Normally the NMU Purchasing Department will accept the low bid, provided that the items/services meet the requirements and specifications indicated on the bid document. Questions and acceptability are resolved by the buyer, often with technical assistance of NMU personnel. If a department wishes to accept a bid other than the low bid, it needs to forward a letter justifying the rejection of the low bid to the Purchasing Department. The letter must give, in detail, the advantages of the preferred item over that of the low bid. Such items as service, product life, cycle cost and special features should be indicated. It must be signed by the user and by the department head.

In some instances, the most appropriate purchase method is a "Standing" purchase order, as when a department requires repetitive purchases with a relatively low total dollar value. In these cases, an order will be issued with a dollar amount that cannot be exceeded. Standing purchase orders will only be issued for purchases that exceed $2,500 and will be issued for a specified period of time and product category.

A change in specifications, price or terms may necessitate an amendment (change order) to a purchase order. Changes may be initiated by the vendor, the requesting department or the NMU Purchasing Department.


  1. The requestor advises the Purchasing Department of a change in the order by providing a purchase requisition referencing the original purchase order number, the vendor name and stated changes.
  2. The vendor notifies the Purchasing Department of a change. The Purchasing Department generally approves minor changes immediately and notes them on the purchase order. For significant changes, the Purchasing Department contacts the requestor who either accepts or refuses the change. If accepted, the requestor shall provide a change order to the Purchasing Department.

The Purchasing Department may delete an item listed on the purchase requisition and buy from another source to take advantage of special circumstances or of an existing contract. The order may also be assigned entirely to another supplier who will provide better pricing, service, or delivery. The standard of quality will not be changed, except in necessary cases and with consultation between the buyer and the department requesting the item. For these and other reasons, no commitments, expressed or implied, should be made by university departments.

The NMU Purchasing Department is charged with the responsibility of conducting the purchasing function in a manner that results in the greatest benefit for the university and which will be accomplished in accordance with ethical practices of the purchasing profession. The National Association of Educational Buyers (NAEB), the professional organization of educational purchasing agents, has a code of ethics that governs the relationships the Purchasing Department should have with individuals and departments within the institution and with suppliers and friends of the institution. The Purchasing Department of Northern Michigan University subscribes to this code.

NAEB Code of Ethics

  • Give first consideration to the objectives and policies of my institution.
  • Strive to obtain the maximum value for each dollar of expenditure.
  • Decline personal gifts or gratuities.
  • Grant all competitive suppliers equal consideration insofar as state or federal statute and institutional policy permit.
  • Conduct business with potential and current suppliers in an atmosphere of good faith, devoid of intentional misrepresentation.
  • Demand honesty in sales representation whether offered through the medium of a verbal or written statement, an advertisement, or a sample of the products.
  • Receive consent of originator of proprietary ideas and designs before using them for competitive purchasing purposes.
  • Make every reasonable effort to negotiate an equitable and mutually agreeable settlement of any controversy with a supplier, and/or be willing to submit any major controversies to arbitration or other third-party review, insofar as the established policies of my institution permit. 
  • Accord a prompt and courteous reception insofar as conditions permit to all who call on legitimate business missions.
  • Cooperate with trade, industrial and professional associations, and with governmental and private agencies for the purposes of promoting and developing sound business methods.
  • Foster fair, ethical and legal trade practices.
  • Counsel and cooperate with NAEB members and promote a spirit of unity and keen interest in professional growth among them.

The NMU Purchasing Department will obtain bids and quotations regarding prices, terms and conditions of purchased goods or services relative to all university budget accounts. A purchase order will be issued to the successful bidder.

Purchasing will maintain a current "vendor list" of persons or firms who may have requested inclusions in the listing. In order to be considered an active supplier, vendors should respond to requests for quotations/bids and should maintain contact with NMU purchasing personnel regarding new products, materials and services..

A supplier could be removed from the accepted list because of poor performance, such as not making delivery according to original commitment, merchandise not up to predetermined or acceptable standards, adjustments are slow and difficult, misrepresentation, financial status, as well as for failure to respond to a request for quotation.

