The University's suppliers are a valuable resource of information on products and services.
Although the Purchasing Office should be your first resource, there will be times when it is recommended that departments speak directly with selected supplier representatives. They can often help clarify what products or services will best meet the needs of the end user.
To help end users in dealing with supplier representatives, the Purchasing Office suggests the following guidelines:
- Advise the Purchasing Office in advance. The purchasing staff can help by providing information on qualified suppliers.
- Contact more than one qualified supplier whenever possible.
- Give equal information to all suppliers, so each has an equal opportunity to make acceptable recommendations. Never give a supplier any information on budget allocations, or any information provided by a competing supplier.
- Discuss all aspects of the need. Use a life cycle approach, i.e. what happens after the department owns the goods? Using departments should consider installation, maintenance, supplies, training, repairs, etc.
- Guard against overreaction to a supplier created crisis. For instance, "The price is going up after the first of the month"; "This is the last one in stock and I can't guarantee it won't be sold" or, "I need a purchase order to insure we schedule production".
- Do not appear to agree to prices and terms. The purchasing staff needs an opportunity to negotiate a fair price.
- Do not appear to commit the University by telling a salesperson that he or she has the order. Only a signed purchase order can commit the University.
Never accept payments or gifts from suppliers
Offers tendered by unsolicited telephone calls should never be considered. Such items have been found to be overpriced and of poor quality.