Doing Business with the
University of Maine System
This information has been designed to assist vendors by outlining policy and procedures for procurement of all goods and services at the University of Maine System.
The Office of Strategic Procurement of the University of Maine System has the responsibility for obtaining maximum value from expenditures of all funds administered through University accounts, insuring that all procedural requirements are met - legal and otherwise - and promoting fair, ethical, and legal trade practices.
The Office of Strategic Procurement is located at 16 Central Street, Bangor, Maine and is open for business from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. It is requested that you make an appointment prior to your visit to ensure that the person you wish to see will be available.
Please see click here for directions and parking information for the University of Maine System office.
Vendors must obtain a valid Purchase Order number before providing goods and services to the University (bona fide emergencies excepted). The University reserves the right to delay or withhold payment related to goods or services provided without a Purchase Order number.
The Universities within the System are authorized to make purchases of value less than $50,000. All purchases over $50,000 will be approved by the UMS Office of Strategic Procurement. University policy requires that purchases be made by competitive processes whenever practical and possible. There are several ways in which this is accomplished. Frequently, for items of lower value, quotations will be obtained by phone. For purchases with a value greater than $10,000, written quotes must be obtained. As often as possible (and always when a purchase is over $50,000), a formal sealed bid process further described below is used. Occasionally, a product or service can only be obtained from one source. In this case the reasons are documented and an order is placed. If you are requested to give a quotation directly to a department, be aware that you may have to quote again to a campus office or to the Office of Strategic Procurement.
Universities may place orders directly from contracts that have been competitively bid and approved by the Office of Strategic Procurement. These contracts may have been established by the State of Maine, Purchasing Cooperatives such as E&I and MHEC, or the University itself. If you would like information on bidding for these contracts, please fill out the Vendor Application and we will send you bid information in your commodity areas when bids are issued.
Please click here for the University's standard Purchase Order Terms and Conditions
Invoices must contain a Purchase Order number, invoice number, date and a remit-to address. The University does not, in general, pay from statements; each purchase must be invoiced individually.
If you are an individual providing services to the University, you may have to be paid as an Independent Contractor and must have an Independent Contractor's Contract on file before providing service.
All vendors who are doing work our premises are required to carry Worker's Compensation, Public Liability, and Property Damage Insurance (and in some cases, Product Liability or Professional Liability). Details on amounts required are included with bids or may be obtained by calling the UMS Office of Strategic Procurement.
When a need for goods or services arises, the Office of Strategic Procurement develops specifications for that need and issues either a Request for Bid (RFB) or a Request for Proposal (RFP). The document is sent to vendors in our existing database known to be able to provide what is needed. The RFB/RFP includes everything a vendor should need in order to develop a bid. A response date and time are given in the document.
In order to receive bid documents, vendors should fill out a Vendor Application listing the products and services they provide, and request to be placed on the appropriate bid lists. If a vendors does not respond to three RFB/RFP's, it may be dropped from the bid list. Bids will be advertised in appropriate newspapers when additional vendors are sought, and when a bid request has a value of $50,000 or more.
READ THE ENTIRE BID DOCUMENT CAREFULLY IN ORDER TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT WILL BE EXPECTED OF YOU SHOULD YOU BE AWARDED THE PURCHASE OR CONTRACT!
Bid specifications include general information about the bid and the bidding process, contract terms, and a complete description of the products or services required. Brand names are sometimes used, and specifications will explain whether an alternate may be bid or whether the brand name specified is the only product acceptable. If alternates are proposed, the University will be the sole judge of equivalency. The specifications will tell bidders who to contact if additional information is needed.
Occasionally it is necessary to obtain assistance from vendors in developing specifications. Vendors should realize that the specifications will probably be used in securing competitive prices. If a charge for these services is required, please make that known before providing assistance.
A buyer may set up a pre-bid conference when information must be conveyed to bidders that would be difficult to include in the specifications, when a site inspection is needed or when questions are expected from vendors. The conference may be mandatory for bidders to attend; this will be stated in the specifications. All necessary information about a bid conference will be stated in the document.
The specifications contain instructions for the return of bids. Bids must be received in the Office of Strategic Procurement by the date and time specified. Late bids will be returned unopened. We will consider a late bid as timely only if our office caused the delay. The University is not responsible for mail delivery problems. Bids must be signed and in a sealed envelope. Unless otherwise specified, faxed or emailed bids will not be accepted.
