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Procurement Services Spring Newsletter: May 2017

Director's Message

Hello colleagues,

Darin Mathews Procurement Services is now in our new location at the Scotts Valley Center. While our move was slightly delayed, we are settling into our new digs and are glad to be working near our administrative colleagues. We definitely see this as an opportunity for increased collaboration in serving our campus customers.

One of the ways we serve our UCSC customers is by promoting the use of sustainable products. This includes the use of copier paper with 100% post-consumer waste, energy efficient office equipment, and cleaning products that are not harmful to the environment. Last year was very successful, as 80% of our custodial products were classified as sustainable. We should all be proud, as this is the highest level in the UC system.

One final thought on sustainable procurement: remember, the most sustainable purchase you can make is to not buy anything. Maybe we can reuse an existing item? I hope you will consider this.

As always, it is a pleasure for our procurement team to serve you. Have a great spring!

Darin Matthews, CPPO, CPSM
Director, UCSC Procurement Services

New Business Contracts Guide

Procurement Services is happy to announce that there is another resource available to our campus clients. You will find the new Business Contracts Guide on our Procurement Resources page in the “guides” section.

Since this document is intended for internal use by UCSC staff, you will need your Gold Password in order to access the guide.

The Business Contracts Guide can help you determine when a written agreement is needed, as well as educate you on what types of agreements the University commonly enters into. The steps in the contracting process are outlined, along with key issues to be aware of when contracting for services. This includes the protection of sensitive data like personal health information, student records, and financial information.

We hope this guide is a useful resource for your department as you navigate the world of contracts. Please know that our procurement and contracting team is always here to serve you, especially the following staff members in Business Contracts:

First BAS Institute a Success

After several months of planning, Business and Administrative Services (BAS) delivered the first BAS Institute. This was a two-day training for staff and faculty held at Kresge Hall, which covered topics that were identified by our customers as business areas they considered to be “pain points”. BAS took this as an opportunity to provide clarity and better service.

Topics Covered:
  • Compensation
  • Recruitment
  • Entertainment
  • Procurement
Each session featured a panel of subject matter experts that explained key processes our customers should know, as well as tips for effectively navigating the processes and their accompanying forms. Attendance was high—despite the heavy rain—and the audience put forth some great questions and discussion points.

Procurement Services presented the procurement session, with speakers including Kathleen Rogers, Mike Steele, Paul Schell and Darin Matthews. Shauna Casey from the Sustainability Office joined the panel to talk about the importance of making sustainable purchasing choices, both at work and at home. Shauna really “walked the talk” when she recycled food waste after the lunch break.

We look forward to partnering with you on the next BAS Institute.

Procuring Accessible Information Technology

UCSC Procurement Services strives to ensure that IT products developed at, purchased by, or used at the University are accessible to all faculty, staff, and students, and including those with disabilities. To reach this goal, those responsible for making decisions about which products to procure must consider accessibility as one of the criteria for acquisition. This is especially critical for enterprise-level systems and other technologies that affect a large number of students, faculty, and/or staff. The following three steps provide an example of how accessibility can be considered in the procurement process. UCSC- IT S Accessible Technology can assist with any of these steps.

Step 1: Ask bidders to provide information about the accessibility of their products.

Following is an example of accessibility language that could be used in requests for proposals (RFPs):

Within, Mandatory Scoring Requirements: Supplier must describe how their IT products or services are accessible to users in accordance with the University of California IT Accessibility Guidelines at Web Accessibility Requirements to include in RFPs.

The UC refers to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Level AA for guidance in meeting its IT accessibility commitments.

If there are issues that prevent supplier’s IT product or service from meeting these requirements, supplier must describe efforts underway to address these issues, including anticipated timelines for completion.

Step 2: Validate the information provided by the potential suppliers and evaluate their products for accessibility.

