UCR Policies and Procedures

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Policy Title:                            Procurement Services - Purpose, Function, and Organization

Policy Number:                      750-72

Responsible Officer:  

Associate Vice Chancellor of Business & Financial Services and  Controller

Responsible Office:  

Business and Financial Services-Procurement Services

Origination Date:  


Date of Revision:  


Date of Last Review:  



Procurement Support Services Guidance

 I.  Purpose

The primary mission of Procurement Services at the University of California, Riverside (UC Riverside) is to provide procurement support services for the University of California (UC) in pursuit of its mission of research, education, and public service. Procurement Services implements and administers system-wide policies, as specified in the UC Business and Finance Bulletins, in a manner consistent with the following: 

A.  Cost Effectiveness.

Cost effectiveness is accomplished through programs dealing with standardization, value, cost and price analysis, utilization of items that are excess to others, maximization of the economics of quantity buying through the use of system-wide, campus-wide, and regional pooled-purchases, commodity agreements and price schedules (i.e., UC Strategic Sourcing Program), as well as simplification of the procurement process itself. The primary emphasis is to encourage receipt of the most favorable prices, terms, and conditions of purchase which result in the greatest value to the University at the lowest overall cost, consistent with needs.

B.  Positive Supplier Relationships and Affirmative Action in Business Contracting. 

Procurement Services is committed to the development and maintenance of a large Supplier base and strong Supplier relations. Procurement Services actively seeks-out and is strongly committed to the continued development and utilization of small business enterprises (SBE), disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE), woman-owned business enterprises (WBE) and veteran-owned business enterprises (VOBE). Procurement Services undertakes all reasonable and appropriate actions to promote such businesses and ensure they are given every opportunity to compete for and receive University business.

C.  Mediate on behalf of customers, campus, and suppliers. 

Procurement Services acts as the primary interface between Suppliers and campus customers. Although Procurement's primary role is to represent the campus best interests, it is also Procurements responsibility to help ensure campus demands of its Suppliers are reasonable. Procurement Services promotes positive Supplier relationships through adjudication or mediation of disagreements between Suppliers and campus customers when appropriate.

D.  Professional Conduct.

Procurement Services conducts all activities in a fair, ethical, legal, and professional manner, consistent with the Principles and Standards of Purchasing Practice of the Institute for Supply Management (formerly National Association of Purchasing Management) and the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Educational Procurement (formerly National Association of Educational Buyers). 

E.  Protection of University Interests.

Procurement Services helps ensure that all purchasing transactions are conducted in accordance with current University-wide policies and procedures, State and Federal laws and regulations as well as any special requirements of extramural sponsors (with the assistance of the campus Office of Research). Procurement Services further protects University interests through the development of purchasing transactions which include terms and conditions which benefit and protect the University in the event of product or Supplier failure to properly perform. All purchasing transactions are documented to indicate that the requirements for competition have been met; negotiations, if any, have been conducted in accordance with prescribed guidelines; prices to be paid are reasonable; and all necessary approvals have been obtained. 

F.   Assistance and Information Provided in Support of Campus and University-wide Activities.

Procurement Services provides procurement related research activities for the benefit of campus departments and University-wide administration. These activities include locating sources for needed materials and services, providing literature and/or price estimates for budgetary purposes, providing information for user's consideration and counseling users in regard to purchasing requirements and procedures. It is Procurement Services goal to ensure campus customers make fully informed procurement decisions.

II.  Function

 The specific responsibilities and efforts of Procurement Services are presented below: 

A.  Price Reasonableness Determination

Procurement Services is required to certify that the prices to be paid on all purchasing transactions are reasonable. A "Reasonable Price" is a price that does not exceed that which would be incurred by a prudent person in the conduct of a competitive business. A reasonable price is established by market test, price or cost analysis, or through the experience and judgment of the Director of Procurement Services, or designee. Such judgment considers total value to the University. There is value to the University in purchases which meet the University's needs, such as those involving quality, quantity, delivery and service. A reasonable price need not be the lowest price available, but is one which can be shown as offering the highest total value to the University.

1.  Transactions over $100,000 - A reasonable price is established through competition sufficient to ensure an adequate market test, or set by applicable law or regulation, or supported by an appropriate price or cost analysis.

2.  Transactions under $100,000 - A reasonable price is normally determined through analysis and the experience and judgment of the Director of Procurement Services, or designee, including the value-based criteria noted above.