When it has been determined that further information, clarification, or correction is needed on a bid, an addendum will be sent out to all vendors that have received a copy of the RFB/RFP. The University will not be bound by oral responses to vendor's questions about a bid or to written responses other than addenda.
Samples are occasionally requested for a bid. Instructions are included in the RFB for submitting samples. Samples are to be provided at no charge to the University, and may be held by the University to verify that product received conforms to the samples. Samples should be sent to the University in a separate package from the bid.
Bids may be withdrawn or amended by bidders at any time prior to the bid opening. After the bid opening, bids may not be amended. If a large mistake has been made by the apparent low bidder, the bidder will be given the option of selling at the price given or withdrawing the bid. If an extension error has been made, the unit price will prevail.
Bid openings for RFB's are public, and if bidders elect to attend the opening, bids will be read aloud. A final determination of award will not be made at the opening. When the award is made all bidders will be notified. All RFB results are public information and may be viewed in the UMS Office of Strategic Procurement.
RFP's will not have a public "opening." They are received in the Office of Strategic Procurement usually by close of business on a particular day. Only the number of responses and the names of the companies who submitted a proposal may be released. After award, the winning proposal will become available for inspection in the UMS Office of Strategic Procurement.
Bid awards are made to the most responsive and responsible bidder. An award is usually made to the bidder with the best price, all other things being equal; an RFP is awarded based upon a price and other criteria listed in the bid document. A "responsive bidder" is one who has submitted a bid or proposal which conforms in all material respects to the bid request. A "responsible bidder" is one who has the capability in all respects to perform the contract requirements in a manner which will assure both reliability and good performance.
The University reserves the right to accept or reject any or all bids, in whole or in part and is not bound to accept the lowest bid if that bid is not in the best interest of the University. A bid may be rejected if it is in any way incomplete or irregular.
A bidder may protest a bid award by sending a letter within 5 days of receiving notice of the award to the Director of Strategic Procurement outlining why the award is being protested. The bid award will then be analyzed to determine if it was made fairly and in the best interests of the University. If an error was made, the bid award may be changed, or a decision may be made to reissue the bid. If a protest is not resolved to the satisfaction of an aggrieved bidder, an appeal may be filed with the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of the University of Maine System within 10 days of a decision by the Director.
It is the policy of the University of Maine System not to discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, transgender status or gender expression, national origin or citizenship status, age, disability, or veteran's status and to provide reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request. Contractors and subcontractors must also agree not to discriminate on these grounds.
In all its purchases, the University is tax exempt by Section 1760, Subsection II of the Maine Sales and Use Tax Law. The University is a Tax Exempt Educational Institution as defined by Internal Revenue Code 501(c) and is currently regarded as such by the Internal Revenue Service.
It is the policy of the University of Maine System that the acceptance of a gift from a supplier or potential supplier by any employee is strictly prohibited. It is requested that the value of any gift be reflected in cost savings on solicitations for the benefit of the University.
If you are both a vendor and an employee of the University, your circumstances must be reviewed before any transactions can take place to avoid any conflict of interest situations or the appearance of conflict of interest.
The University of Maine System reserves the right to make changes to this guide without prior notice to vendors. If a disparity occurs between this guide and bid documents or Purchase Orders, the bid or Purchase Order will govern.
Click here for a list of department contacts.
The Office of Strategic Procurement is a member of the National Association of Educational Procurement and adheres to the NAEP's code of ethics, which is as follows:
1. Give first consideration to the objectives and policies of my institution.
2. Strive to obtain the maximum value for each dollar of expenditure.
3. Decline personal gifts or gratuities.
4. Grant all competitive suppliers equal consideration insofar as state or federal statutes and institutional policy permit.
5. Conduct business with potential and current suppliers in an atmosphere of good faith, devoid of intentional misrepresentation.
6. Demand honesty in sales representation, whether offered through the medium of verbal or written statement, an advertisement, or a sample of the product.
7. Receive consent of originator of proprietary ideas and designs before using them for competitive purchasing purposes.
8. 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.
9. Accord a prompt and courteous reception insofar as conditions permit to all who call on legitimate business missions.
10. Cooperate with trade, industrial, and professional associations, and with governmental and private agencies for the purposes of promoting and developing sound business methods.
11. Foster fair, ethical, and legal trade practices.
12. Counsel and cooperate with NAEP members and promote a spirit of unity and a keen interest in professional growth among them.