Purchasing Methods and Guidelines

University Procurement Methods are designated by Arkansas Procurement Law to uphold best practice and transparency.  Depending on the complexity and dollar amount of the procurement, purchases and contracts will be established through the appropriate method with the responsible contractor meeting or exceeding specifications or on the basis for best value.

Contact your Procurement Coordinator for additional information.

The State of Arkansas considers purchases totalling $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. 

Competitive Bid Quotes 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. 

Pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 19-11-234 the State of Arkansas encourages all small, minority, and women owned business enterprises to submit competitive bid quotes.   

Departments should search the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) Minority and Women-Owned Business Directory  to research businesses by name, description, etc. to locate an applicable minority or woman-owned business to solicit your competitive bid quotes.

NOTE: Purchases of up to $40,000 can be made without competitive solicitation if using an AEDC certified minority business or AEDC certified women-owned business enterprise.

minimum of three (3) bids must be received, one of which should be a minority or woman-owned business if available for that commodity. If you receive a "no bid" or "no response," then that counts as an acceptable attempt to gather a quote. 

Departments should use the Bid Quote Request Form and Bid Quote Tab Sheet when requesting bids. 

Submit copies of the bidder's quote response, completed Bid Quote Request Form and Bid Quote Tab Sheet by attaching to the requisition. Attachments will be reviewed prior to issuance of a Purchase Order.

Departments are given the delegation to solicit bids in this price range, but Procurement staff is available to provide guidance.

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

Formal Bids are processed by Request for Proposal (RFP) or Invitation For Bid (IFB).  

Pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 19-11-229 and 19-11-230  the State of Arkansas encourages all small, minority, and women owned business enterprises to submit competitive sealed bids and proposals for University projects. Encouragement is also made to all general contractors that in the event they subcontract portions of their work, consideration is given to the identified groups.

Departments should search the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) Minority and Women-Owned Business Directory  to research businesses by name, description, etc. to locate an applicable minority or woman-owned business and add to your suggested bidder list to help facilitate your bid requests.

The average processing time for formal bids is one (1) to twelve (12) months depending on the type of bid and considering the bid must be developed, advertised, the responses evaluated, and the bid awarded. Departments should allow time for the above procedures when anticipating their purchasing needs. 

Departments should allow time for the above procedures when anticipating their purchasing needs. It's never too early to work with Procurement!

Sole Source purchases can be made only after the ordering department submits a requisition with a completed Sole Source Request Form. Additionally, a signed statement from the vendor (on letterhead) verifying their unique or proprietary specification information should be attached to the requisition for Item Number 3 below. The Business Services Procurement office will review for approval of such purchase.

Sole source purchases can be justified in one of three ways, but not limited to:

  1. Purchase of repairs involving hidden damage.
  2. Purchase requiring performance compatibility with existing commodities and/or services.
  3. Purchase based on performance specifications.

The offices of General Counsel, Financial Affiars, and Governmental Relations have reviewed the applicability of certain procurement laws and regulations to purchases that are 100% funded by grant, private, or gift dollars. Please refer to the following documents.

Contact your departmental Procurement Coordinator for further questions.

Blanket Order Guidelines

Blanket Orders are to be issued for small repetitive non-contract purchases, for repeated deliveries of similar goods/services.  Blanket orders for small purchases are typically limited to $20,000 per fiscal year.  Blanket Orders can also be used for items exempt from procurement law, such as utilities, catering, etc. 

  • Blanket purchase orders are not, in general, appropriate in most situations.
  • Blanket orders are not to be used to purchase commodities or equipment which should be procured by competitive bidding.
  • Blanket orders are not to be issued for items which have been competitively bid.

There are numerous items available on state contracts, which in some cases may be mandatory for the University and, therefore, may not be purchased with Blanket orders. Items are added occasionally as the Office of State Procurement may determine a need for additional contracts.

Important:  Purchase of the following items are not permitted against Blanket orders as these are items under mandatory contract for all state agencies:  ammunition, bulk paper towels, bulk toilet tissue, paper, envelopes, tires, vehicles, etc.

If an individual purchases a contract item against a blanket order, it will be his/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 appropriate spend category. Each food purchase must be justified by attaching a completed Official Function Form

A lease contract may include financial or non-financial assets, amortization schedules, multiple payments/installments, etc.  All rentals, leases and lease/purchase contracts or renewal of any such contract for commodities require prior approval. Written agreements should be submitted by "Create Supplier Contract" in Workday.  Be sure to enter "service lines" for leases and select a Lease spend category, which will drive the correct approval routing to Financial Affairs, Legal, and Procurement.   

Review PCard site.

Supplier Invoice Request Policy 

Compliance with this Policy is required. To attain compliance with procurement procedures it is essential that there exists a high degree of cooperation between end-user departments and Procurement Services.

The use of the Supplier Invoice Requests (SINVR) feature in Workday replaces what was previously known as Invoice Attached and UPAY. The SINVR process is the exception, not the rule, and should be limited to only those transactions as allowed or where there is no other means of purchasing available. Only in rare circumstances should a SINVR be submitted without a method of procurement. PCards should be used in immediate need situations. Requisitions or Supplier Contracts should be used otherwise.

Not Acceptable:

  • There should be no verbal ordering of items/services.
  • Do not create SINVR if a Supplier Contract is already established, or if one should be established. 
  • Do not create SINVR if a Blanket Order is established


  • Some circumstances are acceptable, such as payment to avoid interruption in service, pipe breaks due to weather conditions, last minute replacements or cancellations, or direct payments which do not require a purchase order (referred to in previous system as UPAY).
  • Internal comment/justification MUST be included.

Trade-In Request is to be used for items not needed or being replaced and can be listed as a trade-in on the requisition submitted for purchase of new equipment.  All equipment trade-ins must be pre-approved by the state.