Suppliers should provide detailed information about the accessibility of their product or services. One common method is by providing a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT). This is a standard form developed to assist federal agencies in fulfilling their Section 508 requirements. VPATs can sometimes be informative, but they have limitations since they are self-reports completed by the suppliers. Some suppliers do not have adequate technical expertise to accurately assess their products’ accessibility. Others skillfully complete their VPATs in ways that trivialize the significance of accessibility shortcomings. Therefore, VPAT claims should be independently verified and not accepted at face value. Testing is possible prior to purchase. The UCSC campus has access to a third party consultant that can do a usability analysis. A VPAT could provide a good starting point, but ultimately suppliers, particularly those whose products are selected as finalists, should be engaged in a thorough discussion about accessibility of their products.

Few IT products are fully accessible. However, suppliers should at a minimum be willing to make a commitment to address their accessibility problems. Without this commitment, using the product may place the University at risk for discriminating against some of its students and/or employees.

Step 3: Include accessibility assurances in contracts with suppliers.

If ultimately the best product for meeting a particular need is one that fails to fully meet accessibility requirements, suppliers should be asked to make a commitment to improving accessibility over a specified timeline.

After a requester discusses accessibility issues with a supplier, the procurement contract should include language that specifically documents the agreement between the supplier and the requesting department as to how satisfactory progress on accessibility will be measured. For example, the supplier might provide a roadmap as an addendum to the contract with a prioritized list of accessibility issues and a timeline for addressing each issue. Then, contract extensions might be contingent upon satisfactory progress toward resolving the issues identified in the roadmap.

Even if the product is currently accessible, the contract should include language that assures continued accessibility as the product is updated. This is especially important for products that are developed on an ongoing rapid release cycle.

UC Systemwide Guidance

The systemwide UC Information Technology Accessibility Policy has been approved and is effective as of August 27, 2013. The policy promotes and supports an accessible IT environment within the University. By supporting IT accessibility, the University helps ensure that as broad a population as possible is able to access, benefit from, and contribute to its electronic programs and services.

The systemwide UC Information Technology Accessibility Policy has been approved and is effective as of August 27, 2013. The policy promotes and supports an accessible IT environment within the University. By supporting IT accessibility, the University helps ensure that as broad a population as possible is able to access, benefit from, and contribute to its electronic programs and services.

Electronic Accessibility at the University of California (UCOP)

Electronic Accessibility – Standards and Best Practices – Procurement (UCOP)

Accessible Technology (UCSC - ITS)

UC Electronic Communications Policy (UCOP - ECP)

Federal and State Laws

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. § 794d) requires the federal government to ensure that the electronic and information technology that it develops, procures, maintains, or uses is accessible to persons with disabilities.

UC Wide Agreement with Santa Cruz Dream Inn

UC Santa Cruz Procurement Services is pleased to announce its Transient Preferred Rate Agreement with premier boutique hotel, Santa Cruz Dream Inn.

This agreement covers all University of California locations and embodies our UC Procurement Services model of creating UC-wide partnerships, and leveraging UC-wide spend to benefit the University as a whole. These rates are for single occupancy travel (9 guest rooms per night or less), which is referred to as Transient travel. These rates do not apply to group bookings (10 or more guest rooms per night.)

Benefits to UC
  • 2 year agreement locks in competitive rates with Dream Inn, which is currently undergoing an $8 million renovation and will be raising their rates across the board upon completion of construction.
  • 2017 Projected Savings: $113,000
  • 10% off rack rates when forecasted occupancy exceeds 85%
  • Amenities include: free parking, free wifi, and ocean front property
  • Negotiated rates are loaded and available for booking within Connexxus
  • Risk Mitigation when booking via Connexxus due to automatic travel insurance and UC Risk Services enrollment. Traveler will benefit from travel alerts/warnings regarding foreign threats/risk and can be easily identified and accessed during times of foreign threat for potential extraction or other emergency measures.
  • Agreement terms and conditions aligned with UC policy
The Team

These benefits are a result of the collaborative efforts of UC Santa Cruz Procurement, led by Nancy Nieblas (Strategic Sourcing), Lauren May (Senior Buyer), and the UCOP Central Travel Management team.

