Information About Suppliers

Supplier Competition at Rice

In accordance with the Rice University Policy 814 and the associated procedures, competition is required PRIOR to the award of any and all business on purchases valued $25,000 or more. This applies to the entire value of the transaction, not just one item. Click here to see the Purchasing Procedures and refer to Section V.C. for details on competition requirements. All competitive bids will be collected from vendors IN WRITING and added to the record. For more information on any of this material, contact the Office of Procurement.

Bidding (See an Example of a Bid HERE)

Especially effective from $3k-$100K. Mandatory starting at $25K.

Please note - take the time to read the information below if you have not conducted a bid under the new Procurement Policy issued in December of 2014

Bids are the most simple and efficient way to quickly solicit input from vendors and are usually based on pricing and delivery terms. This is often referred to as "three-bids-and-a-buy." Do not over-complicate the bid process. This is one area of "expertise" where common-sense applies. Rice University will solicit bids, make a decision, and then issue a purchase order to the awardee. The bidding process is a straight-forward request for pricing for goods or simple services from vendors. It is a process that can be accomplished by following the steps here:

  1. Prepare the Bid
    1. Prepare written specifications before soliciting bids. Elements that may be included are:
      1. Quantity wanted; packaging information (i.e. 12 60-oz. containers/case).
      2. Trade or brand name; manufacturer part number, model number, and catalog number.
      3. Physical description; i.e. dimensions, size, color, weight, grade, finish; composition; performance requirements.
      4. For installation and/or service contracts: nature of service, location, time limits. (NOTE: Insurance requirements apply to all services performed on campus.)
      5. Delivery deadline if applicable; delivery location(s); type of delivery, i.e. dock delivery, installed.
      6. Request for freight costs if not already included in the bid price.
      7. Include information on deadline for responses, how to respond, who to contact if they have questions.
    2. Prepare a bidders list by using bidders from previous purchases, online searches, catalogs, trade publications, or contact the Office of Procurement for suggestions.
    3. Pick your method for issuing the solicitation. In all methods, collect the following information: supplier/company name and order address; first and last name of person giving the quote; date and/or number of current price list used; date of quote; unit price, extended price, and lot total where designated; freight costs if not included in price; delivery date or calendar days until delivery from when supplier receives your order (i.e. 3 weeks after receipt of order (ARO).
  2. Issue the Bid Solicitation
    1. Using Telephone or email. Contact the suppliers directly. It is important the suppliers understand you are taking COMPETITIVE BIDS and not placing an order. Let them know if they are successful you will send them an electronic purchase order. Provide all suppliers with the exact same specifications and information, and request they get back to you by a specific date with their quotation. The nature of the procurement and the urgency of your need will determine this deadline. Be sure to allow sufficient time for special situations where a site inspection may be necessary, i.e. service contracts. In the event you need to alter the specifications because of a change in needs, error in the specification, etc., it will be necessary to re-contact all suppliers. Remember, competitive bids are confidential until the purchase order is issued.
    2. Facsimile (FAX). Prepare a list of your needs and the specification and transmit it to the suppliers. It is important to include in a prominent position, the phrase "REQUEST FOR BID" so the supplier does not think it is an order.
    3. Written Request for Bid. Similar to a facsimile quotation except the document is mailed to the suppliers.
  3. Collect and Document the Responses
    1. Keep a file and do not, under any circumstances, share ANY information submitted by one bidder with any other bidder. This is a violation of confidentiality and will be treated with appropriate severity if it occurs. Preserve impartiality.
    2. Failure to respond - In the event the supplier does not respond by the stated deadline, the phrase "No Response" is appropriate for your documentation. This no response may be used to meet the requirement of three or more solicitations.
    3. "No Bid" - In the event a supplier elects not to bid, the phrase "No Bid" is appropriate for your documentation. This no bid may be used to meet the requirement for three or more solicitations.
  4. Analyze bid results. The recommended award shall be made to the lowest responsible bidder meeting all the specifications.
  5. Document the Results. Click here to open the competitive bid form and document your results.

Select the Bid Winner

  1. Be diligent and careful but do not overthink the process. A well-executed simple bidding competition will always yield very clear results. There may be what are referred to as unusual circumstances in the results. See below regarding how to handle these circumstances.
  2. Unusual Circumstances
    1. Other than Lowest Price - When the recommended award is made to other than the lowest bidder, a justification must be provided for each bid that is lower than the recommended award. Examples include: the low bid is for an alternate item of inferior quality (be specific), the low bid cannot meet the required delivery deadline, other deviations from the bid specification. Contact your department purchasing person(s) or Purchasing Services for assistance in this area.
    2. Tie - If there are tied bids or if there is some confusion, contact your department purchasing person(s) or Purchasing Services for assistance.
    3. Unsatisfactory Results - in the case where bidders are just not giving the results that were anticipated, contact the Office of Procurement for assistance in identifying points that may solve the issues.
  3. Complete the documentation then save it digitally.
  4. Attach the document to the attachments of the requisition that will be created to initiate the transaction.

Requests for Quotes

Contact Adriana Jimenez in the Office of Procurement for assistance with an RFQ.

Requests for Proposals

Contact Adriana Jimenez in the Office of Procurement for assistance with an RFP.

Sole-Source Justification (Competition Waiver - Less than Adequate Competition)

In accordance with the Procedures for Purchasing, Section V.C.2., there are two circumstances where competition may be waived. They are:

  1. Preferred Supplier Agreement
  2. The Supplier is designated a Preferred Supplier by the Office of Procurement. This waiver exists for all purchases less than $100,000. See the Preferred Supplier list.
  3. Less Than Adequate Competition Available (requiring a Sole-Source Justification)

There will be instances when it is appropriate for a Purchaser to submit a Sole Source Justification (SSJ) to waive the competitive bid requirement. SSJs standardize the process so as not to create an unreasonable burden to the department processing the request as well as offer clear and concise reasoning to apply to the situation. It is important to understand that this is not an alternative purchasing method and that the Office of Procurement will review and approve the document before the commitment is made to a vendor. The only valid reasons acceptable to have a waiver considered are as follows and each requires a written explanation:

  • The product or service required is the only one that will meet the department/area’s need and it can only be obtained from one source (manufacturer/distributor/service provider).
  • The product or service is required to match existing installed equipment or systems or is obtained from a designated service provider to prevent a voided warranty or otherwise required by documented restrictions.
  • The service is controlled by state, local, or municipal authority, utility, or government.
  • This is a contract for professional or artistic services (Note – requires a Professional Services Agreement or PSA).
  • The transaction is a re-order based upon a previous bid(s) resulting from a competitive award that has already occurred in the last calendar year and the pricing is set in accordance with that bid.
  • An unusual or compelling urgency exists that requires Rice University to waive the competitive bid requirement. (Note; Inadequate planning is not a valid reason to waive competition and may result in rejection of the bid requirement.
  • The Sole-Source Justification template can be found here.

The Controller's Office is located in the Cambridge Office Building, also known as COB, at the intersection of S. Main street and Cambridge street.

In this building you will find the the following Departments:

The Cashier's Office is a division of the Controllers Office, however, it is located in the Allen Center, directly behind the Cambridge Office building.

Our Location:

Cambridge Office Building
6100 Main Street MS 70
Houston, Texas 77005-1827