A purchase requisition is a form used to request purchase of supplies, equipment and services over $2,500.  To complete a purchase requisition form, you will be asked to provide the following:

  1. Date of request
  2. Name of person making request
  3. Name of requesting department
  4. Authorized signature (department head)
  5. Person to who and location (building and room number), to which delivery should be made
  6. Organization number to be charged
  7. Approval by Accounting for expenditure on Plant Fund and Grant accounts.
  8. Designate if vendor will require access to NMU data or confidential information
  9. Date or use intended to guide alternative action in case of difficulty
  10. Provide a vendor contact name and email address
  11. Suggested vendor address
  12. Special delivery (location) other than Central Receiving
  13. Quantity requested
  14. Unit of measure, such as box, ea, etc.
  15. Complete description of item
  16. Unit price of item
  17. Total price of requisition

Written bids will be required on all purchases estimated to exceed $10,000 in value, with the exception of construction projects which require written bids over $20,000. Sealed bids will be requested on purchases exceeding $20,000.

When purchases are bid, three or more qualified sources will be requested to bid. When it is in NMU's best interest, the Manager of Purchasing may authorize an exception to this policy. When an exception is made to the bidding process, the reason for the exception will be documented. Examples of such exceptions would be: three sources not available, sole source, compatibility with existing equipment, specialized service, an emergency situation or factory direct purchase.

Purchases that are covered by an existing contract, such as State of Michigan, Educational & Institutional Co-op, Hospital Purchasing Service, Michigan Association of College & University Purchasing Agents or Northern Michigan University, do not have to be bid.

Procedure: If it is necessary to make advance payment for items follow these steps:

  1. Be sure of the accurate and complete description of the item required, its price, catalog number and the exact name and address of the supplier.
  2. Prepare a purchase requisition per instructions located in the Purchase Requisition procedure noting that prepayment is required and send the completed form to the Purchasing Department.
  3. The Purchasing Department will process a purchase order, then send a copy to the requestor and vendor.
  4. The requestor will be responsible for processing the invoice through the Concur Invoicing Module.

Northern Michigan University observes a uniform procedure for the purchase of materials, services, equipment and other supplies from vendors.

The Purchasing staff performs all purchasing activity and related operations with the following exceptions:

  1. Authorized Purchasing Card purchases.
  2. The director of the university library places orders for books, magazines, periodicals and subscriptions for the Lydia Olsen Library;
  3. Foodstuffs and materials utilized in the residence hall quads is approved by the associate director - Auxiliary Services:
  4. Broadcast and Audio Visual Services film purchases authorized by audio visual materials supervisor;
  5. Purchases by the Health Center administrator for drugs and related items.

Procedure: An employee who wishes to purchase supplies, equipment and services that exceeds $2,500 does the following:

  1. Prepares a purchase requisition;
  2. Attaches any available documentary information to the purchase requisition that will assist the purchasing agent in evaluating the request.
  3. Obtains an authorized signature.
  4. Forwards the completed purchase requisition to the Purchasing department.
  5. Receives a copy of the purchase order from Purchasing and files it for reference.

Northern Michigan University department purchases from the Barnes & Noble bookstore can only be made using the NMU P-Card.

Applications for rebates and refunds for goods purchased with university funds are to be in the name of Northern Michigan University. Rebate or refund checks received are to be promptly deposited to the appropriate University account at Financial Services, 1406 Hedgcock.

If you have any questions, please contact Purchasing at 2360.

In most instances, only the Northern Michigan University Purchasing Department has the authority to procure materials, supplies, equipment and services for the university. However, this authority has been extended to university departments in the form of the NMU purchasing card, for purchases not to exceed $2,500 per transaction.

Northern Michigan University selects potential vendors for their ability to economically, efficiently and continually serve the university. Past performance of vendors and cooperation with the university are important factors in vendor selection. NMU cannot purchase efficiently from all available sources in many lines. The buying power of the university must be concentrated as much as possible with selected vendors to attain the maximum advantages of price and service.

The NMU Purchasing Department clears returns to vendors of unacceptable items. This allows return authorization and shipping instructions to be obtained and the proper records maintained.

Return of unacceptable items:

  1. The department contacts the Purchasing Department and identifies the problem and the disposition desired. The department retains the package until advised by Purchasing.
  2. Purchasing obtains shipping instructions from the vendor and contacts the department regarding the return. In most cases, Purchasing will advise that the item be sent with a packing slip or other explanatory correspondence directly to the mail room or central receiving for shipping, depending on the size of the item or method of shipment.

Surplus items are being placed on the Public Surplus internal posting area for university departments to claim prior to being offered to the general public. Items are listed for 14 days on the internal site and can be claimed by any department for NMU use only. Items listed will be available on a first-come basis at no cost to the department. After 14 days, the item converts to the public auction forum where the general public can bid on it. Departments in need of items should go to or contact the Mail and Warehouse Services department at 227-2749 to check on availability.  If you need instructions to access the Public Surplus internal site, email Dan Lynch in the Purchasing Department at email