Reservations

Single occupancy travel (transient) reservations may be made through UC’s Travel Web Portal, Connexxus. The preferred rates are available for booking via Connexxus until the Dream Inn forecast exceeds 85% capacity. When forecast exceeds 85% capacity, a 10% discount will apply to room rates. If you do not have access to Connexxus you may book directly with the hotel by phone, or by emailing the hotel’s reservations team reservations@dreaminnsc.com.

Payment

All reservations under the UC preferred rate plan will be assumed to be paid in full by the individual traveler unless UC specifically requests a direct bill arrangement by filing a Travel Advance Request. Direct bill requests must be arranged with the Director of Sales at the Dream Inn. TAR forms must be emailed by UCSC FAST to reservations@dreaminnsc.com and dsmart@dreaminnsc.com 72 hours in advance of guest arrival.

Groups

This agreement does not apply to group booking (10 or more guest rooms per night.) Group bookings are subject to the “Group” rate and may be higher or lower than the UC Transient Rate. Group bookings must be arranged directly with the hotel’s Director of Sales & Marketing or any member of the sales team in his absence.

Visitors

UC suppliers and UC visitors may access the preferred rates for business purposes. UC employees must book via Connexxus using a credit card to guarantee the room reservation, and pay in full at check-out. Suppliers and non-employee visitors can access UC rates by calling hotel reservations directly at 831-426-4330, or by assigning a UC employee by proxy to book the hotel reservation. The hotel will properly code these supplier and non-employee visitor bookings as UC bookings for accurate reporting purposes.

Questions

Please direct any questions regarding this Transient Rate Agreement to Lauren May, lamay@ucsc.edu.
For direct booking contact Dan Smart, Director of Sales & Marketing: We look forward to working with each of you to help realize cost savings and to ensure effective implementation. Through collaboration with our stakeholders and suppliers, Procurement Services continues to drive value to the University of California by improving process and pricing.

Local Supplier Spotlight

   
Two words sum up Palace Business Solutions – “community” and “family”. Palace began as a small, family run, gift and stationery shop on Pacific Avenue, in the heart of Santa Cruz. Colonel Frank Trowbridge bought the business in 1949, with day-to-day operations managed by his uncle and mother for several years. A second store on Soquel Avenue was opened in the 70’s and is now located on 41st Avenue. Palace Arts and Office Supplies branched into commercial sales with the formation of Palace Business Solutions in the 90’s, offering weekday door-to-desk delivery to customers throughout the Central Coast. 68 years later, Palace remains a family owned business with three third-generation brothers overseeing the company. Several fourth generation children work alongside them and the fifth generation is not far behind!

The reach of Palace is expanding. Their delivery trucks can be seen from Davenport to Soledad, Santa Cruz to Santa Clara and places in-between. Palace is the largest, independent office supply retailer on the Central Coast and they take pride in that distinction! Between their two retail locations and the commercial division, they employ over 100 people in our community and many employees have been with Palace for well over 10 years.

Palace believes in giving back to the community, and supporting other local businesses. They regularly give to groups within our community - schools, churches, volunteer organizations, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and many more. They were recently honored with the “Above and Beyond” award from Second Harvest Food Bank for supporting their end hunger initiative in 2016. Other staff members coach sports, volunteer with local non-profits and support local organizations in a variety of ways. Palace partners with other local businesses for their own day-to-day business needs and are proud to be a part of Think Local First – County of Santa Cruz.

The Palace family thanks UCSC for our support of a local, independent retailer and looks forward to continuing to partner with UCSC for many years to come.

Sustainable Procurement

Sustainable procurement is defined as making purchasing decisions based on economic, social and environmental factors. When we choose to purchase EPP (environmentally preferable products) goods, we are demonstrating our commitment to sustainability.

