 for more information including parking regulations.


PROCUREMENT METHODS

Vendors must obtain a valid purchase order number before providing goods and services to the University (bona fide emergencies excepted). The University reserves the right to delay or withhold payment related to goods or services provided without a purchase order number.

  • Purchase Orders: University policy requires that purchases be made by competitive process whenever practical and possible. There are several ways in which this is accomplished. Frequently, for items of lower value, quotations will be obtained by phone. For purchases with a value greater than $10,000 written quotes are obtained. For purchases over $50,000 a formal sealed bid process is used and is further described below. Occasionally a product or service can only be obtained from one source. In this case the reasons are documented and an order placed.
    • All correspondence regarding purchase orders should be through the Purchasing Department so that complete records will be kept. Without a complete record of transactions, payment of invoices may be delayed. Only the Purchasing Department can make modifications to a purchase order.
    • If you are requested to give a quotation directly to a department, be aware that you may have to quote again to the Purchasing Department.
  • State Contracts and the Educational and Institutional Cooperative Purchasing’s (E&I Co-op) Contracts: The University is able, but is not required, to take advantage of contracts that have been entered into by the State of Maine Division of Purchases and the E&I Cooperative. If your company has a contract with one of these entities, make sure that the appropriate buyer is informed of the terms of the contract so that the University may take advantage of it as appropriate.


PAYMENT

Invoices must contain a purchase order number, invoice number, date and a remit-to address. The University does not, in general, pay from statements; each purchase must be invoiced individually. 

Invoices should be mailed to:

University Of Maine Purchasing Office
Attn: Accounts Payable
5765 Service Building
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469-5765


INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS

If you are an individual providing services to the University, you may have to be paid as an employee or you may be considered an Independent Contractor and must have an Independent Contractor’s Contract on file before providing service. Contact Celeste Cota at 207-581-2692 for further information.


INSURANCE

All vendors who are performing services for the University are required to carry Worker’s Compensation, Public Liability, and Property Damage Insurance (and is some cases Product Liability or Professional Liability). A current insurance certificate must be on file in the Purchasing Department. Details on amounts required are included with bids/contracts or may be obtained by calling the Purchasing Department.


BIDS

When a need for goods or services arises, the Purchasing Department develops specifications for that need and issues either a Request for Bids (RFB) or a Request for Proposals (RFP). The document is sent to vendors known to be able to provide what is needed. The RFB/RFP includes everything a vendor should need in order to develop a bid. A response date and time are given in the document.

A list of upcoming bids is posted on the Purchasing Department web Site on the Upcoming Bids page. Bids will be advertised in appropriate newspapers when additional vendors are sought and when a bid request has a value of $50,000 or more.


READ THE ENTIRE BID DOCUMENT CAREFULLY IN ORDER TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT WILL BE EXPECTED OF YOU SHOULD YOU BE AWARDED THE PURCHASE OR CONTRACT!


Bid specifications include general information about the bid and the bidding process, contract terms, and a complete description of the products or services required. Brand names are sometimes used, and specifications will explain whether an alternate may be bid or whether the brand name specified is the only product acceptable. If alternates are proposed, the University will be the sole judge of equivalency. The specifications will tell bidders who to contact if additional information is needed.

Occasionally it is necessary to obtain assistance from vendors in developing specifications. Vendors should realize that the specifications will probably be used in securing competitive prices. If a charge for these services is required, please make that known before providing assistance.

A buyer may set up a pre-bid conference when information must be conveyed to bidders that would be difficult to include in the specifications, when a site inspection is needed or when questions are expected from vendors. The conference may be mandatory for bidders to attend; this will be stated in the specifications. Conferences are usually scheduled about 10 days after the bid document is issued. All necessary information about a bid conference will be stated in the document.

The specifications contain instructions for the return of bids. Bids must be received in the Purchasing Department by the date and time specified. Late bids will be returned unopened. We will consider a late bid as timely only if our office caused the delay. The University is not responsible for mail delivery problems. Bids must be signed and the envelope sealed. Faxed/Emailed bids will not be accepted.

When it has been determined that further information, clarification, or correction is needed on a bid, an addendum will be sent out to all vendors that have received a copy of the RFB/RFP.   Addenda are also posted to the Purchasing Department’s web site on the Upcoming Bids page.   The University will not be bound by oral responses to vendor’s questions about a bid or to written responses other than addenda.

