Purchasing Questions

  1. I would like to have something purchased. How do I go about initiating the process?
  2. Do all purchases have to be competitively bid?
  3. Why do we have to go through Procurement to purchase something?
  4. What vendor discounts are available to AURA?
  5. Is it possible for Procurement to set up an account with a local vendor that will allow me to obtain items from that vendor without going through the full Procurement process?
  6. I found that AURA has an account with a vendor I have been talking to. In this instance, can I have the vendor deliver the item that I want and put it on our account?
  7. Should we have an emergency situation arise, how do I get something purchased without waiting for the requisition to be processed?

I would like to have something purchased. How do I go about initiating the process?

To make a purchase, log on to Reqless, the online purchasing tool.  Follow the online prompts to create a requisition.  Once the requisition is approved and submitted to Procurement, it will be assigned a buyer. The buyer will contact various vendors in order to obtain the requested materials or services at the best price.

To be valid, a requisition must:

  1. have a valid account number;

  2. be signed by the individual granted commitment authority for the account number(s)
    indicated on the requisition; and

  3. be for the purchase of official, necessary materials or services (i.e., not personal).

Requisitions produced under Reqless are automatically sent to approving authorities for approval and electronically transmitted to Procurement for Processing. The system only allows current, active account numbers to be used. All AURA employees are authorized to use Reqless.

top


Do all purchases have to be competitively bid?

AURA's cooperative agreement with the U.S. government requires that competitive bids be received for purchases. AURA has interpreted this to apply to purchases exceeding $1,000. For such purposes, a minimum of three bids is required.

If you believe your purchase should be made without competitive bidding you will need to submit a Sole Source Justification. See the Sole Source Procurements FAQ page.

If you are contacting vendors to get pricing, simply attach vendor emails to the requisition, along with copies of any letters or bid packages.  If the vendor provided the price over the phone, make notes and add them to the requisition. Procurement will review your information and determine if it is sufficient to accept the submitted bids.

If you have any questions concerning this process, contact Suzanne Baron Helming, AURA Procurement Manager.

top


Why do we have to go through Procurement to purchase something?

The AURA Procurement Manager, and the Contracts Officer or their designates have been granted the authority to contract with third parties on behalf of AURA.

top


What vendor discounts are available to AURA?

The only discount that AURA is eligible to receive is the General Services Administration (GSA) discount. Not all vendors have contracts with the GSA, and many are unable to offer these GSA discounts. In addition, and depending on the time of year, the GSA discounted price may be more than that which AURA would normally pay to a specific vendor.

Other discounts are made available to AURA at the discretion of the vendor. AURA is NOT an educational institution; however, some vendors grant AURA educational discounts because educational institutions sit on AURA's board of directors, AURA provides significant assistance to graduate students, AURA supports educational institutions research projects, and AURA provides assistance to elementary, junior high, and high school science educators. Buyers always check the availability of GSA, educational, and other available discounts.

AURA is NOT eligible for government discounts on travel unless such discounts are granted by the vendor.

For further information on available discounts, contact the AURA procurement manager or one of the buyers at your center.

top


Is it possible for Procurement to set up an account with a local vendor that will
allow me to obtain items from that vendor without going through the full Procurement
process?

Blanket purchase orders (BPOs) are issued to specific vendors and authorize specific employees to purchase goods or services from that company on an ongoing basis without the intervention of Procurement. Generally these BPOs are for maintenance, storage or communications services, but they can also be for the purchase of individual items from the vendor's stock.

AURA Procurement has issued BPOs to several local vendors to cover the purchase of specific materials or services on behalf of certain departments or individuals. Other departments and/or individuals are not authorized to use that BPO unless it is amended to include them.

If your department desires to issue a BPO to a specific vendor, contact AURA Procurement for instructions. As with all purchases, a BPO is initiated with a requisition.

top


I found that AURA has an account with a vendor I have been talking to. In this instance, can I have the vendor deliver the item that I want and put it on our account?

AURA maintains accounts with a significant number of vendors in Tucson and across the country. Generally these accounts are set up so that a vendor can bill AURA in response to a valid purchase order issued by Procurement. The fact that AURA has an account with a vendor does not mean that employees can obtain items from that vendor without following normal purchase procedures.

Unless delegated the specific authority by the AURA Procurement Manager, employees do not have the authority to contract on behalf of AURA with a third party. Send Procurement a requisition and they will get the item for you.

top


Should we have an emergency situation arise, how do I make a purchase without waiting for the requisition to be processed?

Should an emergency situation arise and a purchase be made without a purchase requisition being processed, the requester is to contact a buyer and advise them of the needed articles. This phone contact is to be followed up by requisition directed to the buyer detailing the description, part numbers and quantity of the articles required.

An "EMERGENCY SITUATION" is defined as the repair or replacement of articles without which the operations of AURA may be seriously jeopardized.

If you have any questions concerning these processes, contact Suzanne Baron Helming, AURA Procurement Manager (ext. 8180).