Applying social and environmental criteria to our selected products and services should be important to all of us. In addition, sourcing from suppliers who promote sustainability within their own companies, is making a positive difference within our own University.

EPP is the procurement of items that have minimized or reduced environmental impacts. The purpose of EPP is to give preference to environmentally preferred products in our purchasing whenever possible. The University of California Office of the President has included EPP in its Sustainable Practices policy, which include goals and implementation procedures.

Benefits of EPP Products
  • Environmental: Reduces and prevents waste, resource consumption, pollution/toxin exposure
  • Financial: Reduces costs including material, waste disposal, operating, maintenance, and replacement costs
  • Practices: Before making a purchase, consider the total cost of ownership, including environmental, maintenance and disposal costs
In the following metrics, here is one example of how our campus is doing when we choose to purchase EPP products.
Earth friendly janitorial cleaning and paper products


Safer Furniture Pledge

We are also happy to report UC - Santa Cruz is the first campus in the UC system to officially make the CEH-Safer Furniture Pledge. Developed by the Center for Environmental Health, the pledge is a commitment by an organization to purchase furniture that is free of chemical flame retardants, fluorinated compounds, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). These chemicals can be released throughout the life of a product and have been linked to serious health problems. The Safer Furniture Pledge is a demonstration of our commitment to the health of our employees, communities, and the global environment.

If you would like to learn more about sustainable and EPP purchasing options, please contact our office.

Employee Corner

William Stauble William Stauble, Business Contracts Manager

Procurement Services is pleased to announce the hiring of William Stauble as the new Business Contracts Manager, effective March of 2017. He accepted the position after several months of serving in an interim capacity. William reviews, structures, and negotiates the agreement terms of a wide variety of contracts.

Additionally, William attended UCSC for his undergraduate studies, and Santa Clara University School of Law for his Juris Doctor. William has structured and negotiated hundreds of ‘first of a kind’ and ‘first in time’ opportunities for companies ranging from start-ups to multinational corporations. William has worked across six continents in the energy, IT, finance, construction, and public sectors. In his spare time he sails in the Monterey Bay, hikes, and explores places that are off the beaten path. Please join us in welcoming William to UCSC Procurement Services.

Keenan Dalton Keenan Dalton, Buyer

Procurement Services is pleased to announce the hiring of Keenan Dalton as a new Buyer, effective April 10th, 2017. Keenan works closely with campus clients to purchase goods & services, and negotiates with suppliers to achieve cost saving benefits for the University.

Keenan graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a double major, earning his Bachelor of Arts in both Spanish and International & Global Studies. He gained extensive procurement experience as a purchasing specialist in the Biotechnology industry. Born & raised in Santa Cruz, Keenan shares his love of UCSC with his father, sister, and cousin, who are all slug alumni. Keenan enjoys outdoor activities such as disc golf, hiking, trips to the snow, and gardening. Throughout the years, he has traveled the world and even lived in Madrid, Spain. Please join us in welcoming Keenan to UCSC Procurement Services.

Regine De Guzman Regine De Guzman, Student Employee

Procurement Services is pleased to announce the hiring of a new Student Employee, Regine De Guzman, effective March 23rd, 2017. Regine maintains the department’s certificate of insurance database, handles purchase order acknowledgements and assists in onboarding new suppliers to our supplier database.

Regine is a Stevenson college sophomore majoring in Computer Engineering and minoring in Applied Mathematics & Statistics. Hoping to close the Silicon Valley gender gap, she volunteers as a computer science instructor and educates young girls about coding technology. Regine recently gave a local TEDx Talk on the subject in April of 2017. In between school, work, & volunteering, Regine enjoys discovering new cafes to enjoy a good cup of coffee. Please join us in welcoming Regine to UCSC Procurement Services.

Employee-Supplier Relationship Determinations

What is an employee-supplier relationship?

