Supplier's Guide

How to Get Started

The goal of the Procurement Department at WHOI is to obtain the highest quality products and services, at the "least total cost" to the Institution, in a timely manner with the best possible customer service and support.

Contact a Procurement Representative
Making the initial contact with the Procurement is a critical first step to successfully participating in WHOI’s purchasing process. Failure to make the initial contact with the appropriate team member may jeopardize your ability to conduct business with the Institution.

Although we have an open door policy at WHOI, we strongly recommend that you contact the Procurement Team to schedule an appointment prior to visiting any WHOI location.

This will guarantee the availability of a procurement Team member and the Team member will also be better prepared to learn about your company.

To engage this process we invite you to submit your request to

Vendor Application Form
If you are new supplier to WHOI, you MUST complete a vendor application form prior to any transactions with WHOI.

Regulations, Policies, Terms & Conditions
WHOI is expected to maintain auditable records that comply with applicable federal purchasing regulations. For example, WHOI requires purchases to meet specific bidding requirements. This requirement is important as WHOI receives substantial research funding from federal agencies and is obligated to maintain a federally approved purchasing system. As a potential vendor, you should be aware of the federal purchasing regulations (available on our website).
» Learn more about WHOI and government regulations, policies, terms, and conditions

What We Look For in Potential Suppliers

WHOI is interested in establishing business relationships with suppliers who:

Quality - Are committed to providing quality products, customer service, support, and responsiveness.
Focus - Are focused on “making purchasing easy” while meeting or exceeding WHOI’s expectations.
Savings - Continually look for ways to help WHOI lower costs.
Innovation -  Are willing to work toward continuous process improvement.
Technology -Take advantage of technology to maintain a competitive edge and add to their capabilities and responsiveness.

What You Can Expect From Us

WHOI is interested in establishing business relationships with suppliers who:

Information -We will provide you with as much information as possible on our process, customers, and customer requirements.
Access -Make every attempt to get you to the appropriate requisitioners for your products or services.
Fairness -Provide fair and equal treatment to you and your company so that you have the opportunity to participate in the procurement process.
Feedback - Provide feedback regarding performance, changing business requirements, and other business issues

Authorized Purchasing Methods

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution financial policy requires that all purchase transactions be conducted using an authorized method of purchasing (Purchase Order, WHOI Credit Card or WHOI specific contract document) and in accordance with WHOI procurement procedures. Shipment of products to WHOI, or services performed by a supplier without prior receipt of a WHOI purchase order number or WHOI corporate credit card number or WHOI contract will be considered a gift to WHOI without any additional obligation on part of the Institution.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will authorize a supplier to change an original purchase order via a formal WHOI purchase order change order notification. No change to an original purchase order shall be initiated by the supplier without receipt of prior written approval from WHOI’s Procurement Department.

On rare occasions and for good cause, WHOI, by written notice stating the extent and effective date, may terminate a purchase order in whole or in part for the seller’s default if the seller refuses to comply with the provisions of a purchase order or fails to make progress so as to endanger performance and does not cure such failure within a reasonable period of time; or when deemed to be in the best interest of the Institution.

Suppliers may provide demonstrator or loaner equipment for the purpose of evaluation and/or examination by a WHOI department. This is done entirely at the option of the supplier, with no commitment to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. An official no-charge WHOI purchase order is to be issued to document the evaluation process.

Substitutions of items specified in a WHOI purchase order by the supplier are not permitted without prior written approval from the Procurement Department.

The Procurement Department has been authorized to sign all supplier contracts for products and services. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist and staff ARE NOT PERMITTED to sign any supplier document (contract and/or agreement). All formal contracts must be presented to the Procurement Department for review and approval by an authorized person within WHOI.

Leveraging WHOI?s Buying Power

The Procurement Department is authorized to negotiate and implement campus-wide supplier contract pricing agreements that will provide the Institution with "least total cost" for products and services required from external suppliers. These formal supplier contracts have been negotiated to take advantage of the Institution’s significant buying power. Contract suppliers are expected to offer their "best possible price" to WHOI and offer the agreed upon contract pricing to all departments.

Formal institution-wide contracts are awarded to suppliers that can satisfy WHOI’s business requirements while providing value, service and support to our staff. The Procurement Department and WHOI’s contract suppliers work collaboratively to market the value and benefits of each new contract. This marketing effort focuses on "marketing acceptance" of new contracts by meeting or exceeding customer expectations.

Delivery of Products

All deliveries are to be made to the authorized WHOI ship-to location as instructed on the purchase order and are subject to inspection and approval. A change to an authorized ship-to location is not permitted unless approved in advance by the end user and/or WHOI Procurement

Supplier Payment

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s standard payment terms are "Net 30 Days" from the date of the invoice. WHOI will attempt to take all prompt pay discounts offered by the supplier. Supplier payment is made by means of a WHOI check or EFT in the amount due. All supplier invoices and written correspondence must be sent directly to:

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Procurement Department, MS #1
Woods Hole MA 02543

The supplier invoice must contain the following information:

  • A valid authorized WHOI purchase order,
  • Complete description of the products or services,
  • Quantity delivered,
  • Unit price and extensions,
  • Prompt pay discount, if offered.
If you have any questions regarding the WHOI procurement process, or would like additional information, contact the Procurement Department at (508) 289-2371. Business hours for purchasing services are 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday thru Friday.


We welcome potential suppliers and hope the information contained in this Supplier Guide will help you better understand how purchasing is conducted at WHOI. We would like to thank you for your interest in the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and hope that we can establish a mutually beneficial business partnership.

Last updated: December 28, 2016