Types of Purchases

Thresholds

Purchases Less than $20,000 (Small Order Purchases)

The State of Arkansas considers purchases totaling $20,000 or less, including freight but excluding sales tax, to be Small Order Purchases.

These purchases may be made without bidding but competition should be used to the maximum extent practicable. This limit does not apply to state and institution contract items and printing.

Departments are advised to exercise prudent judgment in specifying items and entering a source for purchase on the requisition. The Procurement Office will provide information as needed on product specifications and vendor experience for any particular class of commodity for which they have information.

Caution: Repeated small quantity purchases of similar items to circumvent the $20,000 bid limit are prohibited. Allow two (2) working days for Purchasing to process after the requisition has been approved by your department.

Purchases $20,000.01 to $75,000.00 (Competitive Quote Bids)

Fax Quotation Sheet Telephone Quotation Tab Sheet Written/Fax Competitive Quote Bids may be obtained by departments for bidding purchases which total more than $20,000 but do not exceed $75,000 including freight but excluding sales tax.

A minimum of three (3) bids (with actual dollar amounts) must be received, one of which should be a minority vendor, if available for that commodity. If you receive a "no bid" or "no response" from a minority include that on your tab sheet as well as three (3) other quote bids.

Departments should use the Faxed Quotation Sheet and Telephone Quotation Tab Sheet listed above when requesting bids.

Allow four (4) working days for purchasing to process after your department has approved the requisition in BASIS. Send copies of the vendor’s quote response and completed tab sheet to your buyer’s attention by email or fax. Attachments will be reviewed prior to issuance of a Purchase Order.

Departments are given the delegation to solicit bids in this price range but Purchasing is available to assist in processing these bids if departments do not have the time or qualified staff.

Purchases Exceeding $75,000.00 (Formal Bids)

Commodity purchases or services not covered by a state or institutional contracts which total more than $75,000, leases which exceed $75,000 within the duration of the contract, and leases with option to purchase when the value of said commodity is more than $75,000 require formal competitive sealed bidding by the Procurement Office.

The average processing time is six (6) to eight (8) weeks as the bid must be developed, advertised, the responses evaluated and the bid awarded. Individuals requisitioning items should allow time for the above procedures when anticipating their purchasing needs.

It is never too early to work with your buyer on minimum specifications and delivery requirements.

Standing Orders

Standing orders are to be issued for small purchases, rental and lease arrangements. Standing orders are not to be used to purchase commodities or equipment, which should be procured by competitive bidding. Standing orders for small purchases are normally limited to $20,000 per month.

There are numerous items under state contracts, which are mandatory on the University and, therefore, may not be purchased from standing orders. Items are added occasionally as the Office of State Procurement may determine a need for additional contracts.

This office enters the following statement on all standing orders to vendors where there is a possibility that contract items could be purchased: Important! Purchase of the following items are not permitted against this order:

  • bulk paper towels
  • bulk toilet tissue
  • light bulbs or ballasts
  • tires and tubes
  • paper
  • printing
  • office machines
  • telephones or accessories,
  • furniture,
  • video tape
  • capital equipment

If an individual purchases a contract item against a standing order, it will be his or her personal obligation, as the University is unable to make payment to a vendor who does not hold the contract for that item. Purchases of food and related items must be identified with a detailed purchase order line description and commodity code number. Each food purchase must be justified by listing University function. Receiving/Receipt information for food purchases is located in Accounts Payable Procedures.