An employee-supplier relationship is a relationship in which:
  • An employee proposes to rent, sell, or provide goods or services to the University
  • An employee owns or controls more than 10% interest in the supplier who proposes to rent, sell or provide goods or services to the University
  • A former employee proposes to rent, sell, or provide goods or services to the University
  • A near relative or spouse of an employee currently provides, or is being proposed to provide, goods or services to the University
  • A near relative or spouse of an employee owns or controls more than 10% interest in the supplier who currently provides, or is being proposed to supply, goods or services to the University
What if an employee-supplier relationship exists?

If an employee-supplier relationship exists, it is the responsibility of the originating office to disclose it in advance to Procurement Services for analysis. To do so, please submit a CruzBuy requisition and attach all of the following:
  1. Supplier’s Proposal or Quote
  2. Employee-Supplier Relationship Disclosure form, signed and fully completed (PDF)
  3. Independent Contractor Pre-Hire Worksheet, signed and fully completed (PDF)
Final Determination

After formal review, a final determination will be forwarded to the requesting department in accordance with the policies listed below.

Resources

Procurement Services Benefits Achieved

As part of the system-wide P200 initiative, UCSC Procurement Services buyers set a goal to realize $2 million in benefit for Fiscal Year 2017. As of February 2017, UCSC buyers have negotiated direct savings of $1,037,982 for our campus including legacy agreements established prior to Fiscal Year 2017. The graph below breaks down the current fiscal year's cost savings by division/department groupings.

When planning a large dollar/volume purchase, please reach out to Procurement Services at the earliest opportunity. Engaging Buyers early in the process allows them to develop the most ideal cost-saving strategy. Benefits

Procurement Services Metrics

This bar graph shows the total number of requisitions processed by month from July 2016 through March 2017, including those processed by Procurement Services.

 

The pie chart highlights all requisitions processed from July 2016 through March 2017 with turn time breakdowns for Procurement Services staff. Turn times are based on time between final department approval and final Procurement approval.



The bar graph shows the total number of requisitions processed by Procurement Services including orders reviewed by Business Contracts during each month between July 2016 and March 2017.


Fiscal Year End Reminders

The current fiscal year, FY17, will end on June 30, 2017. As we near this closing date, it is important for Divisions/Units/Departments to review purchasing requirements and budgets, paying particular attention to encumbrances and expenditures for the remainder of this current fiscal year.

The necessity for departments to pre-plan for end of fiscal year services, supplies, and equipment needs cannot be over-emphasized. All requisitions for goods and services to be charged to FY17 must be delivered and/or performed prior to June 30, 2017.

The time required by Purchasing to process your CruzBuy requisition is in addition to the time it takes the requisition to process through the approval cycle within the University. Delivery, however, will always depend on the supplier's stock and any issues they have in securing delivery from their suppliers. Also, remember buyers have to comply with all requirements, including price reasonableness and competitive bidding, which may lengthen the time needed to complete the process.

End of Fiscal Year 2017 Requisitions and Dates to be aware of:

June 1, 2017 is the last day to receive budget approval in CruzBuy for FY17 orders greater than $25,000 and be encumbered to the current fiscal year.

June 1, 2017 is the first day to generate requisitions for goods and services to be received on or after July 1st and where FY18 funds will be used. Indicate the order is to be processed in FY18 in the CruzBuy Internal Notes field and select "Yes" in the Special Handling field on the requisition. This will make sure the requisition stops in Procurement Services so the goods and services will be charged to FY18 funds. This method must be limited to requests where a long lead-time is needed to secure the goods or services. Do not use this method for ordering supplies that are typically delivered the next day e.g., office supplies, lab supplies, etc.

June 16, 2017 is the last day to receive budget approval in CruzBuy for FY17 orders greater than $5,000 requiring purchasing or other organizations to review and approve the request. Be sure to review your CruzBuy requisition work flow and request your PI/Other approver and Budget approver review and approve your order prior to 6/16/17.