Pricing techniques prescribed in Federal regulations are utilized selectively in price or cost analysis (including where appropriate, an analysis is made of lease and purchase alternatives to determine which would be the most economical and practical procurement), recognizing their fundamental soundness but taking into consideration the different character and scale of purchases for which these regulations have been developed. Literal compliance is necessary only for purchases under specific Federal contracts and grants which require such action.

B.  Pricing and Product Information

Procurement Services maintains pricing and product information as well as market trends and potential supply sources for many commodities. This information is available for use by all campus departments. 

C.  Product Differentiation

Sales representatives often present their product in comparison to products available from other Suppliers/manufacturers, attempting to convince potential customers that the functions or specifications of their own product are a necessity. If Suppliers are successful, competition is essentially negated and the price paid by the University may be greater than that which could have been obtained through normal competitive methods. Therefore, though a particular product may be the most desirable for a user's applications, it is imperative that the user does not indicate to the Supplier that their product is the only one suitable. When this situation arises, contact the appropriate Buyer in Procurement Services for advice and/or assistance. 

D.  Communication with Departments

Development and maintenance of two-way communication with campus departments is essential for effectively meeting the needs of the University. Communications include price and product information, development of product specifications, development of procurement strategies, discussions of policy and procedures, and the legal ramifications of any proposed purchase action.

E.  Standardization

Procurement Services ensures that the standards which have been developed for certain commodities are not circumvented. Such standards have been established to ensure safety and provide the greatest value to the University.

F.  Cost Savings

Procurement Services is charged with achieving cost savings. "Cost savings" is defined as the difference between the current price paid and/or a price previously paid by the University for the same item(s). Cost savings are obtained through professional buyer actions utilizing a variety of techniques. Savings accomplished through Supplier price reductions generally available to the marketplace (such as list price reductions) are not considered or recorded as cost savings accomplishments.

G.  Cost Avoidances

Procurement Services is charged with achieving cost avoidances. "Cost avoidance" is defined as the economic benefit resulting from positive action of Procurement Services buyers which enables the requisitioning department to avoid a cost that would have otherwise been incurred. Cost avoidances also include obtaining greater values at no additional cost to the requisitioning department (e.g., obtaining additional materials or services for no additional cost) as well as negotiated discounts resulting in lower costs.

H.  Business Affirmative Action

Procurement Services actively seeks-out and is strongly committed to the continued development and utilization of small business enterprises (SBE). Procurement Services undertakes all reasonable and appropriate actions to promote utilization of such businesses and ensure they are given every opportunity to compete for and receive University business.

It is the policy of the University of California, Riverside, as required by the funding source and consistent with State and Federal law, to take affirmative action to optimize opportunities for business contracting with small business enterprises, particularly small disadvantaged, woman-owned, and disabled veteran-owned business enterprises in providing goods and services to the University, and to ensure the placement of a fair proportion of business contracts with such enterprises as required by the funding source.

Procurement Services utilizes a number of techniques to accomplish this task, including; outreach, Supplier development, Supplier education, trial orders, splitting large orders into smaller orders to permit participation, and other methods as may be recommended by University sponsors. All campus departments utilizing funds from sponsors which require utilization of such targeted Suppliers must be keenly aware that it is the campus' collective responsibility to ensure these businesses receive the fullest opportunity to participate in University business contracts. This campus responsibility includes assurance that these businesses receive a proportionate share of university business contracts.

III.  Organization

Procurement Services is a division of the Business & Financial Services. The organizational structure is as follows: 

  • Vice Chancellor Business & Administrative Services
  • Associate Vice Chancellor Business & Financial Services and Controller
  • Director Procurement Services
  • Procurement Services Manager
  • Procurement Supervisors (organized by commodity)
  • Buyers (by commodity)

Procurement Services is currently organized into four buying groups. Each of these groups purchases a range of semi-related commodities. Each group is headed by a senior level Procurement Supervisor (buyer) specializing in specific commodities assisted by support buyers. This arrangement allows the members of each group to develop greater expertise within their commodity assignments.

The members of each buying group, telephone extensions and commodity assignments are shown on Procurement Services "Who-Buys-What" webpage. After review of this webpage, if you are still unsure as to the appropriate member to contact for a particular transaction, you may call any of the Buyers for assistance.          

IV.  Related References

V.  Feedback

For questions related to this policy or associated procedures, contact the Director of Procurement. 

VI.   Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to be added in a future update

VII.  Revision History

The policy and associated procedures are reviewed, at a minimum every two years, by the Associate Vice Chancellor of Business & Financial Services and Controller or designee. The Office of Compliance updates this policy and associated procedures to reflect changes to related policies or governing standards, regulations, laws, and other such guidance as often as required.