Purchasing Policies

Ordering Supplies, Equipment, Books, & Other Purchases

Purchasing Quick Start Guide (pdf)

Whenever making a purchase on behalf of SMTD, please pause to first consider the following:

  • Where will the funds come from?
  • Does the purchase comply with existing budget parameters?
  • Have you obtained the appropriate/required approvals? Please check with your supervisor or budget authority if you have any questions on your purchase limits.
  • Are multiple quotes required? SMTD usually requires at least three price quotes (not as formal as an official bidding process) for all expenses/purchases between $5,000 and $10,000. Please contact the CAO or Financial Manager if you have any questions about quotes for these purchases.
  • The University requires that all transactions valued at $10,000 or more undergo a competitive bidding process before making the purchase. Please contact Procurement for questions or to begin that process.
  • Does the vendor selected represent a potential, actual, or perceived conflict of interest (e.g., the owner of the external company is the spouse of an SMTD faculty or staff member)?
  • Have you selected the most cost effective purchase while also meeting the objectives of the purchase?
  • Is a contract or other signed agreement required?
    • If yes, then only Procurement Services can sign contracts of any dollar value on behalf of the University. Signing a contract on your own may result in a denial of payment by SMTD/UM and you may be held personally liable for the expense.
    • Verbal commitments to a vendor do not constitute commitments on behalf of the University or SMTD. A purchase is not authorized until a valid PO is issued or a contract is signed by Procurement.
    • No one at SMTD is authorized to sign a contract with an external vendor, business, or individual.
  • In all cases, SMTD policies will be at least as strict as University policies, and in some cases SMTD policies may be more restrictive than University policies. This is done to meet the unique financial and operational needs of SMTD. However, SMTD policies will never be less restrictive than University policies.

Once you have considered the above, please comply with the following policies and guidelines on how best to make your purchase using the most appropriate method. Additionally, please attempt to make purchases according to the order of the purchasing methods listed below.

Buying services from other UM units and departments (Internal Service Providers)

Internal service providers are University of Michigan business units that provide goods and services to other University units and departments. Using Internal Service Providers can save time and money—and since the transaction is between two University units, procurement review and approval is not necessary.

Buying services from our preferred UM vendors (Strategic Contracts)

  • Strategic Contracts are vendors with whom the University has previously agreed upon pricing and delivery terms, and are therefore a preferred source. Vendors include OfficeMax, Barnes & Noble, and Katherine’s Catering, among others. Find products and services.
  • If your repeatedly used vendor is not listed here, you should work with Procurement to create a contract with your vendor, when possible.

U-M On-Line Ordering Catalogue (M-Marketsite)

  • M-Marketsite is the University’s online catalogue ordering system. University guidelines state that M-Marketsite orders can be placed for up to $25,000 without Procurement approval, since the competitive bidding process has already taken place for all M-Marketsite vendors.
  • However, one must still adhere to their approved budget allocation and SMTD prescribed budget approval limits. Please check with your supervisor or budget authority if you have any questions on your purchase limits.
  • Log in to M-Marketsite. The link to “browse only” access is near the middle of the page.
  • Find products and services.

Large Printing Orders (Quote to Order Program)

  • Quote to Order (QTO) will assist in completing printing and mailing projects while maintaining compliance with University and Procurement guidelines. This program should be considered for printing of folders, programs, labels, etc. Please utilize this program for ALL printing needs.
  • The budget owner must give prior approval to spend the quoted amount before creating an order.
  • Per our procurement policy, quotes greater than $10K require Eli Salembier’s approval prior to submitting to Procurement for review.
  • Timing for print orders should be considered in advance of placing your order; same day service is not always available and cannot always be guaranteed.
  • Quotes can sometimes take a week to process.
  • Log in and see a list of QTO suppliers.

ePro Requisition

Used to purchase goods and services not available through an Internal Service Provider or Strategic Contracts. It can also be used to pay individuals for non-appointment related services.

  • The ePro Requisition process requires that an estimate be provided in order to create a purchase order. In other words, the purchase order comes BEFORE the purchase, not after. Verbal commitments to the vendor do not constitute commitments on behalf of the University or SMTD. A purchase is not authorized until a valid PO is issued, or a contract signed by Procurement Services.
  • Additional information.

Sole Source Justifications

  • At SMTD, all transactions of $5,000 or more require pricing quotes from at least three vendors. Additionally, the University stipulates that almost all transactions valued at $10,000 or more REQUIRE a competitive bidding process before making the purchase.
  • We CANNOT rely on Sole Source Justifications to bypass the competitive bidding process. The Sole Source Justification is meant to be used only when a purchase cannot be competitively bid (e.g., there is only one vendor who can provide the item).
  • We cannot use a Sole Source Justification simply because we prefer to work with a particular vendor. This presents the appearance of a conflict of interest, and also precludes us from the opportunity to seek the best vendor based on cost and services provided.


  • Because PCards are primarily meant to support business travel and hosting related expenses (with recruitment and development following under those categories), it is not meant to act as your primary purchasing method.
  • The PCard may NOT be used for personal purchases, and it is NOT transferrable for use by others. Personal use of the PCard will result in an immediate warning; subsequent personal use of the PCard will result in the immediate termination and permanent non-renewal of PCard privileges.
  • PCard activity MUST be checked at least weekly, and final reports submitted monthly. You should build one expense report for submission per month.
  • Occasionally, the PCard may be used for low-dollar, infrequent transactions per SPG 507.01. Low-dollar items may be purchased with the PCard if the following two conditions exist: (1) the item is not available from a U-M strategic contract or internal service provider; and (2) the supplier will not accept a purchase order and the purchase is necessary to the mission of the unit.
  • Continued use of the PCard to purchase goods and services available through another purchasing method will result in the termination of PCard privileges.
  • Ongoing failure to reconcile PCard transactions within the timeline noted above will result in the termination of PCard privileges.

How to pay an individual for non-appointment related services

  • PeoplePay is the transaction process used for paying for services from individuals rather than businesses, and can also be used to pay individuals for honoraria and, royalties; and to pay or record prizes, gifts, and awards. PeoplePay makes it simple to ensure that the payment meets University requirements and IRS rules governing the taxation of payments to individuals.
  • PeoplePay transactions for payment of services to individuals are subject to all University procurement policies, including the competitive bid process, even though some transactions are processed by the University’s payroll department and some through Procurement Services.
  • The PeoplePay Decision Tool guides staff and faculty in determining how to pay a person for non-appointment related items or services. The PeoplePay tool asks simple questions to quickly determine the correct process or form to use when making these types of payments.
  • PeoplePay should not be used to pay UM/SMTD faculty or staff for services related to their employment.