June 29, 2017 is the last day to receive budget approval in CruzBuy for FY17 orders less than $5,000 not requiring purchasing review or special handling. Be sure to review your CruzBuy requisition work flow and request your PI/Other approver and Budget approver review and approve your order prior to 6/29/17.

Encumbrances

It is essential to review FOAPAL activity reports to ensure excess Purchase Order encumbrances are not outstanding at the end of the year, as this would result in funds being unnecessarily committed when the encumbrance levels could have been reduced and funds made available for other needs. If you require assistance in reconciling encumbrance balances on a FOAPAL or a Purchase Order please visit the FIS training manual paying particular attention to:

Viewing the Open Encumbrance Report – FZRPOEL

Selecting Encumbrances for Liquidation

Creating a PO Encumbrance Liquidation Journal Voucher - FZAJVEL

Blanket Orders for Fiscal Year 2018

A Blanket Order is a Purchase Order that is not line-item specific. It is a means to set aside a lump sum of money to a specific vendor that a department may use on a recurring basis to order services or consumable supplies for a specified period of time and within the University’s Terms and Conditions of Purchase.

Blanket purchase orders can be valid for a limited time during the fiscal year or for the entire fiscal year. Normally, blanket purchase orders will not be valid beyond the last day of the current fiscal year unless circumstances dictate the necessity of remaining open after June 30th.

Two types of Blanket Orders may be issued:
  1. Blanket Orders may be issued to “non-contract” vendors provided the products/services are not available from a contract vendor and will not exceed $100,000 per fiscal year. And more than 10-15 transactions per fiscal year with the same vendor will occur.
  2. Blanket Orders may be issued to “contract” vendors against established University contracts for products/services covered by those contracts. If a Blanket Purchase Order of this type spans more than one fiscal year, a new line must be entered in early June of each subsequent fiscal year to cover the contract commitment for the next respective fiscal year in order to avoid encumbering the total amount in the first year.
Blanket orders crossing fiscal years must have a contract associated with it. Blanket Orders for fiscal 2018 can be entered in CruzBuy starting June 1, 2017 when the new fiscal year accounting date is open. (Note: Requests for Blanket orders will be reviewed and Purchasing will determine whether or not a blanket order is the most appropriate method for the commodities requested.)

Helpful Reminders:
  • Monitor all current blanket PO's to see if the encumbered balance is no more than what is really needed for the rest of the fiscal year. Close all blanket PO's that are not needed.
  • Create new blanket PO's for the new fiscal year FY18 starting June 1, 2017.
  • Consider using the Procurement Card instead of using blanket PO's when possible, provided the total amount of the purchase does not exceed the limits assigned to the card and further provided that the goods or services are appropriate for the procurement card.
  • Be sure to reference all old blanket PO's on the new blanket PO's, if you are continuing with the same vendor.
  • Stop the ordering on all blanket PO's in time for you to process all invoices by the fiscal deadline. This is a judgment call based upon how quickly invoices get sent to from each vendor.
  • Be careful about late ordering using a Purchase Order. Be sure that the goods can be delivered and the invoice submitted to FAST by the deadline for this year. If not, they will be paid from your new year FY18 budget.
  • Follow the deadlines set by Purchasing for orders to be charged to the current fiscal year.
  • Allow extra time for requisitions to be processed. Purchasing and FAST are very busy as it gets closer to these deadlines.

Financial Affairs Contact Information (CruzBuy Tip)

Several Financial Affairs units are either directly or indirectly involved with CruzBuy. However, it is important to know how each unit relates to CruzBuy to ensure that questions and forms are directed to the correct group.

Procurement Services is the primary CruzBuy unit and is responsible for establishing the contract, or purchase order (PO), between UCSC and the supplier for the procurement of goods and services. Procurement Services is responsible for reviewing specific order types to make sure that the contract will be in compliance with state and federal law, as well as UC and federal policy. Procurement Services is also responsible for administering CruzBuy and its day-to-day functions.

