As a recipient of taxpayer monies, it is imperative to create competition wherever possible. The Purchasing Policy has specific requirements regarding the solicitation of bids but everyone is encouraged to seek out competition at every level of purchasing. Your Procurement Team representative will be happy to provide you with or assist you in processing bids. The Procurement Department uses and encourages the use of one of these three methods to verify prices:

Telephone Quotations

Telephone quotations may be used for purchases less than $10,000. A telephone solicitation requires many of the same components as a written solicitation but the actual process is managed over the telephone. The Purchasing Policy requires documentation of telephone solicitations of more than $5,000.

The Procurement Department provides a form for telephone solicitations. You may also wish to develop your own format. In either case, this documentation must include:

  • The name and telephone number of at least two suppliers contacted.
  • The name and extension of the individual from the supplier making the offer.
  • Descriptions of the items being quoted including quantities.
  • Any and all notes made during the conversation with the supplier.
  • The name, extension and signature of the individual soliciting the quotation.
» View Telephone Soliciation Form

Written Quotations

The best, most effective way to create competition is to solicit two or more written bids (three bids are preferred but is not always possible.) This method ensures the selected supplier is providing goods and services in the most cost effective manner. Best business practices encourage the use of written competitive bidding at all levels of purchasing but, at WHOI, written quotations are not required unless the value of the purchase is $10,000 or more. The Procurement Department provides a written quotation form. It is geared toward smaller less complicated inquiries. Your Procurement Team member will be happy to assist you with more complicated issues.

Some points to remember when soliciting written quotations are:

  • Bids should include a written request for proposal or pricing (RFP) from WHOI and a written offer from the suppliers.
  • The offer should include all delivery and installation costs.
  • Delivery should be FOB (Free on Board) WHOI or the point where you wish delivery to occur. This ensures liability for products does not transfer to WHOI until you receive the goods.
  • Any and all future maintenance costs should be noted.
  • In the RFP, your specifications should be as generic as possible. Try not to use name brands but the actual technical specification for the product or service required. Any variation from your specification (substitution) should be noted by the bidder.
  • Warranties should be explained in the text of the offer.
  • Payment terms should be delineated in the offer.
  • All bids should be provided on company letterheads and signed by an appropriate company employee (i.e., able to commit the firm to the offer.)

Single or Sole Source Justification

When a purchase order totals more than $10,000, and competition is not possible, a justification of why the single or sole source is being used is required. Sole source procurement are those where no other supplier is available to provide the same or similar product or service required. A single source procurement occurs when there are other suppliers of the same or similar products or services but the nature of the application dictates the selection of a particular source, regardless of price.

Single source procurement is appropriate when:

  • compatibility with accessories, replacement parts or other integrated systems is the paramount consideration.
  • a specific good or service is required and authorized in a grant or contract to maintain the integrity of the project.
  • a pre-packaged commodity is procured for resale.
The form Sole/Single Source Justification must be completed when processing these kinds of procurement. Justification must include what market forces are at play, why the item or service requested is unique and what effect using an alternate would have on the project or institution.

Using a Single or Sole Source does not preclude responsibility to analyze the offer. Whenever a Single or Sole Source is required, a cost or price analysis is to accompany the justification. The "Price Analysis Techniques" related link includes techniques that can assist in determining the fairness of a price. Techniques for comparing price can also be found in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

» View Justification for Single/Sole and Urgent Purchases Form

Last updated: February 27, 2012