Samples are occasionally requested for a bid. Instructions are included in the RFB/RFP for submitting samples. Samples are to be provided at no charge to the University, and may be held by the University to verify that product received conforms to the samples. Samples should be sent to the University in a separate package from the bid. Samples will be returned to the vendor upon request if they are not destroyed in the evaluation process.

Bids may be withdrawn or amended by bidders at any time prior to the bid opening. After the bid opening, bids may not be amended. If a large mistake has been made by the apparent low bidder, the bidder will be given the option of selling at the price given or withdrawing the bid. If an extension error has been made, the unit price will prevail.

Bid openings for RFB’s can be public, and if bidders elect to attend the opening, bids will be read aloud. A final determination of award will not be made at the opening. When the award is made all bidders will be notified. All RFB results are public information and may be viewed in the Purchasing Department.

RFP’s will not have an “opening.” They are received in the Purchasing Department usually by close of business on a particular day. Only the number of responses and their names will be given out until an award is made. After award, all proposals will become available for inspection in the Purchasing Department.

Bid awards are made to the most responsive and responsible bidder who has submitted the best offer. An award is usually made to the bidder with the best price, all other things being equal; and RFP is awarded based upon a price and other criteria listed in the bid document. A “responsive bidder” is one who has submitted a bid or proposal which conforms in all material respects to the bid request. A “responsible bidder” is one who has the capability in all respects to perform the contract requirements in a manner which will assure reliability and good performance.

The University reserves the right to accept or reject any or all bids, in whole or in part and is not bound to accept the lowest bid if that bid is not in the best interest of the University. A bid may be rejected if it is in any way incomplete or irregular.

A bidder may protest a bid award by sending a letter (within 5 days of receiving notice of the award) to the Director of Purchasing outlining why the protest is being made. The bid award will be analyzed to determine if it was made fairly and in the best interests of the University. If an error was made, the bid award my be changed, or a decision may be made to reissue the bid. If a protest is not resolved to the satisfaction of an aggrieved bidder, and appeal may be filed with the Vice Chancellor of Administration of the University of Maine System within 10 days of a decision of the director.


EQUAL OPPORTUNITY

It is the policy of the University of Maine System not to discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, transgender status or gender expression, national origin or citizenship status, age, handicap or veterans status and to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request. Contractors and subcontractors must agree to University Policy.


TAXES

In all its purchases, the University is tax exempt by Section 1760, Subsection II of the Maine Sales and Use Tax Law. The University is a Tax Exempt Educational Institution as defined by Internal Revenue Code 501(c) and is currently regarded as such by the Internal Revenue Service.


GIFTS

It is the policy of the University of Maine System that the acceptance of a gift from a supplier or potential supplier by any employee is strictly prohibited. It is requested that the value of any gift be reflected in cost savings on solicitations for the benefit of the University.


CONFLICT OF INTEREST

If you are both a vendor and an employee of the University, your circumstances must be reviewed by the Vice President of Business and Finance before any transactions can take place to avoid any conflict-of-interest situations or the appearance of conflict of interest.


RESERVATION OF RIGHTS

The University of Maine reserves the right to make changes to this guide without prior notice to vendors. If a disparity occurs between this guide and bid documents or purchase orders, the bid or purchase order will govern.


CODE OF ETHICS

The University of Maine Purchasing Department is a member of the National Association of Educational Procurementand adheres to NAEP’s code of ethics, which is as follows:

  1. Give first consideration to the objectives and policies of my institution.
  2. Strive to obtain the maximum value for each dollar of expenditure.
  3. Decline personal gifts or gratuities.
  4. Grant all competitive suppliers equal consideration insofar as state or federal statutes and institutional policy permit.
  5. Conduct business with potential and current suppliers in an atmosphere of good faith, devoid of intentional misrepresentation.
  6. Demand honesty in sales representation, whether offered through the medium of verbal or written statement, an advertisement, or a sample of the product.
  7. Receive consent of originator of proprietary ideas and designs before using them for competitive purchasing purposes.
  8. Make every reasonable effort to negotiate an equitable and mutually agreeable settlement of any controversy with a supplier; and/or be willing to submit any major controversies to arbitration or other third party review, insofar as the established policies of my institution permit.
  9. Accord a prompt and courteous reception insofar as conditions permit to all who call on legitimate business missions.
  10. Cooperate with trade, industrial, and professional associations, and with governmental and private agencies for the purposes of promoting and developing sound business methods.
  11. Foster fair, ethical, and legal trade practices.
  12. Counsel and cooperate with NAEB members and promote a spirit of unity and a keen interest in professional growth among them.
 


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