Procurement Services Contacts: FAST/AP (Financial Administrative Services and Transactions/Accounts Payable) manages paying suppliers for honoring the terms of the purchase order. FAST also manages travel, relocations/moving, reimbursements and procard.

FAST/AP Contacts: FAR (Financial Accounting and Reporting) oversees supplier management, entertainment/ERF related questions, tax issues and policy related to financial accountability and controls.

FAR Contacts: FIS (Financial Information Systems) manages the integration between CruzBuy and Banner, as well as CruzBuy roles and accounts, including password reset requests.

FIS Contacts: Addressing questions/issues to the correct group will help ensure that your questions are answered in an accurate and timely fashion.

Supplier Scams – Procurement Tip

University faculty and staff should be aware of an on-going problem with unauthorized supplier representatives using questionable business tactics to market "special promotions", "limited time offers", etc. for copier toner, office supplies, maintenance items, etc. These telemarketers attempt to scam the University by convincing faculty and staff to order or approve shipments of goods based on the misperception that they are a University approved supplier. These supplies are usually of inferior quality and priced significantly higher than fair market value from University approved suppliers. Some of their questionable business tactics include:
  • Phone calls about renewal orders never placed
  • Invoices for goods never shipped
  • A deadline for special promotion or sales
  • Pre-authorization for a future shipment
Advertisements

Watch out for advertisements in unknown publications, usually touting a "good" cause - veterans, minorities, and the like. Don't be fooled by this.

Copier and Printer Toner Sellers

BEWARE. These are the most prevalent fraudulent suppliers at this time. They often have information about you before they call or they smoothly get information from you about your equipment and then contact someone else in the department to make their pitch as though they are your regular supplier. Never buy from them! Purchasing from unknown toner scammers just promotes their interest in the University.

Office Supplies

Office supplies from suppliers with a tale of woe - going out of business - "someone died and we have to liquidate" - "a misdirected trailer is sitting close to the University and we'll practically give you the stuff", etc. When checking out their pricing against what we pay to the University's preferred contract supplier for office supplies, their prices have been found to be anywhere from 2 to 10 times higher than you would pay from Palace or OfficeMax. Quality and warranty are also issues since these "companies" change their names and move from location to location continually.

Prevention

Don't be a victim. You can guard against supplier scams by using the following guidelines:
  • Allow only designated department requesters to place orders.
  • Use only known companies — or ask for references.
  • Don't give any information about your office equipment over the telephone or via e-mail to unfamiliar suppliers.
  • Don't respond to unsolicited e-mails from unfamiliar suppliers.
  • Never place an order via e-mail to a supplier you don't know.
  • Return or refuse all items received from an apparent scam.
  • Do not authorize payment for transactions you believe to be scams.
Additional Helpful Tips

To help the University community stay on guard against these questionable suppliers, we have developed a list of useful tips to help prevent departments from being swindled:
  • If someone calls you about the "renewal of a previous order", ask them for the original purchase order number. If they produce a purchase order number, investigate the authenticity of the number and the ordering department. If they cannot produce a valid purchase order number, attempt to obtain the caller's phone number for your records and hang up.
  • If you receive an invoice in the mail for an order of which you have no record, read the invoice carefully. If the fine print states, "This is not an invoice. Material will not be shipped without prepayment", save the invoice and contact the Purchasing Office for assistance.
  • Do not authorize any shipment of supplies, or provide your Purchasing Card number to a caller soliciting business over the phone.
  • If you receive a shipment of supplies which were never ordered, do not open any of the packages or use any of the supplies. Store the shipment in a secure area, save the packing list, and contact the Procurement Services office for assistance.
  • Never enter into any negotiations with a caller attempting to "resolve an invoice problem" for a shipment/invoice from an unknown or questionable supplier.
  • If you are ever unsure about dealing with a certain supplier, contact the Procurement Services Helpdesk at 831-459-2311 for assistance.
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