The following document is an online version of our document, "A supplier's guide to the policies and procedures for conducting business with Northern Michigan University". A print version of this document is available in the Purchasing Department office.

This section of the NMU Purchasing Department's Web site was created to help acquaint interested vendors in the purchasing procedures and policies governing the procurement and delivery of all materials, supplies, services and equipment required in the operation of Northern Michigan University. It is a guide to the normal operation of this department. Along with the information provided, we extend an invitation for you to ask any questions or express any concerns that may improve our business relationship.

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

Northern Michigan University encourages vendors to present information on new products and materials, as we realize the value of this information to the university community. Any vendor wishing to demonstrate products to NMU personnel, should first contact the Purchasing Department to make proper arrangements.

We do maintain an open door atmosphere and if vendors do wish to drop in, we will do our best to meet with you if our schedule permits.

University business hours are 8 a.m.–5 p.m. during the fall and winter semesters (late August through early May) and 7:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. during the summer (early May through late August). Northern Michigan University is located in the Eastern time zone.

Good business practices call for purchasing all items to a standard set of specifications that have been worked out carefully to ensure such items will be economical and serve the purpose for which they are intended. To this end, responsibility is established within Purchasing for the analysis, preparation and maintenance of purchase specifications. The Purchasing Department welcomes suggestions on improved products, techniques and approaches.

Procedure: Prior to submitting a purchase requisition for the purchase of an instrument or item of equipment, the requesting department must contact the Purchasing and Facilities Operations departments to ascertain whether power requirements or other utilities are available, and to check space requirements and floor loading where applicable.

Special Cases:

  • All requisitions for the purchase of audio visual equipment must be approved by Broadcast and Audio Visual Services in accordance with the electronic/instructional equipment policy.
  • All requisitions for the purchase of computer equipment must be approved by the Administrative Information Technology Department
  • Recruitment advertisements must be approved by Human Resources and/or Academic Affairs.

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 maintain contact with the Purchasing Department regarding new products, etc., and complete a vendors application form. A supplier could be removed from the accepted list because of poor performance, for instance, 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 non-response to requests for quotation.

Purchasing will maintain an approved bidders list for most major products and services. Solicited vendors will maintain a current status so long as they respond with a bid or no bid indication when requested. Lack of response may result in the removal from the bidders list.

Written bids will be requested 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 all purchases exceeding $20,000. When purchases are bid, three or more qualified sources will be requested to bid. Purchases that are covered by an existing contract, such as State of Michigan, Educational & Institutional Co-op, Hospital Purchasing Services, Michigan Association of College & University Purchasing Agents, or Northern Michigan University, will not be bid. When it is in NMU's best interest, the purchasing manager, or designated representative, may authorize an exception to competitive bid requirements.

Normally, the Purchasing Department will accept the low bid received, provided that the items/services meet the requirements and specifications indicated on the bid document. Questions of acceptability are resolved by the buyer, often with technical assistance of other university personnel. Northern Michigan University reserves the right to make award to other than the low bidder when, in our judgment, other considerations such as service, product life cycle cost, vendor proximity to NMU, special product feature, etc., outweigh price and are deemed more advantageous to the university.

Unless specified otherwise, a fax or e-mail bid, if received within the time limitations and meeting other conditions as set forth on the RFQ, will be acceptable. However, if requested, it must be followed immediately with written confirmation in the usual form. FAX bids may be submitted by calling the Purchasing Department at 906-227-1114.

Sealed bids may NOT be submitted by fax or e-mail.

Phone bids may be requested when, in the judgment of the Purchasing Department staff, Northern Michigan University will benefit in such aspects as timing and economy. Confirmation of the telephone bid may be requested at the time the telephone bid is received.

Establishing a proper climate of understanding with vendors is highly desirable. All bid information is available to any interested party on any bid. This information may be obtained by letter, phone call or a personal visit to the NMU Purchasing Department.

When the NMU Purchasing Department requests samples, unless otherwise specified in the bid document, they should be furnished free of expense and become the property of Northern Michigan University. Samples will, upon request, be returned to vendors at their expense. In no case does NMU accept liability for loss or damage to any sample.

All deliveries should be made in accordance with conditions stated on the purchase order. Vendors should make special note of delivery requirements. In most cases, deliveries will be F.O.B. delivered to Northern Michigan University, Central Receiving facility, the University Center or Quad I. Any other special delivery instructions will be noted on the purchase order form.

All deliveries should contain a packing slip. The purchase order number or department name (if credit card purchase) should be listed on each package.

Notify us of delays in delivery as soon as you become aware that they may occur. This may help us avoid critical out-of-stock situations.

All suppliers should send their invoice to, the first line of the "ship to" on the purchase order, for prompt payment or to Vendor Payable Office, referencing the purchase order number, after the delivery has been made to the campus.

Invoices will only be processed after the proper documentation of delivery has been received by the Department placing the order. The needed documentation is an invoice from the supplier. In some instances, where required, a check or partial payment can be mailed with a purchase order, but this must be accompanied by either an invoice or price verification.

Northern Michigan University has requirements for items of the same general class (such as office supplies, plumbing supplies, electrical supplies) for which future usage cannot be accurately estimated. In addition, there are usually dozens or even hundreds of low- unit value items within a class that are required repeatedly from local sources. To avoid writing hundreds of low-dollar purchase orders each year, we may elect to bid or negotiate an NMU contract, which covers all of one or more classes of items and assures the university the best prices and quality. Acquisition can be made using the purchase order or purchasing card method. The contract should be referred to in either case.

This is a method of purchasing that allows departments the flexibility of acquiring goods and services on an "as needed" basis (not to exceed $2,500 per transaction), rather than process a purchase requisition. The benefits of using NMU employees and departments using purchasing cards are reduced time spent on order processing, more flexibility for purchases (especially in emergencies), reduced paper work and lower overall operating costs.

The Northern Michigan University Purchasing Department is an active member of the National Association of Purchasing Managers and the National Association of Educational Procurement (NAEP), Michigan Association of College & University Purchasing Agents (MACUPA), and as such, subscribe and adhere to their codes of ethics. We strive to maintain honest, open relationships with all suppliers, to protect confidential information from suppliers and to show no favoritism in our business relationships. Please do not offer any gifts or gratuities to any of Purchasing Department staff members as it is against policy for gifts to be accepted.

Click Here to obtain a copy of the NAEP Code of Ethic.

Northern Michigan University is subject to the Conflict of Interest Statute of Article IV of the Constitution of the State of Michigan as implemented by Act 317 of the Public Acts of 1968. The act is summarized below. A public servant is prohibited from being a party, directly or indirectly, to any contract between himself and the public entity of which he is an officer or employee. The act does not apply to contracts between two public entities, to contracts awarded to the lowest qualified bidder, or to contracts for public utilities. Exceptions to the act are allowed, (1) if the person is employed by the public entity for less than an average of 25 hours a week, or (2) if prompt disclosure of the financial interest is made and the contract is approved by the NMU Board of Trustees (by vote of the full membership) or the Purchasing Department to whom purchasing authority has been delegated by the Board.

For more information regarding the conflict of interest policy please visit the following administrative policies Web sites:

Conflict Of Interest Disclosure Procedure

Conflict Of Interest Policy